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Yellowstone Art Museum selects first writer in residence

Museum launches Tuesday write-alongs
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Posted at 2:15 PM, Jun 26, 2024

BILLINGS — Every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., you’ll find a group of people gathered around a piece of art at the Yellowstone Art Museum. Anyone is invited, and the hour, mostly in silence, has an important purpose: allowing people to use their creative muscles while enjoying art.

The Yellowstone Art Museum is celebrating 60 years, and for the first time in its extensive history, the museum has a writer in residence. Her name is Anne Holub, and she's helping people put pen to paper and put down the screens.

“I have some writing prompts if you do not know how to get started,” Holub said during a recent gathering.

Her weekly write-along at the art museum is a chance for anyone to sit in front of a piece of art for an entire hour. It has regulars, such as John Kennedy of Billings, coming back.

“It's an interesting painting. It's typically not my kind of art. It's a little more abstract realism than I usually go for, but sitting in front of it for a half hour, 45 minutes, you get to see a lot more than I would've ever seen if I was just looking at it. And I came to really appreciate it. It's a beautiful piece of art,” Kennedy said.

Kennedy is a sketch artist, founder of the Billings Urban Sketchers Group. But this week, his art form is writing in detail about sheep.

“So all I wrote was: It must be how we saw it, landscape and livestock flowing with his brushstrokes, like a river alive, the best word for it. Alive. The color of the earth, but more pigment dimensions so that each heavy stroke might be a scar casting its own shadow. Blue sky leaves pools of rain in the hollows. The deepest scars must have been dug with bare hands, the artist's fingers, which seems fitting,” Kennedy said as he read his hour’s worth of art reflections.

For Kennedy, writing is an extension of art, another way to express himself.

“I think that's one of the beauties of this, is that it really forces you to focus on the art,” says Kennedy.

For the museum, it’s a way to bridge gaps and engage the community.

“She's a literary artist, where we typically have visual artists, and so it's been really great having her here to kind of expand on art in all of its forms and to bridge the gap between a lot of what you see here in the museum building, with a lot of the creativity that we can put pen to paper and kind of explore the world of literature and poetry,” says Kimberly Gaitonde, YAM curatorial assistant.

“I think a lot of people kind of roam through art museums at a really quick pace, and you might take a photo or you might grab a postcard at the end, but have you ever really sat in front of a piece of art for an hour and really spent time with it?” says Holub.

Holub says it’s an hour of downtime most people need, and it's a positive push to explore more art.

“It's a new way of enjoying the museum for sure, so even if folks have come to the museum before, or even seen the exhibit before, they haven't enjoyed it like this,” says Holub.

Holub hosts the free write-alongs at the YAM every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.. Holub advises to always double check the art museum's website for the most up-to-date schedule and for more information.