GREAT FALLS — The CMR Museum in Great Falls hosted an auction on Saturday featuring western art work, both contemporary and historical. It was the culmination of "Special Edition Western Art Week," which started on August 18.
Tom Figarelle, director of the museum, said, “You know, 2021 is obviously very special for us because it’s the first time we’ve come together as a community of western art patrons since the pandemic, and so it’s a reunion, yes, but it’s also a celebration of what it means to pursue the art and soul of the American west, whether that be the art of indigenous works, of cowboy artists, of landscapes. I mean, western art is broad, but it is also just so welcoming to such a large group of people throughout the country. we’re fortunate to enjoy their company here today and to just celebrate under our big tent.”
A portion of the money raised at the auction is used to support museum operations.
Christina Blackwell, a member of the museum's Board of Directors, explained, “It gets used for all of our operations here at the museum, to be able to put on new exhibitions, to do educational programs, and to make sure the museum is a beautiful place to welcome new visitors."
(AUGUST 5, 2021) 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 August 18 and running through August 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.
And 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.
Figarelle said, "We're encouraging people to wear masks, we'll have ample social distancing. having many events outside will ensure that we have adequate air flow and we are just really focused on ensuring that people have fun but do it in a responsible manner.”