The 32nd annual Shadows of the Past art auction is set to take place Saturday, Oct. 9, at the Choteau Pavilion. Proceeds are dedicated to supporting the Benefis Teton Medical Center Foundation.

The name “Shadows of the Past” accurately reflects the theme shared among most of the artwork exhibited there: a love for the natural history and beauty of the area. Most of the artwork features landscapes, animals and historical places and people that make Montana special.

The “Shadows of the Past” auction was established in the early 1990s to benefit the Old Trail Museum. In 2006, the museum board turned the event over to the Teton Medical Center Foundation to use as a fundraiser for the hospital here. At that time, the hospital was a public entity, owned and operated by the people of the Teton County Hospital District. Since then, the district sold the hospital to Benefis Health System of Great Falls, which renamed the facility Benefis Teton Medical Center.

The BTMC Foundation still uses the proceeds of the auction to benefit a wide variety of different projects around the medical facility. In the past, auction proceeds helped replace an X-ray table and then the kitchen exhaust system, purchased and set up an electronic system for health records and helped buy a CT scanner.

In 2016 and 2017, the Foundation used the money to renovate the dining room and solarium in the hospital’s extended-care wing. In 2018, the auction supported new tub room fixtures to give the room a more spa-like, relaxing atmosphere, and new recliners in hospital rooms, and in 2019, the foundation’s project was to replace the walk-in freezer and cooler in BTMC’s dietary department. In 2020, the event raised money to help replace the chemical analyzer in the hospital’s laboratory.

Proceeds from this year’s event are earmarked to help pay for a new canopy over the emergency room entrance at the hospital and for new concrete to continue to accommodate the traveling mammography coach.

Tickets to attend the auction are sold out, but there are still opportunities to participate. The artwork is on display at First Bank of Montana in Choteau through Wednesday, and people are welcome to come in and place bids during bank lobby hours from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

BTMC Director Annie Olson also has proxy forms available, allowing people to place bids for both the silent and live auctions. She can be reached at 406-466-6039 to arrange proxy bids and for more information.

Auction events begin on Friday, Oct. 8, at the Choteau Pavilion, where everyone is welcome to come and meet the artists from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Sponsored by D.A. Davidson & Co., this event is open to the public and Olson says it is a great opportunity to bid on silent auction pieces and fill out a proxy bid form for both the silent and live action artwork.

On Saturday, the Pavilion will open at 4 p.m. for ticket holders with drinks and hors d’oeuvres being served. Five artists — Sherry Gallagher, Judy “JR” Gurnsey, Maggi Neal, Shirley Anderson Sylvester and Shirle Wempner — will participate in the quick draw, where they will have 45 minutes to finish a work of art as the audience watches. This event will start at 4:45 p.m.

In addition to the quick draw pieces, the artwork to be sold will also include four plein air pieces that artists Lyn Graves, Diane Hausmann, Leslie Kesler and Andrew S. Watson will create Friday as they work “in the open air.”

At 5:45 p.m., quick draw and “plein air” pieces will be auctioned off.

The live auction includes 36 lots and will start at 6 p.m. Throughout the evening, ticket holders will be able to bid on 30 silent auction pieces. Local artists with items in either auction include: Paige Briscoe of Fairfield, Allie Eaves of Power, Frank Hagel of Augusta, Diane Hausmann of Fairfield, Leslie Kesler of Choteau, Dawn Sievers of Power, Steve Taormina of Choteau, Linda Tippetts of Augusta, Maggie Toeckes of Power, Shelly Walker of Dutton, Andrew S. Watson of Fairfield and Kaare Wilkerson of Choteau.

Staff at this year’s auction will include master of ceremonies Ron Dauwalder of Fairfield, auctioneer Zane Drishinski of Conrad and spotters Dick Snellman of Power and Jere Long of Choteau.

Members of the BTMC Foundation Board are President Judy Gollehon, Treasurer Daneal Lightner, Secretary Dawn Baker, Carole Bronson, Lorry Rasmussen, Tina Freeman and Cathy Sessions.

The Shadows of the Past auction will be streamed live on the BTMC Facebook page. Contact Olson for more information on how to watch.