Special advertising section by Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Associate Editor

BOZEMAN – A new business on Bozeman’s Main Street showcases the work by many top contemporary Western artists. Legacy Gallery opened the doors to its nearly 4,000-square-foot space on Nov. 27, and features representational cowboy, Native American, landscape, wildlife and sporting art, bringing a tradition of more than two decades of art sales from Scottsdale, Ariz. and Jackson, Wyo. to southwest Montana.

Legacy has hosted the single-day Scottsdale Art Auction the first Saturday in April for the last nine years; it grossed more than $27 million in just the past two. With a growing number of Montana clients, recent changes in the art market in Bozeman, and a continuing uptick in home construction and real estate sales, the timing was right to make the plunge into downtown Bozeman.

“We’ve been interested in the Bozeman market for an additional gallery for about eight years,” said Legacy owner Brad Richardson, who opened the Scottsdale gallery with his wife Jinger 26 years ago, and the Jackson space two years later.

Scott Jones, general manager of the galleries, bought his first piece of art – a Richard Van Wagoner watercolor – for $650 when he was 16 years old. He spent all the money he made landscaping that summer on the painting, after buying a rifle and shotgun with his previous summer’s earnings. His folks thought he was crazy.

Jones, 55, moved to Bozeman part-time to open the new gallery, and he still has the painting. “When my parents come to dinner [now], I look up at that painting and say, ‘Hmm, I wonder where that rifle and shotgun are.’”

Between the three galleries, Legacy now represents more than 100 artists, and Jones says there’s a geographical difference in what type of art patrons seek. In Scottsdale, collectors pursue more figurative work, landscapes and cityscapes, whereas in Jackson, wildlife art collectors dominate the scene. The Bozeman market is likely to look a lot like Jackson, Jones said.

“It’s also a comfort – in the Bozeman market – to us having the gallery in Jackson,” Richardson said. “It seems logical that what sells on one side of Yellowstone National Park should sell on the other side.”

Greg Scheibel’s 24×30-inch oil landscape, “Autumn Along the Shields River,” dominates one of the spaces on the new gallery’s east wall. Scheibel is a landscape painter who’s lived in Bozeman since 1973 and is optimistic about the impact Legacy’s opening will have on the local art community.

“I think it’ll be real good for the town [and] make us more of an art destination,” Scheibel said. “I know they’re very highly thought of in the Western art community. It’s a good thing for art in general, and downtown business.”

Richardson, too, welcomes more spaces showcasing art in the area. Even with all the competing galleries in Jackson, Legacy sells plenty of artwork from that location, he said.

Legacy’s Bozeman gallery features the work of more than 25 artists, including members of the Cowboy Artists of America, the Russell Skull Society of Artists, Prix de West artists and Masters of the American West (Autry) artists. Montana painters and sculptors featured include Gary Carter, Tim Shinabarger, Gary Lynn Roberts and Rod Zullo.

Well known by the seasoned art collector, Legacy also prides itself on helping new collectors break into the Western art scene, Jones said.

He expects to host about 10 Montana artists at the grand opening reception and sale, as well as a number of collectors traveling from as far as Whitefish. Contact the gallery at (406) 577-2810 for a copy of the grand opening sale catalogue or visit legacygallery.com for more information.

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Legacy Gallery grand opening and reception
Legacy Gallery at 7 West Main Street in Bozeman will celebrate its opening on Dec. 28 from 3-7 p.m. Owners Brad and Jinger Richardson will be in attendance and the event will feature new artwork from more than 25 artists.

Legacy represents seven artists from the Russell Skull Society of Artists, a new, elite group of contemporary Western artists: Michael Coleman, Charles Fritz, John Gawne, Greg Kelseychad Poppleton, Gary Lynn Roberts and Brett James Smith.