Choteau and area residents are invited to the first Choteau Art Walk on Tuesday, Sept. 7. Participants will be treated to a show of fine arts at four downtown Choteau locations plus music, hors d’oeuvres and quick finish artists in action.
Benefis Teton Medical Center Foundation Director Annie Olson has worked with local artists and art establishments to organize the walk as a lead-up to the BTMCF’s Shadows of the Past Art Show and Auction set for Oct. 9 in Choteau.
“It has been fun partnering with Choteau Arts, First Bank of Montana, Teton County Abstract Co. and Flying Bison Mercantile to bring this great opportunity to our town,” Olson said. “Enjoying beautiful works of art is such a rewarding experience and the vast talent in this area provides everyone the opportunity to view something they find beautiful. Art is such a special thing because these artists are creating something that has never been done in the exact same way by anyone before them. They are truly creating something original. The amount of time, energy and care that goes into each piece should be shared and appreciated.”
Olson said she is hoping for nice weather and a good turnout for the inaugural event. “Our area is full of incredibly talented artists, and we have an abundance of beautiful landscapes,” she said. “When you pair these two things together, you have the makings of stunning artwork. It will be great to have an evening of sharing this with folks in our area.”
The event will start at 5 p.m. and will run to 7 p.m. Participants can easily walk from venue to venue.
“We are all ready to get out and participate in events. This will offer us to do just that, while still adhering to the health suggestions of our county,” Olson said. “There will be plenty of room to move around and outdoor entertainment.”
Art will be displayed at four locations during the walk. First Bank of Montana at 201 N. Main Ave. will have all the live and silent auction pieces that have been juried into the 32 annual Shadows of the Past fine art auction.
The annual auction raises money for Benefis Teton Medical Center, the local hospital, clinic and long-term care facility in Choteau. This year, proceeds from the auction are earmarked for construction of a new canopy over the emergency room entrance that can also accommodate the monthly mobile mammography bus that services Choteau and area residents.
There are 36 paintings and sculptures entered in the live auction and 30 entered in the silent auction. Local artists who have pieces in the show include Paige Briscoe, Allie Eaves, Maggie Toeckes and Dawn Sievers, all of Power, Diane Hausmann and Andrew Watson of Fairfield, Leslie Kesler, Steve Taormina and Kaare Wilkerson of Choteau and Linda Tippetts of Augusta and Frank Hagel of Augusta and Kalispell.
Hausmann and Briscoe will be set up outside working on quick finish art pieces during the walk.
Choteau Arts Studio and Gallery at 204 Main Ave. N. will be open for browsing and will also have the Loose Mules, a local band, performing outside. In addition to the paintings and sculptures for sale at the gallery, there will also be a display from Choteau artist Stoney Burk’s private collection.
Choteau Arts is a studio, gallery and gift shop dedicated to growing artist appreciation and talent in Montana. The nonprofit organization relies on sales from artwork, registration fees for classes and donations through the Patron of the Arts program to keep its doors open.
Retiree Peggy Guthrie helped the organization open the gallery and volunteers there. She said the display from Burk will include some of his own artwork as well as artwork done by others that he collected through the years. Burk, a veteran and retired attorney, recently moved from his rural Choteau home to Western Montana, to be closer to his family.
Guthrie said people who visit the gallery during the art walk will see photography and original artwork by local artists and Montana artists. The gallery also stocks prints, an array of hand-crafted jewelry, pottery, yarn, postcards, locally produced bath bombs, soaps and lotions, and more.
Recently the gallery has also begun selling locally sourced and produced Flour from the Front, marketed by Choteau resident Judy Cornell.
Guthrie said the gallery has items from $2 to $2,000 — something for every budget. “There’s just a variety of wonderful things from woodworking to fine arts,” she said. “There’s just so much.”
The gallery’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. Shoppers can find more information about the gallery on its Facebook page and on its website at http://www.choteauarts.org.
The Teton County Abstract Office at 217 Main Ave. N. will be showcasing former owner Loren Solberg’s extensive art collection as well as a variety of paintings and sculptures from other private collections.
Solberg is a former member of the hospital board and has been a huge supporter of Benefis Teton Medical Center for many years as well as being an ardent collector of western art.
The Flying Bison Mercantile, 25 First Ave. N., is the latest addition to Choteau’s downtown shopping options. Piper and Matt Marquette of North Salt Lake, Utah, moved to Choteau last April and brought their custom-leather business with them, locating in the former Black Sheep Sports and Apparel store.
They will have Augusta photographer Kelly Peacock, who specializes in wildlife and landscape photography, in the store to meet art walk participants and talk about her photography.
The Marquettes will be available to talk about their custom leather products, including belts, bags, wallets, key chains, bracelets, hand-sanitizer holders, logo hats, journals and field-note covers and more.
Their shop also sells recycled copper pins, key chains and jewelry, hand-beaded hair barrettes and antler earrings, and western-style chaps, hats, vests and bags by Sparky Wallace’s Cow Camp Supply.
They are hoping for a great turnout and encourage families to come and visit. “It’s family friendly,” she said of the store. “We have a book nook and reading corner and a kids’ area, where they can draw and play.”
On the wall, visitors will meet a winged bison mount named “Tony,” who is the business’s mascot.
“It just kind of feels like an extension of home,” Piper said of the business. “We want it to be inviting to everyone.”
Shoppers can find more about the Flying Bison Mercantile on Facebook and on the store’s website at m2studiosleather.com. The store’s regular hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.