NewsGreat Falls News


Western Art Week set to kick off in Great Falls

Western Art Week
Posted at 5:51 PM, Mar 11, 2024

GREAT FALLS — Western Art Week returns to its original form in Great Falls this week and the C.M. Russell Museum is at the heart of the event.

While not every art lover might be able to afford original artworks by Charlie Russell, the celebration of the legendary Western artist offers something for all - from auctions on Friday and Saturday night to a free educational symposium on Saturday evening and free admission to the museum later this week.

“We're so excited to be back to the March time of year, right around Charlie Russell's March 19th birthday,” said Duane Bratten, the director of art and philanthropy at the C.M. Russell Museum.

Museum staff have been hard at work getting ready for the March return of ‘The Russell.’

Activities begin with a preview party at the museum Thursday at 5:00 p.m.

On Friday, The Rusell Art in Action events takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Meadowlark Country Club.

That night, the Heritage Inn hosts the First Strike Friday Night starting at 5:00 p.m.

“That features all works by a contemporary artists. We have 80 lots that will be up on the auction stage,” said Braaten.

Saturday night, 140 lots will be up for bid during ‘The Russell’ Live Auction beginning at 4:00 p.m. at the Heritage Inn. The event that features several works by Russell himself, including “War Party.”

“Our cover piece this year is an incredible oil painting,” said Braaten. “Those don't come up to auction very often, so we're so pleased to be able to offer that to our audiences. We've got a fantastic cowboy scene watercolor done by Charlie Russell that is sure to garner a lot of attention as well.”

While the auctions, art in action, and preview party are ticketed events, the museum is offering some chances for all to enjoy art at no cost, including free admission Wednesday through Monday.

“Between the ability to come check out the exhibition while it still hangs here at the museum during Western Art Week. That's open, free and open to the public. We have an educational symposium on Saturday morning,” said Braaten.

The symposium will feature renowned appraiser Tim Gordon of Missoula.

Braaten says breaking away from the traditional western art week schedule hasn’t dampened the public’s thirst for Western art.

“Tickets are very, very, very limited. So we're back to those kind of audiences that we were used to,” said Braaten.

Braaten says say despite inflation concerns in other parts of the economy, the art market for both the contemporary and historic works is doing well.

“Collectors are just are really excited to see what's out there. And there's no better place to see what's out there available for sale than here in Great Falls during Western Art Week,” said Braaten.

Click here for a complete list of dates, times and information on Western Art Week shows and events throughout Great Falls.