Emerson Center For the Arts and Culture
The Emerson (111 S. Grand, 406/587-9797, www.theemerson.org) houses artists, craftspeople, performers, and a café. Visitors can browse the studios and galleries, stop for lunch at the Café Internationale, and attend evening performances.
Montana Trails (219 E. Main St., 406/586-2166, www.montanatrails.com) specializes in Western art both traditional (occasional works from artists such as 19th-century Swiss painter Karl Bodmer and Montana cowboy artist Ace Powell pop up here) and contemporary. It’s a pretty approachable place for browsers. A little more serious, with a scholarly bent, is the Thomas Nygard Gallery (135 E. Main St., 406/586-3636), focusing on 19th- and 20th-century American art.
Indian Uprising Gallery (25 S. Tracy Ave., 406/586-5831) shows contemporary Native American art, largely from Plains Indian tribes.
Another good contemporary gallery is Visions West (34 W. Main St., 406/522-9946), which also has a branch down the road in Livingston.
Rather off the beaten track, but worth a visit for the bronzes of Tom Thornton (based on traditional Western stories passed through a dream-world filter), the gestural twisted-wire horse sculptures of Tina DeWeese, and the lovely scenery, is Cottonwood Gallery (14190 Cottonwood Canyon, 406/763-4221, www.deweeseart.com, www.tomthorntonbronze.com). Hours are irregular here, so call first.
© W.C. McRae & Judy Jewell from Moon Montana, 7th Edition