Anaconda Wildlife Art Expo set for mid-September

Weekend features wildlife and landscape art plus unique outdoor activities Sept. 16-18

Art Beat

The annual Anaconda Wildlife Art Expo, a fine art show scheduled for Sept. 16-18 in the historic smelter town, showcases juried art by more than 40 artists, including professionals from the U.S. and Canada, and talented local artists.

Grizzly by Arizona painter Trevor Swanson, whose work is featured at the Wildlife Art Expo.
Grizzly by Arizona painter Trevor V. Swanson, whose work is featured at the Wildlife Art Expo.Photo © Trevor V. Swanson

Sponsored by the Copper Village Museum and Art Center (CVMAC), the Art Expo is a three-day, citywide event opens Friday with an art walk from 4-6 p.m. and a reception and display of items for the Juried Art Purchase Drawing from 7-9 p.m. at Glacier Bank ($25, which includes beverages and appetizers). Both events are open to all.

Artist displays, vendors and demonstrations are on tap 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Durston Park. A wild-game feed begins at 6 p.m. Saturday at Smitty’s Barn, 50 Theatre Lane, with the drawing for juried art around 7 p.m. ($25, suggested donation).

The event, hosted by CVMAC, is the brainchild of Fred Boyer, a local — yet world renowned — wildlife sculptor. “Wildlife and landscape art come in many creative shapes and fashions,” he said, “but it is founded in the artists’ keen awareness and deep appreciation of the outdoors and its inhabitants. And I believe Anaconda is a perfect place to highlight these works of art.”

This year, the Art Expo has three featured artists – Trevor V. Swanson, Carly Jo Moodry, and Susan Malee – and also honors the late Marilynn Dwyer Mason.

Swanson, who lives in Phoenix, is an avid outdoorsman and is considered one of the most gifted and promising wildlife artists in the world today. Coming from a long line of talented artists, he began his professional career at 20, and was quickly recognized for his artistic prowess and unique style. His paintings hang in some of the world’s most prestigious art shows, museums, and private collections.

Moodry, from Anaconda, uses wildlife and landscape photography as part of her therapy in overcoming a debilitating traumatic brain injury in 2007 that left her unable to walk, speak, read, write, and perform basic daily tasks like eating, drinking, and taking care of herself as a 19-year-old. With continuous therapy for 14 years, she is relearning these life skills.

About two years ago, she rekindled her high-school passion in photography. Since then, she has taken thousands of photos recording the artistic beauty that she sees in birds, animals, and scenery in and around her hometown. The process and its creative results, she explained, help her find joy and fulfillment as she deals with the awareness of the lasting impact of her tragic auto accident.

Malee, a local watercolor artist, specializes in landscape paintings. After decades of working as a writer, editor and photographer, she has made watercolor landscapes her second career. The self-taught artist has lived in Anaconda for 40 years and enjoys the mountains, lakes, and vistas of the area, which she transforms into detailed paintings.

Marilynn Dwyer Mason, a Butte native who died last January, created works in watercolor, pen and ink, pastel, acrylic and oil that portrayed Butte scenes, Montana wildlife and its people. She was especially well known for her whimsical paintings of bears enjoying all aspects of the outdoors. She also illustrated furniture with her creations, painted murals and taught art.

Anaconda, an outdoor recreation mecca, is nestled at the base of the Pintler Wilderness area and it is an epicenter to blue-ribbon fishing, big-game hunting, and trail heads to thousands of miles of access points to high-mountain lakes and streams as well as the Continental Divide Trail.

Another gem of Anaconda is the CVMAC – a year-around venue for gallery shows featuring traditional and heritage arts, world arts, and Montana contemporary artists. In addition, it offers art classes to children and adults and provides scholarship opportunities for high school students interested in pursuing a career in the arts.

The center also is responsible for curating, storing, and displaying the historic artifacts and documents from the community’s colorful and robust past, and it coordinates a summer arts and music festival. Almost all of this is completed through grants, volunteerism, and fundraisers – like the Anaconda Wildlife Expo.

For more information, please call 406-563-2422 or visit