MISSOULA - An annual art festival showcasing the ability of elite craftspeople wrapped up Sunday as the holiday shopping season begins.
Patrons of the arts gathered in the Hilton Garden Inn to peruse the products of over 60 vendors from across the U.S. Following a tradition of supporting fine arts, the Under The Big Sky Arts Festival hosted a diverse group of artisans from as far away as the East Coast.
"We've had this venue for the past nine years artist how rude carefully selected by Jim over these years were very tight-knit family here in the area and I believe this is one of the best art festivals in the Northwest," show curator Heather Holmes said. “Our artists create one of a kind unique pieces in their specific medium and we have everything from oil paintings to T shirts.”
“We've been coming here [for] nine years it's a good show for us. People of Missoula [are] very nice very hospitable and they're very giving we sell a lot of product here so we're looking forward to coming back next year," added Distinctive Burl Design owner Mike Oliver.
Every single product sold at the fair was made by hand, and the artists are proud to come together once again to share in the fruits of their labor.
This year's under the Big Sky arts festivals dedicated to the previous organizer Jim Bice, who passed away last month. The show was the first one they've had without Bic who was fondly remembered by the artisans
"We were like father and son, I mean he was a real mentor for me and i.. on on their missing very much," Oliver said."
Although Bice's death has affected these veteran craftsmen and women, it hasn't affected their perspective
"Art is work. All these artists have to work very hard at what they do. But you know what? Getting to do what you love to do is really nice. And I'm fortunate enough to make a halfway decent living out of it," Oliver told MTN News.