GREAT FALLS — Western Art Week is still a month away, but it’s not too early to start planning your event schedule for March 18th through March 22nd.
The yearly celebration of Western culture and artwork will be here before you know it, and Great Falls Tourism director Rebecca Engum says that the easiest way to get the most out of the event is to plan ahead.
“If you have not been to Western Art Week in its entirety, take your time and plan out your activities,” said Engum. “Knowing you have five days to hit sixteen shows, it's still an arduous process to get to them all, but so well worth it to be able to see all the unique art that is offered by all the different artists and we really encourage everyone to experience what art means for our community.”
While the format has changed over time, Western Art Week has had shows for over 50 years. Considering the importance of Charlie Russell to the community in Great Falls, it’s not hard to see why it’s the perfect venue for this event.
“I would say Great Falls, Montana is ideal for Western Art Week because we have Charlie’s museum, his home that he shared with his wife Nancy, and his studio all in one location, which is a really unique feature,” Engum explained. “In addition to that, Charlie’s home was here, and all the work he did painted our area’s landscapes, so to honor Charlie in a different location might not be as authentic as it would be here in Great Falls, Montana.”
Last year, the event had 16 different shows, and hosted over 800 artists. Art shows and venues showcased everything from pencil sketches and oil paintings to bronze statues and gunpowder artwork.
Each of the show organizers select their own venues based on what fits their needs the best. They take into account how much art they are showcasing and how many people they expect to come when deciding on the amount of space they think they will need.
“Great Falls tourism has helped in the past by helping them source locations if they’re outgrowing a space or starting a new show, we’ve done that,” said Engum. “A lot of it is their independent work to secure, develop and grow their shows, which we’re very, very thankful for.”
The events begin at 10:00 A.M. on Wednesday, March 18th, and end around 4:00 P.M. on Sunday, March 22nd.
Some of the venues include the Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art, the C.M. Russell Museum of Art and Exhibition Hall at Montana ExpoPark.
For a full schedule of the events and where they take place, check out the Visit Great Falls website.