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Artists came from across Montana for Big Sky ArtWalk



BIG SKY – Cliff Rossberg woke early on Sunday morning, July 8, drove to Yellowstone, and shot photos of wolves and other wildlife. The Great Falls-based artist was back in Big Sky by 10 a.m., painting wildlife at the ERA Landmark Real Estate office in the Meadow Village Center.

Part of the fourth Big Sky Meadow Village ArtWalk, which took place July 7 – 8, Rossberg’s live painting drew a crowd, said ArtWalk organizer Louise Astbury.

“He even sold a few paintings,” she said. Astbury works at ERA, which sponsors the now biannual event.

This was the first time the event has been two full days, and it drew 25 Montana artists from as far away as Glasgow, Miles City, Billings and Helena. They included painters, sculptors, photographers, jewelers and a children’s book illustrator.

The artists set up their work between nine other businesses in the Meadow Village, and they saw constant, steady visitors, Astbury said.

“The artists did well,” said JoDean Bing, another event organizer. “Everybody I talked to wants to come back.”

Having it over two days made the atmosphere relaxed and also helped with the artists, Astbury said, because “people looked the first day, and a lot of sales happened the second day.”

Sales were in fact up from the winter event, and Astbury thought attendance was, as well.

Local band Bluebird Sky played outside the Clock Tower Building on Saturday, and Morningstar Learning Center had success with its new children’s program “Pint-sized Picassos” that afternoon, as well.

The Meadow Village Center funds the event and allows artists to participate at no charge, but in turn takes a 5 percent commission for promotion of the next ArtWalk.

Neighboring Historic Crail Ranch also had an artists’ market on Sunday, which was unrelated to the ArtWalk, but the two helped promote each other.

The winter 2013 ArtWalk is set for Feb. 17, which is the Sunday of Presidents’ Weekend. And next summer, the event will include a quick draw, in which the artists will create live works outside, and sell them at live auction to benefit the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center, Astbury and Bing said.

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