Explore Your Artistic Side This Mud Season!

Visions West Gallery, Livingston, Montana Stephanie Quayle at Visions West Gallery, Livingston, Montana. Photo by Erika Share

We’re soon approaching what Montanans affectionately call “mud season.” The transition from snow-covered mountains to, well, mud. It’s a hard time for those who enjoy playing outside; the rivers will turn dark with the run-off, and hiking or biking on wet trails ruins them, so leaving them alone until they dry up is encouraged. Instead, it’s the time of year to look for indoor activities and opportunities, such as exploring the vast art scene!

Montana’s Yellowstone Country is teeming with talent. You’ll find over sixty art galleries and organizations throughout the region, not including individual artists! Some say the natural beauty of the area is inspiring. We would agree with that; we would also say that living in Montana requires ingenuity and an entrepreneurial spirit, which feeds into being a successful artist.

Summer art walks are a great way to explore local and regional art. Bozeman, Livingston and Red Lodge have significant participation with new artist receptions and exhibits each month. Art festivals are a great way to see a showcase of local and regional art, and often have a wide range of styles and price ranges, making it accessible for you to bring something home! For example, the Livingston Depot Center hosts the Festival of the Arts in Livingston, coinciding with the fourth of July. Art in the Beartooths and Labor Day Art Fair is worth catching in Red Lodge. In Big Sky, the Big Sky Artisan Festival is fantastic. And in Bozeman, Sweet Pea Festival and Summer SLAM Festival are iconic in the community.


Beartooth Gallery, Red Lodge, Montana Beartooth Gallery, Red Lodge, Montana. Photo by Andy Austin.

Aside from the sheer volume of art available to our communities, it’s impressive how many organizations are working to promote the arts making them even more accessible for everyone. For example, the Livingston Center for Art and Culture hosts a Community Art Show representing over thirty artists, plus classes and workshops. The Red Lodge Clay Center is a place for ceramic artists to create new work; the center also offers visiting artist workshops, lectures, demonstrations and a beautiful gallery.

The Bozeman Art Museum focuses on art and art history with classes for K-12 students who do not receive art instruction in their schools. Their long-term goal is to become an accredited art museum. Also in Bozeman, the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture is a community hub for art with exhibits, performances, art education, studios, shops and creative businesses.

The Big Sky Artists’ Collective was started in 2019 by members of an open studio tour. Realizing they could work as a group to promote their art and build a community, the group continued, and now they offer monthly shows, events, and workshops. Arts Council of Big Sky focuses on creating an art-centric community through artistic events, cultural outreach, public art and art initiatives.

And finally, if you’re looking for an artistic opportunity, Aunt Dofe’s Gallery in beautiful Willow Creek offers an artist-in-residence program that includes lodging and studio space in exchange for help in the gallery!

Perhaps there’s an artistic streak within you waiting to be cultivated!

Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery, Red Lodge, Montana Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery, Red Lodge, Montana. Photo by Kaden Harrison.