MISSOULA - There’s plenty to do during Montana winters, even if you want to stay indoors.
The Missoula Art Museum is preparing to kick off its biggest fundraiser of the year where people can purchase the paintings, pictures and ceramics of Montana artists.
We went to check out the creative art scene downtown and spoke with a museum curator who says all the proceeds go toward a good cause.
“The overall theme of the auction this year is honoring artists because artists are really the lifeblood of the museum and we couldn’t do anything without the exceptional artists we have in the community,” said Missoula Art Museum Associate Curator John Calsbeek.
The Missoula Arts Museum offers year-round activities for the whole family, and on Friday, Jan. 6, it will hold an opening reception for the art auction exhibit.
“A lot of artists will be coming in [from] out of town and all the local artists will be here. So, it’s just a celebration of this exhibit and a celebration for the artists that we have,” Calsbeek explained.
The nearly 50-year tradition wouldn’t be possible without the dozens of creative artists who agree to donate 50% of their sales to the museum.
“It’s just wonderful, the support that you feel from the artists when they come back that really want to give their work to support the museum and the mission of the museum,” Calsbeek said.
Missoula was recently ranked top five in the nation for Arts-Vibrant Medium Communities by SMU DataArts, but Calsbeek says the entire state contributes to the local art scene in Missoula.
“It’s really exciting. It’s wonderful to have such a large support of artists in the community and in the state. We consider the whole state to be the community in Montana.”
The Missoula Art Museum has several events scheduled for January ahead of a live auction that will be held on Feb. 4.
“On Thursdays throughout the month of January, we’ll be hosting what we’re calling little soiree parties in the gallery here, so you can reserve space for a group of 10 or 12 people. And they’ll be groups of those people in the gallery here with the work and some wine and charcuterie and we’ll do a talk about the auction and let people get familiar with the work." - Missoula Art Museum Associate Curator John Calsbeek
All of the proceeds will help people across Montana to get out and about without breaking the bank.
“A lot of individual donations help keep the museum open and free. “We’re always inviting people just to come in and see art. It makes your life better,” Calsbeek said. “By purchasing work, you’re also making a connection with an artist, a local artist, the community and your also supporting the museum.”
The Missoula Art Museum is located at 335 North Pattee Street. Additional information can be found at https://missoulaartmuseum.org/.