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Artists donate work to Big Sky Art Auction

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Proceeds to benefit area nonprofits

By Sarah Gianelli EBS Senior Editor

BIG SKY – Three of the 50 artists participating in the Big Sky Art Auction on Thursday, July 26, have announced that they will donate pieces to the event. The auction will take place from 3-6 p.m., under the big tent at the PBR arena, before the first night of bull riding.

Internationally recognized nature photographer Thomas D. Mangelsen will donate a limited edition print; Virginie Baude, an oil painting of a wolf; and Shelly Bermont, a hand-crafted piece of fine jewelry.

Auction proceeds from “Twilight of the Mustangs” will benefit Montana Land Reliance, a nonprofit land trust established to acquire and manage conservation easements in the state of Montana. PHOTO BY THOMAS MANGELSEN

Valued at $3,600, the auction sale price of Thomas D. Mangelsen’s “Twilight of the Mustangs” will benefit Montana Land Reliance, a nonprofit organization that partners with private landowners to permanently protect agricultural lands, fish and wildlife habitat, and open spaces in Montana.

Taken in northwest Wyoming, the photograph captures prairie clouds in the warm hues of sunset, reflected in the watering hole where wild mustangs gather at day’s end. The American Mustang is an icon in the lore of the West; in Spanish, mustang means “wild and stray.”

Mangelsen has spent more than 40 years observing and photographing the world’s great wild places. Now based in Jackson, Wyoming, his work has been published in National Geographic, Le Figaro Magazine, BBC Wildlife, Life, Audubon, Smithsonian, Natural History, Newsweek, Wildlife Art, among many other publications.

“The Call of the Wild” is the first in a series of paintings that will benefit Yellowstone Forever and the park’s Wolf Project. PHOTO BY VIRGINIE BAUDE

The first in a series that will benefit Yellowstone Forever, the official nonprofit partner of Yellowstone National Park, Virginie Baude has donated “The Call of the Wild,” a large scale oil painting of a howling wolf with an estimated asking price of $70,000.

Each year, Baude intends to paint a wolf piece and donate a portion of the proceeds to the Yellowstone Forever-supported Wolf Project.

“Wolves are the reason I was so inspired to move to the American West,” said Baude, a native of France. She attributes part of her success as a wildlife artist to wolves, and this is one way for her to give back.

“I make regular trips every season to Yellowstone National Park to see, watch, and if I am lucky, come home with good wolf photos,” she said. “Yellowstone gives millions of people the opportunity to see a wolf in the wild. … This is why I decided to give back to the Wolf Project, and support their effort with a donation from my work, so wolves can continue to live freely in the park.”

Shelly Bermont has donated this bracelet to be given to the winning bull rider at the Big Sky PBR, in the hopes he will give it to a special lady in his life. PHOTO COURTESY OF SHELLY BERMONT FINE JEWELRY

Fine jeweler Shelly Bermont has decided to make a different kind of donation. In addition to a tribal-style turquoise necklace she has in the auction, she’s giving a black Tahitian pearl-on-leather bracelet—that would sell for $1,200 retail—to the winning PBR bull rider, in the hopes he will give it to a special woman in his life.

Bermont, who has a shop in Big Sky’s Meadow Village Center, said that she thought it’d be nice if the winning bull rider’s significant other also got a prize. “She’s the one backstage freaking out while her boyfriend is out there risking his life in the ring,” Bermont said.

The Big Sky Art Auction will be held from 3-6 p.m. Thursday, July 26 under the big tent at the PBR arena. Those interested in attending the Big Sky Art Auction are asked to RSVP online at, where a catalog of participating artists can also be found.

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