GREAT FALLS — A tradition in March since the 1960s, Western Art Week turns Great Falls into the Western Art Capital of The World. Now due to COVID-19 restrictions, people will get a double dose, with a special edition week added in August.
The first round of Western Art Week is March 18-21 with a scaled-down line-up. The first round of shows will be on display at the CM Russell Museum, Elk's Lodge, Heritage Inn, and Dark Horse Wine Snug in Celtic Cowboy. Then the special edition shows will be held during the third week in August, with 16 shows scheduled.
“Western Art Week is the foundation pretty much of our art scene,” said Marisela Hazzard, content director for Great Falls Montana Tourism. "Because of COVID and the uncertainty of event requirements and safety protocols, a lot of shows decided to wait to participate in August when they think the vaccine will be more effective and we might be somewhat back to normal.”
All of the exhibits will follow COVID guidelines. Great Falls Montana Tourism has created an app-like website that shows you the COVID-19 messaging, a full schedule of events, and a map of where events are being held.
To ensure visitors can enjoy their exhibits safely, the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art Already has their exhibit up - exhibits they call "Western Adjacent." Among the displays are ‘When The West Was Won’ by Gordon McConnell and ‘Convergence’, an exhibit that combines the work of Bev Beck Glueckert, Ellen Ornitz, and Susan Thomas. All three are female Montana-based contemporary artists. Both exhibits will be on display at the square in March.
“We at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art strive to be a place where all voices are heard in our diverse community so that is why we bring programming that runs slightly parallel to what Western Art Week is, but also ask you to question what it means,” said Nicole Evans, the Curator of Art at the museum.