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City Desk

Artist wants to shed light on venerable Butte icon


by Diane Larson

Photo credit: Jim Larson

June 8, 2021
Butte - A young photographer aims to shed new light on a Butte icon. The young photographer is Hazer of Hazer Live and the Butte icon is the Mountain Con Headframe in Foreman’s Park. 

Hazer grew up in Twin Bridges where his family ranches. After college he came to Butte, around 2013 or 2014. He lived, worked, and created art in Butte for several years. “I ended up stealing a room in Frank Hall’s house for the first six months of being in Butte.” 

His wife works at the NIH Laboratory in Hamilton, and at the time he was working at Northwestern Energy and spent about a year of traveling back and forth, that is when he decided to make a change. “I hit a point where I had to choose between the place that I love and the love of my life,” said Hazer. They now reside in Corvallis, Montana. 

The plan for the art project involves lighting the headframe, and not in a way that has been seen here before. “It’s not just lighting a headframe, we’re working on making something that stands out at almost a world-class level,” explained Hazer. He went on to say that it will tie the modern side of life in Butte to its history in a new way. 


This type of art is referred to as light art. Hazer explained that the light art movement has grown over the past 10 to 15 years. A well-known example is the blend of light, art, and the Sydney Opera House. The Vivid Sydney websites describes it, “Where art, technology, and commerce intersect.”

According to Wikipedia Vivid Sydney is an annual festival of light, music and ideas, held in Sydney. It includes outdoor immersive light installations and projections, performances by local and international musicians and an ideas exchange forum featuring public talks and debates with leading creative thinkers.”

For the Butte project, a documentary will be filmed concurrently to show how this comes together, what it is, and what it means. “The goal with that is to be able to really tell a story of lighting the first headframes and how much effort went into that as well as the history of the headframes,” explained Hazer. 

Hazer has been working on the planning for several months. To complete the project, they need to have five sponsors. “In conversations with the manufacturer, they were very interested in the concept of all of the headframes,” explained Hazer. He wants to get one done extremely well so that it is “rip and awesome,” he said. At that point conversations can be held with major donors to keep the project moving, he noted. says, “combining light and art or light and architecture fills a city with atmosphere and gives visitors an opportunity to view a space in a whole new way. “There are entire cities right now that their economies run on light art,” explained Hazer. Even though the light art hasn’t made it big here yet, it is in more places in the world. Hazer said that there are small components in other bigger cities. “This is something that could really put a cool draw to Butte that still is like a nod to the history,” Hazer said. 

This is a long-term project that will span and grow over time. “My hope is that over the next 10 years I can encourage the message that arts and culture can be a way to amplify tourism, marketing, recreation; the natural assets that we’re all developing. These types of things can be a way to spread that message in a prettier package,” said Hazer. 

Alex Bruce from Montana Pro-Audio is working with Hazer on the technical side of this project. “Alex is playing a key role. A lot of this wouldn’t be able to happen. He is the direct connect with the manufacturer. He is aiding me in basically making this possible,” said Hazer.

“I have a vision. There’s so much work that has go in just to be able to get the system up to the point where I can start to even work on the creative art side,” explained Hazer. He noted that the logistics of getting it all done is a big portion of the job. 

At the time of this interview Hazer said that one sponsor had been acquired, and the effort to recruit four others was ongoing. The price of each sponsorship is $20,000, and for that the artist predicts spectacular results.

The mini-documentary will at first come out in five-minute segments, each segment with a dedicated sponsor. Later the segments will be combined into a 25 or 30-minute documentary sponsored by all involved in the project, Hazer explained.

The greater part of the sponsorship money will go to the cost of the lighting. The equipment required to do the work professionally is quite expensive, he noted.

The weather is a huge consideration as well, and because of the weather in this area this light art will probably have to be seasonal to maintain the equipment, Hazer said. 

Hazer is excited about this new endeavor and looks at it as a way of gifting something back to Butte. “This is a really cool opportunity to kind of come back and say, thanks,” said Hazer. 

If you would like to inquire about being a sponsor or would like to contact Hazer you can do so through his web-site or his Facebook page at 

Mt Con Headframe photo by Jim Larson

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