Its not just the mojitos that draw me into b. Civilized on a hot end-of-summer night. Other art galleries serve wine and beer, both of which are totally adequate, but those mojitos sure are yummy. Then there are the people. Friends I havent seen in a while, new folks to be introduced toall out for an evening of fine and pop art, jewelry, music, food and mojitos (or whatever one chooses to drink).
Livingston is a small town with a large art community. The 7,000 people who live here host fourteen galleries and three stoplights. And you cant cast a fly around here without hitting an artist, writer or fishing guide, so it makes sense that summer and fall art walks turn into big block parties.
At b. Civilized I pick up a pair of handmade glass earrings, admire the funky paintings and then head out to the street and around the corner. Walking down Main St. we bump into more friends and end up in the crowd outside the Danforth Gallery.
I dont profess to know much about art. I like to peruse the galleries, see whats new and what people are working on, but I cant hold an arty conversation with someone who really knows what they are talking about. Thats one of the beautiful things about art walks held throughout the West, you find an eclectic mix of artists, art devotees, collectors, families out for an evening together, friends on their way to or from dinner, dogs with their people and folks who just want to look around a little. There are no criteria for enjoying an art walk; everyone is welcome to these community events.
We weave our way into the Danforth (run by the non-profit Park Country Friends of the Arts to exhibit contemporary local and regional art) and walk slowly around the room, eyes glued to the photographs and paintings hung on the walls. A friend and I point out which ones we really like and why, and ask each other questions about the art we just dont get. One of the featured artists approaches us and asks if we have any questions. I dont know what to say, but my friend spews out an intelligent-sounding query and we end up learning something we can use in a later discussion.
Many galleries host new exhibits during art walks and often the artist is present to discuss her or his work, lending educational and personal insights to the events. You can finally find out what someone was thinking, what music they were listening to and what inspired them to create their masterpiece.
From the Danforth we head back out onto Main St. and bop in and out of most of Livingstons galleries. Each one is different and interestingfrom Western to contemporary, odd to traditional, oil paintings to glass beads, originals to prints, whimsical to seriousand little Livingston has it all. So do the other art walk events throughout the region.
Grab your mojito and stroll on down to one of these art walks:
First Thursday, Boise
This event focuses on providing downtown visitors the chance to stroll through the unique shops and galleries in downtown, while enjoying in-store entertainment and special events. The DBA provides free trolley service and a special event map for the evening.
First Thursday of every month; 5-9pm
Second Friday Art Walk, Coeur dAlene
Part of a long standing tradition, enjoy an evening of exceptional art, fine dining and friends in beautiful downtown Coeur dAlene. Galleries host opening receptions with the opportunity to meet the artists, listen to live music and view newly arrived works of art, all within an easy strolling distance.
Second Fridays April-December; 5-8pm
22nd Annual ArtWalk, Sandpoint
Each summer, Pend Oreille Arts Council coordinates Artwalk, an exhibition of art by local and regional artists in seventeen locations in downtown Sandpoint. During the opening receptions, locations provide beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and live music in some venues.
ArtWalk II: August 1-September 8, Reception August 1; 5:30-8:30pm
Thirty galleries host free receptions for local and regional artists with complimentary food and beverages. Artists are on hand to meet the public and discuss their new work. Pick up a map at any gallery and take a self-guided tour. Artwalkers who complete questions on the map about the exhibits are eligible for prizes from participating galleries. The free Fun Express Bus is available for those who wish to ride rather than walk.
First Fridays May, August, October, December and February; 5-9 pm
Art Walk, Bozeman
Stroll through galleries, and businesses displaying artwork, located along Main Street and at the Emerson Center for Arts and Culture. The galleries feature artists openings and receptions and often provide hors doeuvres and complimentary refreshments. Keep an eye out for local musicians preforming along Main Street.
Second Fridays June-September; 6-8pm
First Fridays Art Walk, Great Falls
Visit restaurants, art galleries and museums while enjoying the work of local musicians and artists. Take a ride on the Great Falls Historic Trolley or walk to the various art galleries.
First Friday of every month; 6-9pm
Art Walk, Livingston
With well over a dozen galleries and over 200 artists throughout Park County, Livingston is a well-known art Mecca.
Fourth Fridays June-September; 5:30-8:30pm
Deselms Fine Art and Custom Framing hosts ArtWalks or new shows throughout the year. Sometimes it features just one gallery, other times it includes more. You never know what youll find in Cheyenne.
First Saturday of (almost) every month
Over 35 galleries stay open late during the busy summer season, and throughout the year, to allow tourists and locals back from a day hiking, skiing, boating or shopping to peruse regional and national art. Most galleries plan something special for the evening using their own unique approach.
Third Thursday every month; 5-8pm
307.733.0555 or any participating gallery, www.jacksonholegalleries.com
Fall Arts Festival, Jackson
The annual Fall Arts Festival includes world-class installments of visual, contemporary, culinary, Western, landscape, wildlife, and Native American arts. Visitors experience the works of nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, in addition to an exceptional array of music, cowboy poetry and cuisine. More than fifty events such as gallery walks, workshops, artist receptions and more round out the eighteen-day festival.
A few of this year’s most anticipated events include the “Taste of the Tetons” during which participants experience food, wine and dessert in the heart of historic downtown Jackson; the 13th annual QuickDraw Art Sale and Auction where 30 artists are showcased creating original works as spectators watch; and the latest addition to the Festival, the 16th annual Western Design Conference.
Big Sky Journal