July 28 event to benefit local organizations

By Tyler Allen EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – Every summer since its inception in 2011, the producers of Big Sky Pro Bull Riders have expanded the affair to offer new elements to one of the summer’s signature events. Last year, Robert Earl Keen, the Jamie McLean Band and Two Bit Franks closed out the three-day party with a rousing night of music in the Town Center PBR arena.

In addition to two nights of free music and bull riding moving to Friday and Saturday in July, this year organizers are taking a different approach. Kicking off the festivities will be an art auction on Thursday, July 28, prior to the popular Music in the Mountains series in Big Sky Town Center.

The Big Sky Art Auction will be held in the large white tent outside the PBR arena from 5-7 p.m. and will be free to the public. The event will include hosted beer, wine and appetizers, as well as a cash cocktail bar.

Creighton Block Gallery will host the auction in partnership with Big Sky PBR producer Outlaw Partners – also the publisher of EBS – and a portion of the auction proceeds will be donated to local community organizations.

“The buyers’ premiums from this auction are being donated entirely to Moonlight and Spanish Peaks community foundations,” said Creighton Block owner Colin Mathews. “They’re enthusiastic about this event so their members can buy art for their homes but also serve the community. It makes it unique as a big time Western art auction.”

However, this fundraising effort isn’t the only unique aspect of the Big Sky Art Auction. The producers have crafted a survey for community members to provide input about what type of art they’d like to see offered for sale under the tent.

“We are going to be responsive to incoming information from people that respond [to the survey],” Mathews said. “It will be a demand-driven auction which is … unusual.”

Interested community members and art lovers can give their input through the survey, or by visiting any of Creighton Block’s three Big Sky Town Center gallery locations to fill out a card describing what they’d like to see brought to auction.

As a gallery owner and auction producer, Mathews says the goal is always to procure artwork that people want to buy, and he knows of no other event in the country where auction producers solicit feedback from potential buyers.

Visit bigskyartauction.com to take the survey or learn more information about Moonlight and Spanish Peaks community foundations.