Montana Art News
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Montana Art News

Four public art pieces unveiled in Missoula

The City of Missoula Public Art Committee celebrated four new public art pieces Sept. 7 at the Dana Gallery.

Three of the four pieces are part of the community’s Traffic Signal Box Art Project (TSB). For 12 years the committee has worked with the state and local agencies, local organizations, businesses and individuals to enrich Missoula’s street corners. The boxes serve as “canvases,” enhancing the community and enriching the visual surroundings.

This year’s TSBs were created by Brian Thomas, Jen Ryan Hickes and Cameron Klise.

In addition, a new mural, “We Are But One Thread” by Lillian Nelson, was unveiled at the Van Buren I-90 interchange. In an ongoing spirit of collaboration, the City of Missoula Public Art Committee and the Montana Department of Transportation have joined with the Rattlesnake Neighborhood Council to install public art on one of the retaining walls at one of Missoula’s newest roundabouts.

The title is taken from a quote by Chief Seattle, which the artist felt pertained to the connection between the valley and its original people.

Learn more at


Bozeman sculptor’s work installed at Story Mill Park

A sculpture by Montana State University art professor Jim Zimpel that was inspired by Bozeman’s natural, cultural, commercial and recreational history has been installed in the city’s new Story Mill Community Park located in the historic Story Mill and cannery district off Griffin Lane.

Called “Flourish,” Zimpel’s work is one of two sculptures selected for the park by a design committee organized by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land. A sculpture by Arizona artist Stephen Fairfield has also been installed. Both pieces of public art are located in the nature sanctuary in the 60-acre city park.

Styled as a whimsical boat frame, Zimpel’s powder-coated, welded steel sculpture rises 25 feet. Its design references industrial windmills and the frames of boats. He said its crossed paddles that move kinetically in the wind recall traditional paddles from various cultures; the birds in the park’s wildlife refuge, which include nesting sandhill cranes; and agricultural wheat. The boat frame is silver blue, which will allow it to blend into the surroundings in some light and appear to float, and the paddles are orange.

Zimpel said the sculpture addresses the historic uses of the area from the era of nomadic foraging through industrialization, urban housing (part of the site was once a mobile home park) and now leisure.

“The site has a rich history, including use by indigenous populations. It is a public space for all people, and I think (the piece) represents that.” -- Carol Schmidt, MSU News Service


Aunt Dofe’s Gallery reopens in Willow Creek         

Aunt Dofe’s, a gallery on Main Street in Willow Creek, re-opened its doors this summer with works by acclaimed contemporary artist Sandra Dal Poggetto, on display Aug. 16-Sept. 27.

Juni Clark, a native Montanan and avid supporter of the visual arts, purchased the gallery from Dave Kirk’s estate with the goal of carrying on Kirk’s unique vision for encouraging artists.

“Dave ran the gallery purely for the love of art, which made Aunt Dofe’s an artistic oasis,” says Clark.

The mission statement for the revived Aunt Dofe’s says simply, “The Reason for Being: The Artist.” According to Clark, the gallery aims to emphasize the aesthetic quality, not the monetary value of the work.

“I am grateful and very excited to continue Dave’s philosophy for running a gallery. I believe that our artists here in the region rival the most well-known contemporary artists anywhere,” she says. “And I want this venue to be used by emerging talented artists to jumpstart their careers.”

A few renovations to the original building, built as a mercantile in 1903, have been necessary to make the space more accessible for creativity. Kirk’s woodworking shop has been transformed into the Earl S. Parks Gallery, which allows more area (approximately 1,200 square feet) for larger pieces. Aunt Dofe’s Gallery remains the same with the addition of new windows and fresh paint, says Clark

Upcoming exhibits feature work by Phoebe Knapp, a rancher and sculptor who divides her time between her ranch near Fort Smith and a studio on Billings, Oct. 4-Nov. 15; and Bozeman painter and sculptor Jay Schmidt, Nov. 22-Dec.31.

Submissions for future exhibits are welcome; visit for more information.




Montana Arts Council | 830 N. Warren Street, Helena, MT 59601 | P.O. Box 202201, Helena, MT 59620-2201 | P: (406) 444-6430 | F: (406) 444-6548 |      Facebook     Twitter     Instagram     YouTube icon