Top 10 Contemporary Art Galleries In Montana

Jessica Dawdy

Nicknamed ‘big sky country’ for its dramatic blue sky that seems to stretch outward endlessly, it’s no wonder so many exceptional artists choose to live or display their work in beautiful Montana. From cutting-edge art spaces in Missoula to traditional galleries exhibiting landscape and wildlife paintings in Bozeman, here are ten of our favorite contemporary art galleries across Montana.

The Brink

The Brink opened in March 2010 to coincide with Missoula’s First Friday, a monthly event during which local galleries, museums, and stores present regional art, artist talks, and performances. Since its debut, owner Jennifer Leutzinger has continued to showcase new artists in the gallery each month, with a focus on conceptual or experimental pieces. Featuring the work of emerging and established local, regional, and national artists, the Brink actively avoids defining itself, instead opening its simple space to all kinds of radically creative art, whether it’s installations, photography, sculptures or paintings. One of the gallery’s most memorable exhibitions was by MaryAnn Bonjorni, which involved a controversial display of taxidermied animals hanging from the ceiling.

The Brink, 111 W Front St, Missoula, MT, USA, 1 406 728 5251

Danforth Gallery entrance

Danforth Gallery

Set in the historic 19th century Danforth Building in Livingston, the Danforth Gallery is a community art center that has been exhibiting the work of Montana artists for 40 years. Focusing on emerging or under-recognized local, regional, and some international artists, the gallery exhibits and sells work in a variety of media, including paintings, jewelry and sculptures. The gallery’s first floor houses the main exhibition space and retail art shop, while the second floor contains space for art studios. In addition to rotating group shows, the gallery offers community art programs, and also participates in the annual Livingstone Art Walk, which takes place on the fourth Friday of the month from June to September.
The Danforth Gallery, 106 N. Main St., Livingston, MT, United States, +1 406-222-6510

ARTfusion

Founded in 1989, ARTfusion exhibits ‘bright colorful contemporary original art’ produced by over 70 different Montana artists. Located in Bigfork, the gallery features paintings in a number of different media, ranging from oil and acrylic, to watercolor and silk, with most works depicting Montana’s natural scenery and wildlife. The gallery also showcases works in glass, metal, fiber and wood, as well as photography, ceramics, and the city’s largest collection of handmade jewelry. ARTfusion hosts three annual shows, which feature work by both established and emerging artists. Along with 15 other Bigfork art galleries, ARTfusion also participates in the city’s biannual art walks.

ARTfusion, 471 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT, USA, +1 406-837-3526

1. Jest Gallery

Art Gallery, Building

Richard Parrish, Fused Glass Artist
Image courtesy of Jest Gallery
Housed in Whitefish’s historic Duncan Sampson building, Jest Gallery focuses on showcasing exceptional contemporary art by both up-and-coming and established local artists. The building’s warm furnishings, large windows, and exposed brick walls highlight the gallery’s revolving collections of paintings, sculptures, and jewelry. Some of the gallery’s past exhibits have included innovative glass pieces by Richard Parrish, and Louise Lamontagne’s oil paintings of Montana’s landscapes. Jest Gallery also participates in Whitefish’s Gallery Nights, which take place on the first Thursday of every month from May to October, and feature special exhibits, artist talks, along with free snacks and drinks,.

Sunrise Studio and Art Gallery

Sunrise Studio and Gallery is a thoroughly Montanan gallery, owned by Montana native artists Lance Johnson and Dawn Ness. The pair exhibit their own original watercolors and oil paintings of the state’s nature and wildlife, including scenes of fly fishermen, waterfalls and wild horses. Sunrise Studio and Art Gallery also offers weekly classes and multi-day workshops for artists of all levels. The gallery regularly participates in Billings’ ArtWalk, an event held five times throughout the year, which offers an opportunity for visitors to meet local artists, as well as view their pieces and studios.

Sunrise Studio and Art Gallery, 2923 Montana Ave, Billings, MT, USA, +1 406 294 0199

2. Altitude Gallery

Art Gallery, Building

Altitude Gallery, Bozeman
Image courtesy of Altitude Gallery,
Located in a historic building in downtown Bozeman, Altitude Gallery is ‘an eclectic, contemporary art gallery’, exhibiting an ever-changing collection of handmade jewellery, pottery, glass, woodwork, photography, and paintings. Owner Amy Kirkland opened Altitude Gallery in 2005, after several years of experience on the art fair circuit, and now showcases the unique pieces of more than 30 local and regional artists. The gallery is trendy, yet approachable, with locals describing it as the perfect place to find creative gifts, or the kind of artwork they would display in their own homes. Featured artists have included Pyper Hugos, who creates jewelry using vintage automotive steel collected from junk yards; and Kathy Bonnema Leslie’s hand-pulled serigraphs.

Banovich Fine Art Gallery

Banovich Fine Art Gallery showcases works by various painters and sculptors, with a central theme of depicting wildlife from across the globe. Located in Livingston, the gallery features artwork in diverse media, ranging from lithographs to jewelry. The gallery’s founder, Montana native John Banovich, is an award-winning wildlife artist, who has been featured in Africa Geographic, The Outdoor Channel, and the Arts Magazine, among other national print and television outlets. Banovich, whose work is exhibited prominently in the gallery, is known for his ability to capture the spirit of exotic animals and places.

Banovich Fine Art Gallery, 2 Pine Creek Road, Livingston, MT, USA, +1 888 486-3160

John Banovich, Cape Thunder

3. Lewistown Art Center

Art Gallery, Shop

The Lewistown Art Center presents free gallery shows every month, exhibiting contemporary collections by local and regional artists. Upcoming exhibitions include works by metal sculptor Bill Ryder, whose pieces are created using scrap metal and found objects; as well as dioramas, paintings, and mixed media pieces by Mary Lou Steward. In addition to the gallery’s 12 yearly showings, the center also holds numerous smaller exhibits in some of Central Montana’s rural communities. The center’s gift shop is almost a small gallery itself, selling pottery, leatherwork, prints, sculptures and other artworks and crafts by over 100 Montana artists. Lewistown Art Center also hosts art education programs for both youths and adults.

Monte Dolack Gallery

Located in historic downtown Missoula, the Monte Dolack Gallery showcases paintings, posters, and prints created by Missoula natives Monte Dolack and his wife, Mary Beth Percival. Dolack is widely considered to be a contributor to the visual arts of the American West, whose early ‘Invaders Series’ established his international reputation for creating works that carry a sense of irony and humor. Mary Beth Percival’s paintings focus on nature, displaying the same sense of whimsy as Dolack’s pieces, along with a theme of appreciating life’s simple joys.

Monte Dolack Gallery, 139 W Front St, Missoula, MT, USA, +1 800 825 7613

Celebrating Wilderness poster

Dana Gallery

Started in 1996 as a small storefront in Missoula, owner Dudley Dana originally opened the Dana Gallery in order to exhibit the work of local photographers, including his own. Voted Missoula’s best art gallery for six consecutive years, the Dana Gallery is one of Montana’s foremost galleries of fine art. The gallery showcases works by over 40 local and regional artists, ranging from internationally acclaimed artists to up-and-comers. The gallery offers a mixture of traditional and contemporary art, along with a reading corner stocked with art books. For over a decade, the gallery has hosted an annual ‘Paint Out’ in July, during which 20 artists paint en plein air, or outdoors, to create works inspired by Montana’s beauty.

Dana Gallery, 246 N Higgins Ave, Missoula, MT, USA, +1 406 721 3154

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