What artists, collectors, enthusiasts, and more experienced in Great Falls, Montana, this March was truly magical. A lovely scene it was!
Centered around Charles Marion Russell’s (1864-1926) March 19 birthday, the city of Great Falls, Montana, has hosted an exceptional fine arts festival every year since 1969. For nearly 50 years, Western Art Week has continued to grow and blossom into one of America’s most anticipated events, highlighted by The Russell Exhibition & Sale. From March 16 through 19, thousands of visitors enjoyed the sounds, tastes, and — of course — sights of this premier festival.

Two of the Russell Skull Society booths — Chad Poppleton (left) and Josh Elliott (right) (c) Rion Sanders, Tribune 2016

Tess Cowan of Altamira Gallery views the work of Russell Skull Society member Carol Hagan
(c) Rion Sanders, Tribune 2016

Among the largest events in Western Art Week was the Out West Art Show, which featured live demonstrations from many of the nation’s top Western artists, live music, award presentations, a young masters exhibition and award ceremony, and Native American dance and music performances that celebrate Montana’s storied history. Paintings and sculptures weren’t the only objects available for purchase and appreciation: the March in Montana event witnessed lively bidding for antique firearms, Western memorabilia, Indian relics, collector books, jewelry, glassware, and furniture.

Meagan & Michael Blessing’s showroom at the Out West Art Show & Sale. Meagan won Fine Art Connoisseur magazine’s People’s Choice award at the Out West Art Show & Sale (c) Rion Sanders, Tribune 2016

In addition to the many auctions, several of the city’s most acclaimed galleries mounted special exhibitions in chorus with Western Art Week. Among others, the exhibitions included The Great Western Living & Design Show, Jon Contway & Friends Art Show, Western Collectibles & Antique Gun Show, Western Heritage Artists Foorprints on the Trail, Wild Bunch Art Show, Missouri Falls Fine Arts Show & Sale, and the Montana Watercolor Society Members Art-Rageous Sale.

Quick Draw at the Out West Art Show and Sale (c) Anne Weiler-Brown 2016

To learn more about the events and how to plan for 2017, visit Western Art Week.
This article was featured in Fine Art Today, a weekly e-newsletter from Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. To start receiving Fine Art Today for free, click here.

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Andrew Webster is the former Editor of Fine Art Today and worked as an editorial and creative marketing assistant for Streamline Publishing. Andrew graduated from The University of North Carolina at Asheville with a B.A. in Art History and Ceramics. He then moved on to the University of Oregon, where he completed an M.A. in Art History. Studying under scholar Kathleen Nicholson, he completed a thesis project that investigated the peculiar practice of embedded self-portraiture within Christian imagery during the 15th and early 16th centuries in Italy.


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