May 24, 2021
DMP STAFF & VOLUNTEERS HANG 110 FLOWER BASKETS THROUGH DOWNTOWN MISSOULA
For 40 consecutive years – since 1981 – the Missoula Downtown Association (MDA) has beautified Downtown Missoula by hanging flower baskets from the streetlights and taking care of those flowers every day from spring until fall. This year staff and volunteers will hang 110 flower baskets on Tuesday, May 25 throughout Downtown Missoula.
The flower baskets are created by Pink Grizzly each year and delivered to the Central Park Parking Structure to be dispersed and hung by staff and volunteers. All of the flowers are watered every morning by staff from the Downtown Missoula Partnership (DMP), and the flowers are watered a second time in the evenings when the temperature is 80 degrees or higher. DMP staff also fertilize and dead-head the flowers throughout the summer season.
Approximately 50% of the flower baskets are hung inside black metal baskets created by artist Russell Smith in 1981 and in 1985. Each basket was created with a specific theme from old oil barrels and welded with different art designs and words. Smith was a talented artist who sketched Downtown Missoula in the 1970s and published annual calendars for Downtown Missoula from 1975-1980. He passed away in March 2020 after a long-life of creating art.
“It was such an honor for us to get reacquainted with Russell upon his return to Missoula in 2018,” said Linda McCarthy, Executive Director of the Downtown Missoula Partnership. “He was such a delightful and creative man who gave so much of himself to Downtown’s history, art and culture. He gave us this beautiful barrel basket on wheels, which folks can view at our office anytime!”
Those who wish to honor Russell Smith or who want to support expansion of the Downtown Flower Basket program can send a tax-deductible gift to the Missoula Downtown Foundation (218 E. Main, Missoula, MT 59802). The Downtown Flower Basket Program costs a little over $12,000 per year and is funded by MDA membership dues and community events.
For more information or to set up an interview, contact the Downtown Missoula Partnership via phone (406-543-4238) or email ([email protected]).
Downtown Missoula: Connecting Our Community!