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Billings Art Walk celebrates 25 years

Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:49:37-04

BILLINGS – The Billings art walk celebrated its 25 year anniversary Friday, by showcasing the art and artists that make up the Billings creative community.

Downtown Billings businesses and art gallery’s set up some art and opened their doors to the Billings community.

Thirty five different spaces showed pieces at the second art walk of the year. In 2019, Billings Art Walk is hosting a total of six walks.

 “Art Walk is probably one of the best community events in Billings,” said Zack Terakedis the owner of Terakedis Fine Art gallery. “It’s a time for everybody to come out and enjoy artwork and music and just the great creative community we have here in Billings.

The walk offers local, and national artists, like watercolor painter Janelle Debray, a chance to show and sell their work.

“The Billings community for art has just wrapped their arms around me and it’s been great,” Debray said. “I’m definitely in the right place for people that love and appreciate art, and the community definitely lends itself to that.”

One time art walk participant the Billings Public Library pulled some pieces from the archive to display.  The noteable pieces included a map added to by Yellowstone Kelly, and a C.M. Russell painting that hasn’t seen the light of day in 25 years.

A map, added to by Yellowstone Kelly.

“We thought about this art and how it really belongs to the public,” said Billings Public Library clerk Courtney Lujan. “It’s for the public, and we wanted everyone to enjoy it. It’s such an important part of Montana history and Billings history so that’s really special.”

C.M. Russell, 1894.

Art and history often work together as one. The Western Heritage Center worked to marry those subjects in some new exhibits. On display, they have ledger drawings dating to the late 1800’s done by Chief Plenty Coups, Chief Medicine Crow, and other Native American contemporary’s

Never seeing one before, a Crow person depicts an alligator in the late 1800’s.

“Many of them actually depict the 1880 trip, the Crow delegation trip to Washington D.C. So we’re seeing these men and their first interaction with the capitol building, with trains,” said Lauren Hunley Western Heritage Center community historian. “They visited the zoo in Washington D.C. So of course, how do you describe an alligator to people who’ve never seen an alligator before? We’re always working to blend history with art with those organic vital stories, and creating a space where they can all live together.  “ 

Art, history, stories, and community all brought to Billings with the help of the art walk. So, with the walk celebrating 25 years, what keeps the event running strong?

 “What I have found is that artists, and gallery owners, and downtown businesses people, that we all share a love of art, and we all share a love of community,” said Virginia Bryan Billings Art Walk director. “Those are the two things I think that sustain the event.  Because it truly is a community and we work in concert to pull this off.”