North x Northwest: 11 days of Billings Cultural Events

From art exhibits and film to concerts and theatre, North x Northwest celebrates the arts

New & Notable

The Billings Cultural Partners (BCP) will highlight 11 days of cultural events Sept. 12-22 during North x Northwest.

According to Bryan W. Knicely, executive director of the Yellowstone Art Museum, the inaugural event offers a “sampling of the outstanding cultural programs and events that the BCP organizations have to offer each year,” ranging from art to film and music to theatre.

Lady in Black by Houshang Khorasani is part of North x Northwest, a juried exhibit at the Yellowstone Art Museum.
Lady in Black by Houshang Khorasani is part of North x Northwest, a juried exhibit at the Yellowstone Art Museum.

BCP was founded in 1997 and is a future-focused consortium of cultural organizations in the greater Billings area. With more than 30 members, including schools, government entities, and organizations serving the arts, history and natural science, BCP’s goal is to strengthen each of the partners through the power of collaboration, marketing and annual community projects such as North x Northwest.

“The collaboration is a strong one between BCP partner organizations and has been for 20 years,” Knicely notes.

The title, North x Northwest, represents both the geographic location of Billings as well as the BCP’s position as “the cultural center of the northern high plains,” says Knicely.

It’s also the title of an inaugural juried art exhibit at the YAM featuring 60 works chosen from 543 entries. The works selected by juror Julia Andrews, director of the Coral Springs Museum of Art in Coral Springs, FL, run the gamut from traditional oil-on-canvas paintings to avant-garde interactive sculptural pieces, and represent artists from 18 states.

The public is invited to vote for their favorite piece in the exhibition through Sept. 11 with the winner receiving the People’s Choice Award at the reception, 6-8 p.m. Sept. 12; the Juror’s Choice and Purchase Award winners will also be named. The exhibit is on display through Oct.  10.

Other North x Northwest events

Billings Symphony’s Whiskey and Wine, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 12 at Henry’s Garage; enjoy samples from the top whiskey and wine distributors in Montana during the Billings Symphony Orchestra and Chorale’s event. Call 406-252-3610 or order tickets online at

ArtWalk Downtown Billings, 5-9 p.m. Sept. 13; celebrating its 25th anniversary season, ArtWalk locations include galleries, studios, museums, a downtown church and other “art-friendly” places. This month’s stroll is an addition to the regular ArtWalk schedule, held in conjunction with North x Northwest.

Evening Under the Big Sky, 5:30 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Montana Audubon Center: the annual fundraising gala provides critical support for the center’s outdoor education programming and land stewardship effort.

“The Other Mozart,” 2 and 8 p.m. Sept. 14 at MSU-Billings Petro Theater; while the historic theater is closed for a major renovation, its first show of the season will be held at MSU-Billings. The award-winning production tells the true and untold story of Nannerl Mozart – a prodigy, keyboard virtuoso, and composer who performed throughout Europe with her brother, Amadeus, to equal acclaim. Call 406-256-5602 or visit

SCRaP in Billings Art Show and Sell, Sept. 13 at SCRaP (7 No. 18th Street) during the ArtWalk Downtown, and Sept.14 at the First Congregational Church; artists’ works are on display during the ArtWalk and will be sold during the Art For a Cause reception and auction, 6-9 p.m. Sept. 14 at the First Congregational Church. Montana Arts Council MAP cohorts are featured artists.

The MINT Film Festival, Sept. 19-23 at the Babcock Theater, Art House Cinema and Pub and other downtown venues: from the opening night screening and reception to the closing credits, the Montana International Film Festival showcases 75 films from 11 countries, including narrative feature films, documentaries and shorts.

High Noon Lecture: “Me and Martha,” noon Sept. 19 at the Western Heritage Center; Mary Jane Bradbury offers “Intimate Reflections of Dora DuFran about the Real Life of Calamity Jane” during the center’s monthly lecture series.

Civil Conversation: Owning Our History – Japanese Internment,” 6:30 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Billings Public Library; Dakota Russell, executive director of Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, talks about the ramifications of the Japanese internment during World War II.

Billings Symphony: A 1920s Evening, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 21 at the Lincoln Center; the opening night concert celebrates jazz influences on classical music with George Gershwin’s “An American in Paris” and world-renowned pianist Conrad Tao playing Maurice Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major. Call 406-252-3610 or order tickets online at

Films at Art House Cinema, nature journaling at the Audubon Center, music at various venues, and the “Stories in Stained Glass” exhibition at the Moss Mansion are also among the offerings.

The event is an invitation to the community and the rest of the region “to join in” the cultural cornucopia. For more information on the BCP, visit