GREAT FALLS – The C.M. Russell Museum and Great Falls Public Schools co-hosted a landmark celebration at Giant Springs Elementary School on Thursday evening.
The celebration did two things. One: mark the annual proclamation of Charlie Russell month for March. Two: celebrate the 50th anniversary of the museum’s 5th grade C.M. Russell essay contest.
Special guests Paula Egan-Wright and Bart Bzivi also attended. They were the two co-winners the very first year of the 5th grade essay contest.
This year’s essay finalists were all recognized, students from each elementary school in Great Falls and students from the different elementary schools in Cascade County.
Each essay from all the finalists were presented at the celebration along with Paula and Bart’s winning essays from 50 years ago.
One winner was selected from schools in Great Falls and the other was from other out-of-city schools in Cascade County.
Ainsley Kubas was the winner from Great Falls who attends Mountain View Elementary School. The out-of-city winner was Grace Schubert who attends Ulm Elementary.
The two winners had the chance to read their essays aloud and were presented a check and a piece of art by C.M. Russell from the C.M. Russell Museum.
In-city winner Ainsley Kubas said, “I’m a little bit of an artist myself and I quite like to paint and I was just, he inspires me by the way he paints and how he portrays everything. I don’t really think that he’s ever had a painting where he portrays anybody as uncivilized or savage and that makes me quite, it makes me happy with that.”
Out-of-city winner Grace Schubert said, “He loved the west and the Indians and he always wanted them to exist in people’s minds.”
Attendees at the celebration also had the chance to get a first glimpse of a photo mural of an image of Charlie Russell, which was made from small photographs of all 956 essay contestants from 2019. This mural will be available to view at the C.M. Russell museum.
Reporting by Kasey Herman for MTN News