This morning the Ophir School District art program received a serious boost: a check for $5,100 from a group of Montana artists.

The funds came from a partnership between the Missoula-based Dana Gallery, two Big Sky residents, Patricia Scott and Debbie Crowther, and a group of well-known Western artists.

The Dana Gallery hosted a three-day plein air paint out in Big Sky this August, and sold works from Tom Gilleon, Robert Moore and Steven Oiestad, among others, at two shows immediately following. Ten percent of the proceeds went to a charity of Scott and Crowther’s choice.

They chose the Ophir School District art department.

“It was important to us that the money spent [during the shows] came back to the community,” Scott said.

“It really generated a lot of enthusiasm. and we’ll probably do it again next year,” she added.

Upon receiving the check, Ophir School Superintendent Jerry House called it, a gift for the kids. “That’s what we’re all about,” he said, complimenting the work art teacher Jolene Swanke does in the classroom.

“This is such a blessing,” Swanke said. “There are things we’ve really been needing but haven’t had the funds.”