Western Art Week: The Russell and more

Saddle up and head to Great Falls March 14-18 for exhibits, auctions and special events

New & Notable

Art enthusiasts and artists converge in Great Falls March 14-18 for Western Art Week. The cornucopia of art shows, auctions and special events coincides with the birthday of famed western artist Charlie Russell.

The Russell: Big Sky Lodge
“Big Sky Lodge” by Allen Knows His Gun is part of The Russell.Photo © C.M. Russell Museum

The centerpiece, The Russell: An Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum, is an event “rooted in common interests, forged in friendships, and wrapped in excitement,” says Tom Figarelle, executive director of the nonprofit museum.

The Russell’s signature fundraising event begins Thursday with the Art Preview Party at the museum ($40-$50) and Charlie’s Friends After Party at Wines by Wednesday.

Art-in-Action, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Meadow Lark Country Club, gives nationally known artists several hours to finish a piece of art while interacting with guests, and culminates in a live auction, with all proceeds going to the museum. The First Strike Auction, 6 p.m. Friday at the Mansfield Center, focuses solely on works by contemporary artists ($55-$65).

“Charles M. Russell: The Women in His Life and Art,” from 9 a.m.-noon Saturday in the Mansfield Missouri Room, offers a free preview of the museum’s new summer exhibit. The Russell Runway Show, 12:30-2:30 p.m. at Meadowlark Country Club, showcases renowned fashion designers, including couture contributions by Montana Dreamwear, Meredith Lockhart, and Lindsey Thornberg, and includes an auction of vests and shawls hand painted by artists of The Russell  ($25-$35). The Russell Live Auction opens at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Convention Center; the elegant evening includes dinner and an auction of contemporary art plus significant historical works.

The Russell Skull Society of Artists’ sale is open Thursday-Saturday at the Convention Center. Call 406-727-8787 or visit www.cmrussell.org.

Other offerings include:

March in Montana Dealer Show and Auction, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. March 15-17, at the Elks Lodge with auctions at noon Friday and Saturday. The Coeur d’Alene Art Auction of Idaho and Manitou Galleries of Cheyenne, Wyo., produce this annual show and sale that attracts dealers and buyers from around the world. Call 307-635-0019 or visit www.marchinmontana.com.

The Great Western Living and Design Show, March 15-18 at Four Seasons Arena, Montana ExpoPark. More than 80 vendors showcase custom-made fine crafts, art and unique western ware, from handcrafted boots and furniture to one-of-a-kind clothing and jewelry. The Native Plains Artists Show is a distinct show within the Great Western Living & Design Show and exclusively features Native American artists. The Montana Watercolor Society Show has also merged with the Great Western Living and Design Show. Visit www.thegreatwesternshow.com.

Out West Art Show, March 14-17 at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls. Located in the adopted hometown of Charles “Kid” Russell, the show originated with the acclaimed Russell Auction and fills 110 exhibit rooms with works by more than 140 artists. Highlights include the Gala Opening and Launch Party; the Montana Miniature Auction and 14 Squared Small Works Auction; quick finishes and auctions; and a performance by the Missouri River Dance Company. Call 406-887-2869 or visit outwestartshow.com.

The Russell: BigThunder
Big Thunder by DG House, who shares his work at The Russell and March 17 at First Peoples Buffalo Jump State Park.Photo © C.M. Russell Museum

Western Heritage Artists’ “Footprints on the Trail,” March 14-18 at the Holiday Inn. The 37th annual event features works by more than 60 artists in an array of media. Call 406-868-9649 or visit www.westernheritageartshow.com.

Wild Bunch Art Show, March 14-17 at the Hampton Inn. Artists from Montana and the West show a variety of work, including paintings, bronze, wood and stone sculptures, jewelry and pottery during the annual event. Call 406-842-5266 for details.

Missouri Falls Fine Arts Show & Sale, March 15-18 at the History Museum. Members of the Art Association of Montana share works in a broad range of media and styles during the fourth annual show.

Jay Contway and Friends Art Show, March 15-17 at the Hilton Garden Inn. Guests will find contemporary western art, jewelry, woodwork, custom leather clothing and more at this annual show, hosted by sculptor Jay Contway. Call 406-452-7647 or visit www.jaycontway.com.