with Kristen Juras, Lieutenant Governor of Montana
For Montanans, Western Art Week is more than a boon to tourism; it is an opportunity to see ourselves reflected in the brushstrokes and bronze work of some of the country’s top artists. In their subjects, they portray life as we know it. In their themes, they signify who we are.
“Western art is honest,” says Kristen Juras, Lieutenant Governor of Montana. “It imparts all of the values that make Montana such a great place to live.”
Authentic representation of life in the West is a matter in which Juras is well-versed. She hails from two prominent ranch families, the Gustafsons (on her father’s side) and the Galts
(on her mother’s). Her first memory is falling from her horse at Conrad. Her first four-syllable word was “brucellosis.” At dawn, she and her four brothers divided up chores, and at dusk, the family gathered to read or play music together. Artworks indicative of that upbringing can be found throughout Juras’ home in Great Falls—more than three dozen purchased over the years at Western Art Week.
“I was blessed to grow up in a small rural community, where it’s all about neighbors helping neighbors. As a community, you’re successful when everyone is successful,” says Juras.
Though Great Falls is not rural, its citizens are certainly supportive of one another. Community celebrations like Western Art Week bring out that cooperation and hospitality for which Montana is known.
Collectors from around the world travel to Montana every year to experience the comradery, excitement, and talent present in Great Falls during Western Art Week. To her fellow Montanans, Juras advises not to miss this opportunity.
“This is world class art,” she says. “Come see it, and enjoy fellowship with people who live what that art represents.”