The Art-Beat Of Bozeman

It happens all the time in this great valley we live in. You’re racing back from Bridger Canyon to see what the sun is doing in its last half-hour of the day, and as you emerge from the canyon’s confines, there on the side of the road is a photographer, capturing the rich, multi-hued sunset for later expression. Or on an adventure up Hyalite, you’ll pass an artist on the shoreline with canvas, brushing strokes of blue and white as light dances across the reservoir. Another painter may probe a grove of aspens, blending hues of green and gold in a watercolor as time passes idly by.

Artists are affected by the energy of their environment. Bozeman art encompasses the breathtaking landscapes in which we live in and also that which fills it: Native American culture, Western heritage, and native wildlife. It’s the art-beat of Bozeman, whether created in a watercolor, etching, bronze sculpture, oil, or photograph—here in the Bozone you’ll find a little bit of everything.

Walk into local galleries and you might find watercolors of golden aspens on the Yellowstone river, an etching of an old barn sitting alone on a country road, or an electric-blue teepee towering over a lush alpine meadow. No matter the medium used to express our surroundings, the art itself ranges from traditional to modern.

Twenty years ago the Bozeman art scene was minimal compared to what exists today. “We have a good mix of work these days, something to suit everyone,” says Pam Coleman of GreyFox Gallery. From artists that have been here over 30 years to those that have just found this paradise, the art scene is growing and local galleries welcome it. In fact, some view the growth as reflective of a changing Bozeman culture: traditional western meets eclectic, as modern views infuse themselves in the western and wildlife motifs—perhaps mirroring the mindsets of those moving here from various locales.

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the art of Bozeman expands into our community as a whole. Take Main Street, from its unified streetlamps and sidewalks to the unique storefronts, which makes for an appealing city center that draws residents in. “Bozeman has developed a discerning eye,” says Genise Park of ArtWorks Gallery. “Our community is reflecting art in its landscaping and in architecture.” Even Wal-Mart and Home Depot are affected by our pervasive art energy. Where else do you find massive chain stores with detailed stonework and landscaping using plants and flowers native to the area? As Genise puts it, “What we have is a community as presentation of art in itself.”

Living in one of the most aesthetically pleasing areas in the country—and perhaps the world—local artists thrive on using nature and beauty for inspiration. When you run across titles of works like Freedom, Independence, and Full Circle, you feel as if you might be in exactly the right place, running to catch sunsets, hiking Sacajawea while mountain goats climb a nearby rock wall, or watching a wildflower hold a dollop of snow on its delicate petals, lucky to live within our art.