Brunswick Studios celebrate 40 years

Historic Missoula landmark hosts anniversary show through Aug. 3

Art Beat

The Brunswick Artists’ Studios of Missoula is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a retrospective art exhibit July 13-Aug. 18, and a reading at 7 p.m. Aug. 2.

Since 1978 the two-story former railroad hotel has provided studios for creative work. Over the past four decades more than 150 artists, writers and musicians have occupied rooms in the flat-iron building, constructed of local brick in 1890.

Artists Robert Strini and Linda Wachtmeister initially dedicated the Brunswick to studios at a time when downtown Missoula was mostly occupied by hippies, artists, senior citizens and people of limited means. Leslie V. S. Millar and Max Gilliam took ownership in 1994 with the intention of continuing to provide affordable working space to creative individuals.

Millar spent months tracking down the hundred or so artists who spent time in the Brunswick. “The whole thing has been really uplifting,” she told the Missoulian. “It’s also a reminder to people of their origins or their background or their talents.”

The six-week exhibit features around 90 small-scale 2-D and 3-D works by former and current artists, including paintings, sculptures, sketches, woodcuts, prints, mixed-media, dioramas, photographs, ceramics and videos, along with pieces of writing and music.

The Brunswick’s 10 studios are typically small (as befits former hotel or brothel rooms). Some of the better-known occupants have included the prolific painter and ceramic artist Jay Rummel (who died in 1998), Andrew Avakian, Kate Hunt, Stephanie Frostad, Courtney Blazon, Beth Lo and Dale Sherrard. Well-known Bozeman guitarist Stuart Weber once rented a room there during an earlier incarnation as a cartoonist.

“It’s diverse,” Millar told the Missoulian, “but I think the unifying thread is there’s integrity to the work.”

The gallery is open from 2-6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, with a closing reception 5-8 p.m. Aug. 3.

For information call 406-721-0591.