It all started with a Salvation Army window.

For one downtown artist known as Buzzard, that is. He has painted hundreds of windows downtown in the time he’s been in Bozeman, at places like Sacks, the Co-op, Erotique and Alara Jewelry.

If there’s glass on Main Street, Buzzard’s probably painted it.

“And since it’s temporary, I can always change it,” he said.

Art is like therapy for him, and so is music, he said. At 69 years old, playing a riff on the bass guitar can help him remember things from his childhood. Sometimes, when he “has troubles or confusion,” he’ll stop by a music store.

He said it strengthens the good, creative parts of his brain and reminds him of what he’s capable of.

“It’s not only therapeutic, but it’s possible,” he said.

That therapy has been much-needed for Buzzard, who has been homeless and has had health issues for most of the eight or nine years he’s been in Bozeman.

He originally came here for medical treatment and for the warming center. Though he didn’t have housing, he felt safe.

“I was able to exist here because other communities don’t have that same support,” he said.

He got emotional speaking about how grateful he is for the help he’s received. After putting in the work to get an ID and file paperwork, he got an apartment through HRDC, where his artwork hangs on the walls and most staff know him.

Since moving into his apartment, he said his health has improved. He has more time to focus on his art. He wants to do more murals like the giant dots he painted over graffiti in the parking garage downtown.

“I’ll be able to work as hard as [HRDC staff] do,” he said. “Only not to just find a place for myself for the night.”

Abby Lynes can be reached at alynes@dailychronicle.com or 406-582-2651. Follow her on Twitter @Abby_Lynes.

Abby Lynes covers business and the economy for the Bozeman Daily Chronicle.

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