Flowing with Creativity
You don’t have to look hard to find creative folks in Great Falls. Downtown is bustling with artisanal shops and restaurants. Museums and galleries pepper the city. On the first Friday of every month, the community celebrates local artists. And then, of course, there’s Western Art Week—the Woodstock of Western creativity. On any given day, visitors (and residents, for that matter) can explore Great Falls to uncover artistry hiding in plain sight. From wall-encompassing outdoor murals to painted buffalo and even parking meter art, there’s always something new to find. In recent years, Great Falls’ River’s Edge Trail has become the site of many unique artworks. Original metal sculptures, designed by local artist Alex Smithson, have turned the banks of the Missouri River into something of an outdoor gallery. “It’s kind of different, especially in Montana,” says Smithson of his industrial-style art. “There’s an old history to it. I like giving metal new life through sculpture.”
The sheer size of Smithson’s work makes the crafting and installation of each sculpture difficult, but it’s a challenge that he revels in. Currently, he has nine pieces along the Missouri, including a pelican with wings spread wide, a shovel head pinecone, two incredible monoliths, and several spherical sculptures. The public can view these and other artists’ works year-round.