Artists work on second phase of Basin Electric-sponsored Bismarck Alley Art

Before anything was there, you had to direct people to a specific patch of wall like this: above the dumpsters and below the window sills.

But now, the “Rodeo Bulls” of Alley 5.5, the Bismarck Alley Art halfway between Broadway and Main Avenues, command their space using color, motion, and energy.

Elizabeth Ann White, the artist behind “Rodeo Bulls,” says her piece took about 90 hours over several weeks. “I knew my design was chosen last year, and it was hard waiting until I could start painting this summer,” she says.

Elizabeth White Alley 5.5 art

Elizabeth Ann White works on her piece, “Rodeo Bulls,” in Alley 5.5, Bismarck Alley Art sponsored by Basin Electric.

All pieces included in Alley 5.5 are submitted by artists, and chosen by a committee directed by the Dakota West Arts Council. The theme for Alley 5.5 is North Dakota.

“Living in North Dakota, most people have experienced a rodeo, or known somebody in a rodeo, or have some connection to it,” White says. “I wanted to capture the movement and energy of the bulls because it’s an exciting event.”

Elizabeth White Alley 5.5 art

Elizabeth Ann White, working on her piece July 24.

Her piece was inspired by a couple of artists and their methods. “There’s this children’s book illustrator that I like, Tedd Arnold, and he does watercolors. But he goes back over it with colored pencils, and, he calls them ‘scribbles.’ They remind me of that meandering line in quilting, and I like that. So I thought, what if I did mine all in these squiggles, the whole entire thing, not just a decorative topper on it,” White says. “I have two kids and they love to scribble. They just have so much energy, and it’s just fun. I can capture that energy here.

“I also love pointillism, Georges Seurat. Where he takes a dot of blue color and a dot of red color, and from a distance it looks purple. And so I thought if I took lines of different color, maybe I can make it look like it’s shadowed or highlighted, give it shape and form,” she says.

Elizabeth White Alley 5.5 art

The drawings submitted to the committee for selection and reference.

White’s models are homegrown. “I used photos from a rodeo in Mandan, the Chad Berger Bucking Bulls,” she says.

She originally had a different, smaller space on the wall. “Something fell through with the artist who had this spot, and they asked if I wanted it. I said, ‘Yeah, it’s twice as big, and the surface is nice and smooth. I will take it!’”

White’s art is part of the second phase of Alley 5.5. Basin Electric is a sponsor.

Watch the video to see some of the art produced during the first phase. This video was part of the Cooperative Social Responsibility shown at Basin Electric’s 2016 Annual Meeting.

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