Western Art Week has been a staple in Great Falls, Montana for 50 years. The streak was interrupted by COVID-19 in 2020. John Godwin with the Out West Art Show and Sale said it best “In March 2020, we thought COVID-19 would be done by September. In September, we thought for sure COVID-19 would be done by March 2021”. It’s now February 2021 and Great Falls Montana Tourism has been fielding questions about Western Art Week for potential attendees and media for quite some time. “We have a Western Art Week enthusiast who calls from Florida every week looking for an update on Western Art Week 2021”, Mari Hazzard shares. Hazzard is the content Director for Great Falls Montana Tourism and has led the organization’s coordination of the week’s events with the organizers of Western Art Week shows. “Western Art Week has grown to 16 shows, across Great Falls, showcasing the artwork of over 700 artists, and we are elated to share that with the challenges presented to us this year, the excitement of Western Art Week will be captured in March AND August!”
The festivities that make up Western Art Week in Great Falls are centered around one special date, March 19th – the birthday of famed cowboy artist, Charles M. Russell. “Celebrating Charlie during his birth month while supporting the museum was cornerstone of the event that would go on to grow into Western Art Week” mentions Christina Horton of the C.M. Russell Museum. Western Art Week is an institution, just like Charlie, so as we move forward, March 17-20 will still be Western Art Week 2021. March in Montana will happen at The Elk’s Lodge, the Out West Art Show and Sale will have a very small and safe event at Heritage Inn, the C.M. Russell Museum will have an education symposium and sealed bid sale, and the Western Collectibles and Antiques Show will be held at Montana ExpoPark with COVID-19 safety protocols.
Special Edition: Western Art Week will happen August 18-22, 2021. Chuck Fulcher with Great Western Living and Design Show says, “It’s very important to understand that Western Art Week is not moving, we can’t change Charlie’s birthday, but for some of us, for now, March is still just too much of an unknown and some of our show models are unable to accommodate the unknowns. I however, am very excited about the opportunities that await in August 2021.” The August activities that are currently confirmed will include The Russell: An Exhibition and Sale to Benefit the C.M. Russell Museum; Out West Art Show and Sale; Great Western Living and Design Show; Legends West Art Show; Missouri Falls Fine Arts Show and Sale; Jay Contway and Friends Show; Don Hanson and Jeff Walker Art Show; Wild Bunch Art Show; Studio 706 Show and Native American Artists Show.
In addition to the confirmed activities for Special Edition: Western Art Week 2021; ArtsFest Montana will occur August 13-21, 2021. The Business Improvement District leads this effort for our community and during the weeklong event, attendees have the opportunity to watch artists install murals throughout downtown Great Falls.
“It’ll be a year full of art!” Mari with Tourism exclaims. She continues to confirm activities with other show organizers as they work with their Boards and Vendors to determine what they will do in 2021. Stay up to date at www.WesternArtWeek.com on all the activities for both Western Art Week AND Special Edition: Western Art Week 2021.
Rebecca Engum Rebecca@VisitGreatFalls.org