Last week, County 10 shared information about the recent addition of the colorfully painted interactive sidewalk art project on Lander’s Main Street between 1st & 4th Streets. The art, painted by Snow Deep Designs artist Lori Hunter, included hopscotch and the “sidewalk is lava,” among other things.
In a statement to County 10, Lori said the project was approved by the City of Lander. However, earlier this week, the paint was removed.
“Painting was not approved by WYDOT, and was not permitted,” WYDOT Public Relations Specialist Cody Beers wrote to County 10 in an email. “WYDOT took photographs, contacted Mayor Monte Richardson, and he agreed WYDOT would remove the paint.”
“When I found out they would be removed, I requested a meeting with Mayor Richardson and WYDOT, but that did not happen,” said Lori. “I was not able to find out why WYDOT insisted on their removal and within 24 hours of being notified to stop painting, they had been removed.”
Everything on Lander’s Main Street, including the front of the buildings, is the state Right-Of-Way, Beers explained. “Activities inside the state Right-Of-Way, including placement of art and parades and 5- and 10-kilometer runs, must go through WYDOT’s free permitting process.”
An example of the permitting processing, shared by Beers, is the artwork wrappings on the traffic control cabinets along Main Street. WYDOT was approached about the wrapping project, and they received the necessary permits to move forward.
“The majority of comments on my social media posts about the interactive art were positive,” Lori shared. “The most active post, which was on Supporting Lander Businesses Facebook page, has been removed. I witnessed several people – mostly adults! – doing the hopscotch and pretending the sidewalk was lava since I installed them. It put a smile on their face. They were a fun, unique addition to our downtown community and I am disappointed they are gone.”
She continued, “the interactive sidewalk art was part of a project by Renegade Spark and funded by LOR Foundation. The project’s intention was to bring a liveliness, a spark, to the downtown area. We want to encourage residents and tourists to come to Lander’s Main Street and spend time. We installed the face cutout boards painted by Noelle Wiemann in Centennial Park, hired Jody Francis of Fremont Fiber Arts Guild to wrap the trees and myself and Dannine Donaho painted 6 each of two characters throughout the 1st – 4th street blocks of Main. The idea with the characters, a dinosaur named Lander Lou and a unicorn, is to find them all; a ‘Where’s Waldo’ type of thing.”
County 10 has reached out to Lander’s Mayor this week and has not heard back at this time.