GREAT FALLS – Western Art Week is featuring an exhibition that will showcase Native American artists and crafters.
The Celebration of Native Plains can be seen at The Great Western Exhibition at the Four Seasons Arena.
One of the many artists displaying their work is Browning native Newton Racine.
“When I was in high school, I started an art class,” Racine said.
At the age of ten, Newton’s life was turned upside down. He was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor.
Newton would undergo surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. His love for sports and the outdoors was put on hold.
“I was really active in school, did all the sports. But after that, I healed and got that done with, I had to be homeschooled for a long time,” Newton said.
It would not take long before he would find another passion.
“I knew I couldn’t do the stuff I used to do, so I went to art,” Newton said.
He attended college at the Blackfeet Community College and took the few art courses they offered.
In 2008, he enrolled in at the University of Montana and majored in art. Due to his limited learning abilities caused by his childhood illness, he would leave college.
But Newton did not give up.
“I found a passion in this, I thought of it as a gift,” Newton said.
He was accepted into Missoula’s Opportunity Resources program, which helps adults with disabilities.
“I don’t like people to feel like they can’t do anything or hopeless,” Newton said.
Now, the 38-year-old is featuring in art shows, something he never thought would happen.
“It’s exciting, I don’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that I could do stuff like this and I can,” Newton said.
And inspiring others to never give up.
“Anybody can create stuff like this, just put their minds to it. Use their imagination. If I can do it, you guys can do it, too.” Newton said.
Newton’s passion is in painting and pottery. He focuses on pieces that relate to his culture.
“It takes patience and time. After you get it and learn, it’s fun,” Newton said.
Newton beat cancer and said he lives a healthy lifestyle today.
You can see his work and all the others on display at the Celebration of Native Plains Artists through Sunday in the Four Seasons Arena.
Reporting by Elizabeth Transue for MTN News