For more than fifty years, Western Art Week has drawn artists and art enthusiasts to the city of Great Falls each March. COVID-19 changed that. Like everything else in 2020, plans for Western Art Week came to a grinding halt. Rather than cancel two years straight, Western Art Week was postponed in 2021, held in August as “Western Art Week: Special Edition.” From this first-ever summer art week, members of the art community recognized the potential to reach a broader audience through two significantly distinct events—the traditional celebration of Western art in the winter and a festival of Western art in the summer.
“Great Falls has taken a great event and split it into two opportunities,” says Shane Etzwiler, President of the Great Falls Area Chamber of Commerce.
This summer showing, though not referred to as “Western Art Week” in an official capacity, is essentially just that—a series of art shows and art related events at the Montana ExpoPark. Here the Great Western Show, Legends West Art Show, and Best of the West Art Show have joined together to produce the Great Western Art Rendezvous, four days of art and music, with an outdoor sculpture park and other attractions. Meanwhile the Russell Reignited (the 2022 branding of the CM Russell Museum’s exhibition and sale) will take place in the Montana ExpoPark’s Exhibition Hall. Many of the talented artists whose works are included in the prestigious auction will have suites on site Thursday-Sunday to sell their original art.
“From landscapes to wildlife, rodeos to pow- wows, historic events to modern days, you will find art that represents the spectrum of the joys and struggles of the Western lifestyle,” says Kristen Juras, Lieutenant Governor of Montana, who hails from two prominent ranch families (the Gustafsons and the Galts) and currently lives in the Electric City. “Join me in Great Falls for a fun-filled week celebrating the rich heritage of artists from Montana and neighboring states.”
The Great Western Art Rendezvous, The Russell Reignited, and other incredible art events can be enjoyed throughout Great Falls, August 18-21, 2022.