ROUNDUP — Voting is officially underway for the Montana Meth Project’s 'Paint the State' public art contest. In Roundup, two new murals were recently completed by teens in the community for the contest.
“I love to paint, I love to draw. I love to do anything that’s art related," said Julianne Landgren, the 18-year-old artist behind one of the Roundup murals, on Tuesday. "I’m very optimistic when it comes to new media(s), and I love to learn anything art-related."
It's how Landgren's former art teacher, Peggy Unterseher, knew the contest was right up her recently graduated student's alley.
“She told me a lot about it, and I mean I’ve always loved creating art for good causes," Landgren said. "So I knew automatically that this is something that I wanted to jump right into."
After nearly 40 hours of hard work, Landgren’s idea came to fruition—paid for out of her own pocket.
“I funded it all from my paycheck from working at the hospital. I’m a cook at the hospital," Landgren said.
But Landgren quickly realized the project was about a lot more than just creating art.
"While I was just finishing up, I was sitting down and I was just adding a few little finishing touches. And this lady walked by, she looked a little sad. And she kind of whispered under her breath, she said, ‘I wish my life was better.’ And in that moment, I kind of sat there, I was kind of in shock," Landgren said. "I’ve never been around drug abuse or meth consumption, and it was in that moment that I knew that it was much more than just for a community. It gave me a bigger outlook on it and it just kind of opened my mind a lot more. Even to this day, I think about it."
Landgren’s isn’t the only new mural in town.
"As people talked, I started drawing it, and that’s what happened basically,” said Ciannon Crittenden, one of the students that added to the mural, on Tuesday.
The 'Meth Monster' was crafted by Roundup High School artists. They spent nearly two weeks crafting the perfect depiction.
“I think it’s a good idea that it’s a monster because, like, meth is a monster,” said Trent Hamilton, another student that helped out, on Tuesday.
It's an important message shedding light on a statewide crisis.
The public can vote now through Aug. 17 on their favorite out of more than 100 murals across Montana.
"Vote for our mural," the students said in unison. “We would like to thank Miss U. and Angie Mozqueda. (And) Energy Systems for letting us use this wall.”
Beyond voting, the artists want to make sure their message is received.
To vote for Landgren's 'Life is Beautiful' mural, click here.
To vote for Roundup High School students 'Meth Monster' mural, click here.
“I hope that it gives people the realization that life is beautiful," Landgren said. "There’s so much to life that makes it beautiful."
Landgren also wanted to thank her supporters.
"My mom, she would be across the road and she would just watch me just adding different details," Landgren said. "I would love to thank my art teacher, Peggy Unterseher. She’s helped me beyond what I can say. She’s just helped me so much with kind of making that big step to an artist."