GREAT FALLS — There was a lot of construction happening at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls on Thursday, but the museum is no doubt ready for the "Special Edition Western Art Week" beginning Aug. 18 and running through Aug. 22.
With construction at the C.M. Russell Museum in the home stretch, Western Art Week attendees will get to experience a new and improved museum.
"We'll have a large white tent on our campus. that's to support the sale and all the activities that will occur here at the museum with the Russell Exhibition and sale. They'll also notice our redesigned entryway and a large grass area,” explained museum director Tom Figarelle.
Figarelle anticipated the week could be unlike any other.
"I think the separation and the distance that people have experienced by not coming to Western Art Week in 2020 will definitely energize people and motivate them to connect with friends they haven't seen."
"So there is this kind of family reunion aspect to Western Art Week in 2021 that maybe we haven't felt in the same way previously, so it will be fun just to see folks that you've been talking to on the phone and you've been holding Zoom sessions with.”
Whether you're after portraits or pottery or just want to imagine yourself in the old west, Visit Great Falls Montana Tourism said Special Edition Western Art Week, as the organization is calling it, is sure to please.
"We thought, 'Why not have Special Edition Western Art Week 2021?' That way, it shows that it's still the same brand, it's a special edition, and it doesn't really put any constraints on the future events because we're not sure exactly what 2022 will look like for all of the shows. We didn't want to just have a one-time event or say that it's always going to be two weeks," said Marisela Hazzard, the tourism organization’s content director.
This edition won't just be a repeat of week one in March.
"Not all of the same artists that were participating in March are going to be participating in the August (week,)” Hazzard explained.
As for COVID? "We are still having that same message: If you're sick, stay home. There are plenty of ways to participate in Special Edition Western Art Week online,” said Hazzard.
"We're encouraging people to wear masks, we'll have ample social distancing. having many events outside will ensure that we have adequate airflow and we are just really focused on ensuring that people have fun but do it in a responsible manner," Figarelle said.