MISSOULA — The exhibitions and core programs at the Missoula Art Museum (MAM) are made possible by the annual art benefit auction.
Now, for the 50th year, over 80 pieces are on display for purchase.
“The first benefit art auction was in 1972 before the Missoula Art Museum even opened," MAM Marketing & Communications Coordinator Carey Powers told MTN News.
Since the museum’s inception, the annual auction helps keep the doors open for the local art hub.
“We would not be here today if it weren't for the benefit art auction," Powers said.
After an all-virtual exhibition last year, paintings, photographs, and sculptures are on display — some have already sold thanks to a “Buy-It-Now” feature online.
“We needed to have time for the public to come and find their favorite piece and for the artists to come and see their work hung on the walls," Powers explained.
Artists of notoriety, like Monte Dolack, and artists just starting out their career are on display in the museum.
Mickey Haldi is a first-time art submitter to the auction.
“I said a statement and then the way that I painted it was like, releasing the emotions that I felt about it," Haldi said of their artwork which has already sold.
Haldi, a recent University of Montana graduate, is focusing on getting their work out to the public.
Haldi's artwork can be described as abstract and exploratory.
“Every painting that I do feels like completely different from the last painting that I did," Haldi said.
The success story leaves behind questions for the artist.
“I want to know who wanted it and I kind of want to know why they want it. Like, what did they feel about it?"
Viewing art, an intangible experience in itself, helps potential buyers connect with the work for whatever reason that may be.
The Buy-It-Now function ends this Friday morning and the silent auction for the remaining pieces begins this Friday at noon.
The live auction will take place virtually on Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. and a special selection of artwork will only be available to purchase during this time.
To view the items, click here.