Alpine Artisans host Tour of the Arts

Self-guided tour encompasses Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot valleys

Art Beat

Alpine Artisans’ Tour of the Arts returns for its 19th year Oct. 8-9, once again offering a feast for the eyes. Driving this free, self-guided tour takes participants through miles of gold-hued Tamaracks while enjoying the latest work. created by local artists in the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot Valleys.

Alpine Artisans' Tour travels through the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot valleys.
Alpine Artisans’ Tour travels through the Seeley-Swan and Blackfoot valleys.

New sites this year include Obsession Pottery in Seeley Lake, the Seeley Lake Community Foundation Building, which features four artists in residence, and 406 MT Mercantile in Lincoln.

Driving the Tour of the Arts

While the tour can begin at any spot along the route, many start at the Swan Valley Historical Museum in Condon which features three artists: Sheri Burden, Littlebird Kinzfogl and Sharon Lamar. Burden incorporates her clients’ personal treasures into her stained glass designs; Lamar’s watercolors reflect local landscapes; and Kinzfogl shows her remarkable jewelry.

Driving south, the next stop is Swan Valley Copper where Roger Watson will fire up his stove for live demonstrations of his  copper-bowl creations. At Swan Valley Images, John Mercer discusses his photography displayed in several ranch buildings, which offer their own panoramic views of the Mission and Swan range.

In Seeley Lake, The Grizzly Claw Trading Company features the work of many local artists, plus clothing, handmade furniture, western artifacts, espresso and pastries. A new location – the Seeley Lake Community Foundation Building – showcases works by four artists. Brandy Green, Kris Gullikson, Peggy Shepherd and Shellie Mundy show watercolor and acrylic paintings and handmade rock lamps. Carrie Darrah’s Obsession Pottery will feature live demonstrations of her ceramic work.

Leaving the alpine environment of the Seeley-Swan, tour participants cruise through ranch land and sagebrush to Swanwoods studio where Jerry and Martha Swanson demonstrate their unique approach to creating wooden bowls.

Three Blackfoot Valley artists are at the Brand Bar Museum in Ovando. Angela Williams creates one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry from copper, hardware and leather; Diane Whitehead’s oil paintings have been featured in the CM Russell Exhibition and Sale in Great Falls; and Dona Aitken’s lamps, vases, boxes and marquetry trays are created from local woods, both practical and beautiful.

Four artists are featured at Annie Allen Art Studio east of Lincoln, where Allen will be painting on a large canvas as Lisa Gibson shows her paintings, Trudy Skari exhibits fanciful animal sculptures and Sally Bogaert offers exquisite jewelry. A large selection of Montana art and other goods are available at the new 406 MT Mercantile gallery on the western end of Lincoln.

Finally, the tour wraps up (or begins!) at Blackfoot Pathways International Sculpture Garden, east of Lincoln on Highway 200.

Learn more and download a tour brochure online.