Great Falls, MT
Best Western Heritage Inn, March 13-16
This story was featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art March 2013 print issue, or get the Southwest Art March 2013 digital download now…Or better yet, just subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
For 40 years artists and collectors have gathered in Great Falls, MT, to display or purchase art as part of the C.M. Russell legacy. Continuing this tradition, on Wednesday, March 13, the Western Masters Art Show & Sale opens with 148 artists and galleries setting up art showrooms in 110 hotel rooms at the Best Western Heritage Inn. The list of participating artists includes Julie Chapman, Brent Cotton, John DeMott, Jennifer Johnson, Elizabeth Robbins, and Randy Van Beek. Sculptor Bob Boomer says that he’s been coming to the event for 20 years. “It’s very well organized and promoted,” he says. “I have made friends of other artists and collectors, and it is great for networking.”
The hotel kicks off the festivities at 6 p.m. with a party that allows collectors and artists to mingle and enjoy their first walk-throughs of the artists’ showrooms. “There is food, music, and a lot of people coming in wanting to buy stuff the first night,” says show co-founder Steve Cawdrey. The showrooms are then open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. until the show closes on Saturday night. Daily events include art demonstrations, Native dances, guest speakers, and a Young Masters Art Program, where talented high school art students are invited to participate in workshops with professional artists. There are also two Quick Finish events on Friday and Saturday. “We don’t do Quick Draws,” Cawdrey says. “We do Quick Finishes.” Artists bring works that are in any stage of completion and finish them while guests look on. “The point is the artists can paint and visit,” Cawdrey says. Proceeds from the second Quick Finish auction benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. “The first year we raised $44,500 for the foundation,” Cawdrey says. “Last year we raised around $70,000!”
The highly anticipated main event, the Off the Wall Auction, begins at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, with over 100 juried works from participating artists or artists represented by participating galleries.
Painter Joe Kronenberg says he looks forward to the Western Masters every year because he knows of no other venue that allows the artists and collectors to interact with each other as they do at this show. “It has been a great experience getting to establish and grow relationships year after year with people who collect or admire my work.” —Laura Rintala
Featured in the March 2013 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art March 2013 digital download
Southwest Art March 2013 print issue
Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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