Show Preview | The Russell

Great Falls, MT
Multiple locations, March 20-23

Clyde Aspevig, Larch Below Mt. Biddle, oil, 28 x 30.

Clyde Aspevig, Larch Below Mt. Biddle, oil, 28 x 30.

This story was featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art March 2014 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!

For more than four decades, western-art lovers have needed little more enticement to attend The Russell than a deep appreciation for art, an opportunity to spend time with old and new friends, and a chance to support the C.M. Russell Museum. Now, with growth of the annual event prompting a move this year to a larger venue, additional attractions are set to engage new, younger collectors and make The Russell even more exciting and diverse.

For the first time, most of the exhibition, sale, and social gatherings take place at the Great Falls Civic Center in the heart of Charles Marion Russell’s hometown. Among the events added this year is a fixed-price sale of artworks created by the recently founded Russell Skull Society of Artists—22 distinguished contemporary western artists. Among the society’s inaugural inductees—selected for their artistic achievement and their support of the C.M. Russell Museum’s mission—are Clyde Aspevig, Andy Thomas, Gary Lynn Roberts, Jerry McKellar, Brent Cotton, Carol Hagan, and Greg Kelsey.

Artwork by up-and-coming artists takes the spotlight at another new event, the First Strike Friday Night Auction. “This new event is aimed at those beginning a western-art collection as well as longtime collectors interested in supporting artists who hold the promise of future greatness,” says Alyse Johnson, communications coordinator with the C.M. Russell Museum. Following First Strike, The Russell will present its first-ever live music concert, featuring 12-time Grammy winner Emmylou Harris, in the Civic Center’s Mansfield Center for the Performing Arts.

Gary Lynn Roberts, The Prankster, oil, 30 x 44.

Gary Lynn Roberts, The Prankster, oil, 30 x 44.

The highlight of the weekend remains the live auction and sale on Saturday evening, with approximately 150 historic and contemporary western paintings and sculptures on the block, including five original Russells. Held in a spacious, elegant setting, the live auction is preceded by a social hour with gourmet appetizers and cocktails. “The whole week is a really wonderful opportunity for artists and collectors to spend quality time together,” notes Christina Blackwell, vice chair of the C.M. Russell Museum’s board of directors. That opportunity continues with another newly established event, the Last Chance Sale and Brunch on Sunday. Remaining artworks will be available for sale during the brunch.

Other popular activities during The Russell include a silent auction and art preview at the C.M. Russell Museum on Thursday evening; the Art in Action Quick-Finish event on Friday, in which artists complete an artwork while interacting with attendees; and a symposium on Saturday, with presentations by noted Charles Russell scholars. “For anyone interested in Russell and his contemporaries, it’s going to be a really big year,” Blackwell remarks. And of course, adds Johnson, “What sets The Russell apart is that proceeds from every event—from the live auction to the concert—go to the museum, a nonprofit entity with a strong educational and outreach component. It’s really amazing to see so much support for the museum. It’s an art pilgrimage back to the heart of Charlie Russell’s hometown.” —Gussie Fauntleroy

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Featured in the March 2014 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art March 2014 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!

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