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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 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
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
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
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
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
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
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