By Sarah Gianelli EBS Associate Editor

BIG SKY – The Arts Council of Big Sky will host its fifth annual art auction fundraiser on Thursday, March 23 from 6 to 9 p.m. After two years at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center and another two at Lone Mountain Ranch, the fundraising event has moved to Moonlight Lodge in order to accommodate more than double the artists and patrons.

An impressive roster of preeminent Western artists—R. Tom Gilleon, Kevin Red Star, Carol Hagan, Gary Lynn Roberts, Michael Ome Untiedt, Carol Spielman, Michael Blessing, Laurie Stevens, Susan Blackwood, Meagan Blessing, Julie Chapman, Todd Connor, Howard Friedland, Harry Koyama, John Potter, Tom English, Shirle Wempner and Greg Woodard—will perform quick-finish demonstrations at the event prior to a live auction of the completed works.

A silent auction featuring an additional 18 local and regional artists will coincide with the live event.

Half of the proceeds from the auctioned works will benefit the Arts Council of Big Sky. As the organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, the art auction largely makes possible the many programs the organization brings to the community.

Although best known for its popular Music in the Mountains summer concert series, the arts council also puts on the annual holiday Madrigal Dinner and “The Nutcracker,” winter concerts at WMPAC, Telluride’s Mountainfilm on Tour festival, and is responsible for a Big Sky public art initiative and ARTventure—an annual program that takes Big Sky School District students on fieldtrips that expose them to regional and national art. Last year, 17 Big Sky students traveled to Bozeman for a day of art immersion. This year the program’s reach has extended to take seven participants on a three-day trip to Seattle on March 29.

This year, the Arts Council is also adding pre-events to the annual auction—including a reception the evening prior hosted by event sponsor, Big Sky Sotheby’s International Realty, that will feature Native American artist Kevin Red Star, and a private luncheon with the artists for VIP ticket-holders the day of the auction.

“We’re so excited to be at Moonlight this year,” said Linda Goldinger, Arts Council secretary and overseer of the art auction committee. “It’s such a beautiful setting and a fun night of food, drink and art. And if you’ve never had a chance to interact on a personal level with artists, this is a great opportunity to do that.”

Visit bigskyarts.org to view the auction catalog or call (406) 995-2742 for more information and reservations.