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Loons and Fish and Art Galore Kate Davis—accompanied by her peregrine falcon and big-horned owl­—made such a hit at AAI’s Open Book Club last October that she’s been invited to be the keynote speaker for the Backstage segment of the 2013 Loon and Fish Festival. She’s promised to bring along four of her feathered friends as well as a presentation of the photographs from her new book Bald Eagle Nest – a Story of Survival in Photographs. AAI’s annual festival, to take place on May 25th and 26th at Seeley Lake Elementary School, will be a celebration of birds and fish, wildflowers and wildlife, spring in all of its manifestations, and art in all of its blossomings. The Loon and Fish organizing committee, headed by Chris Jewett, have devised a new room layout aimed at improving foot traffic as folks alternate between perusing the artist booths, checking out the educational exhibits, watching demos, heading Backstage to attend films and listen to speakers, and circulating once again to take yet another look at the fine art sand crafts on display. Demonstrations in the main room this year will include past favorites, such as the furbearers exhibit and fly casting, as well as new ones such as bike maintenance and ski waxing. This year’s Backstage program is a co-production of Alpine Artisans and the Clearwater Resource Council (CRC) with the intent of emphasizing both quality arts and wildlife programming. In addition to Kate Davis, Backstage will offer a unique program combining a demonstration of Native dance, story, sign and song by Mariah Gladstone, Jack Gladstone‘s daughter and a student at Columbia University. Mariah’s presentation will provide a framework for the new film “Eagle Boy,” featuring the experience of Jerry and Martha Swanson’s daughter Shanley, her fiancé, and his 8-year old son, Sage, as a Native family living in Norway. Backstage speakers and films run all day Saturday and Sunday, and include a presentation on osprey by Donna Love; a loon expert and loon walk; Jay Kolbe on local wildlife; Bruce Rieman on the status of our local lakes and streams; and the films “Rivers and Tides,” “River Webs,” “Grassroots,” and “Greenfire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time.” The entire AAI membership was given a chance to select the signature design for the 2013 Loon & Fish Festival and Bev Erikson’s loon carrying a baby on its back was the popular winner. Her artwork will be displayed on all L&F promo materials as well as on the short-sleeve black and long-sleeve silver t-shirts to be sold at the event. Three baskets stuffed with goodies­—one with a variety of items “Made in Montana,” another promising to spice up a “Picnic at the Lake,” and the third in support of the urge to hang out that “Gone Fishing” sign—will be raffled off to lucky winners. (Chris says she is still collecting donation items for those baskets, so if you have any goodies to contribute, please contact her at 677-7001. She is especially looking for “Made in Montana.” artist contributions.) Meanwhile Georgina Staggs is busy crafting one of her beautiful stained glass creations, destined to be the Grand Prize of the 2013 Loon & Fish Festival.

AAI Officers 2013 President

Ken Dvorak ¡ 677-2783

Vice President

Kris Gullikson ¡ 241-1209


Colleen Harrington ¡ 754-2580


Lynn Ingham ¡ (415) 271-9164

2 Valleys Stage Liaison

Bob Green ¡ 677-3056

CAC Liaison

Kathy Kinzfogl ¡ 754-2461

Member At Large

Jennifer Dyer ¡ 677-2131

Past President

Carla Schade ¡ 677-0642

Program Coordinator and 2 Valleys Stage Director

Scott Milner ¡ 677-0717

Newsletter Editor

Betty Vanderwielen Box 349, SL 59868 ¡ 677-7474 vanderwielen  @

Web Site Coordinator

Susan Novosel ¡ 754-0064


Celebrating Art A couple of glasses of wine, irresistible chocolate delicacies, splendid musical entertainment, a touch of education, a sprinkling of inspiration—that was the recipe that made AAI’s Annual Wine & Chocolate Social a winner this year. Double Arrow Lodge graciously offered their Great Room as a temporary gallery for display of twenty-six art pieces by ten different artists. Seeley Swan Jazz (Scott Milner on guitar, Wren Wilcox on violin and djembe and Andi Bourne on drums) provided background music as attendees perused the works of art. Seeley Swan Mountain Bells, a newly formed bell-ringing group, then mellowed the tone and ushered in a chance for presentations. Alpine Artisans, provides annual Scholarships and Youth Grants to allow exploration of the arts. Three Grant recipients were present at W&C 2013 to express their gratitude and to talk about their experiences. Morgan Barker showed the stained glass wolf she created during a glass crafting course; Andre Sainsbury, who took two different art classes this summer, displayed the goblet he created from found objects; and Zach Blackburn, who attended the University of Montana Summer Band Camp, played the Grizzly Fight song on his clarinet. AAI member, Merrily Dunham, who received an Outreach Grant enabling her to participate in an intensive two-day class with watercolorist Frank Francese, also spoke of the rewards of her venture. The Outreach Grant has a pass-it-on component, and Merrily will be working with the high school art students and facilitating an Emerging Artist display. Wine and Chocolate festivities always include the naming of the Arts Benefactor – someone singled out because their contribution to Alpine Artisans and to advancing Jeff Wisehart’s the arts deserves special acknowledgement. This year’s wood sculpture award went to Susan Novosel, who created and maintains our outstanding website presenting the face of Alpine Artisans Inc. to the cyber world. The applause which accompanied the announcement of her name verified how greatly her efforts are appreciated by her fellow AAI members. The festivities ended with an Artist’s Revue. Twelve artisans discussed their works, striving in a few brief moments to put into words the underlying philosophy, the spirit, the process, the complexities, the joy, the sense of fulfillment of their particular art form. What came through from all of them was a reverence and a passion for the act of creation. Dona Aitken talks about her woodwork

Website Winner Alpine Artisans is justifiably proud of our website, an open invitation to the world to see the magnificent works of our artists and participate in our art-infused activities. It seems eminently fitting then, that this year’s Arts Benefactor is Susan Novosel, the woman who not only maintains our website, but continues to blaze through cyberspace in search of new and ever better ways to promote the AAI organization. Past Executive Director, Nancy Rittel, led our first faltering steps onto the world wide web by setting up a template-based five page site in 2002. She enlisted Susan as assistant, and when Nancy moved in 2006, Susan assumed the entire burden of Website Coordinator. Says Nancy, “Working with Susan Novosel was one of the high points of my time in AAI. She was reliable, responsive, creative, personable, and always thinking of ways the website could be improved.... In addition to her technical abilities, she was always so positive and had a great sense of humor.... I firmly believe that the success of AAI is a reflection of the growth and expansion of the website and of the outstanding efforts of Susan Novosel.” Before long, Susan taught herself the more sophisticated Adobe web programs and replaced that cookie-cutter template with the professionallooking website that bears Alpine Artisans banner today. For over seven years Susan has attended to the minutia that keeps our site fresh and vibrant: adding new information, removing or archiving past events, placing tons of photos (and doing the resolution conversions that guarantee they will display quickly and beautifully). Something needs to be done on an almost daily basis, and Susan does it. In the month of January alone, Susan logged in a total of 21.75 volunteer hours for AAI. In addition, Susan keeps current on the newest innovations—ongoing slideshows; video clips; YouTube and Facebook connections—Susan incorporates them seamlessly into our website. Gently, patiently, but persistently, Susan has ushered our often reluctant members into the computer age, urged us onto social media sites, even assisted members in setting up their own individual websites. It is Susan who has effectively trained each new AAI Executive Director / Program Coordinator as well as Board Members and other volunteers on a variety of computer and software issues. Says Scott Milner, current AAI Program Coordinator: “Since I have come on board with AAI in July 2010, Susan has been my chief technical advisor and an outstanding “go to” individual whom I rely on in different circumstances, and without whom I do not believe the organization could function.” In recognition of her tireless work, Susan Novosel was awarded one of Jerry and Martha Swanson’s signature hardwood bowls, a 16” diameter deep bowl incorporating a wonderful mix of different woods.

Help Wanted 2 Valleys Stage needs volunteers Hospitality: 2VS seeks person to help arrange for the hospitality needs of guest artists in the Seeley Lake area during their residencies du r i ng the 2013-2014 season Contact Scott 667-0717 or email

Facility Crew: Limited time committment

2VS seeks volunteers to assist with concert set up, lighting and staging; can be for single event or for whole season. Contact Scott 667-0717 or email

Business Drive: Limited time committment 2 Valleys Stage seeks one or more volunteers in Seeley Lake and Condon to assist with the annual business drive beginning in July. Contact Scott 667-0717 or email


Food for Thought Connecting the Dot The newsletter just can’t include it all... Explore the AAI website for more information, photos, links, and up-to-the-minute news. One click on the green underlined links takes you there.

. . . . . . . .

Loon & Fish Festival 2013 latest information on

color photos of the Wine & Chocolate Social u p c o min g Op en B ook Cl u b authors, schedule


and review of previous readings

photos and information on the

2 Va l l e y s S ta g e , p e r fo r m a n c es and in fo r m a n c es applying for a Schola rship or You th Gran t particulars on


on the

20 13

To u r o f th e A r ts event plus participating S tu dios , G a l l e ries , and Mus eu ms lots of color photos of the A r t M o b il e M o n ta n a visit dates, times, and places for films presented by C ro w n

o f th e Co n t in e n t Co m m u n i ty Cin e m a


As in years past, delicious potluck food and friendly conversation marked the beginning of AAI’s Annual Meeting, held this year at the Double Arrow’s Blackfoot Conference Center. The meat of the gathering –the business meeting –commenced soon after and members settled in to evaluate the events of the past year and to discuss the direction for the future. Reports on the various AAI events and activities , given in summarized form by the president and other officers, can be accessed through the Members Only section of the website ( – note: the password is included on all of the email Blasts sent to members). Two important items were brought to the attention of the membership: one a proposed clarification of the AAI Mission Statement (MS); the other proposed changes to the Bylaws. Ken Dvorak noted that the wording of our mission statement fails to reflect AAI’s long emphasis on providing support to the artists within our local area. He recommended wording be added to read, “The mission of Alpine Artisans is to promote and preserve the arts in western Montana. We accomplish this goal through supporting local artists, arts education, outreach, and information sharing.” After some discussion, the members present agreed to the change. The proposed Bylaw changes grew out of the need to have more members present at the Board of Directors meetings. It was recommended that the provision stating the Board must consist of 6 Directors (4 officers + 2VS liaison and CAC liaison) be changed to a more flexible “6 to 9 Directors,” Ken Dvorak, new AAI President allowing for up to 5 members at-large. A further stipulation was that the most recent Past President also attend the Board Meetings as a non-voting member, his/her role envisioned as that of mentor and a strong force for continuity. A vote verified member approval of those changes—and they were promptly put into effect as Kris Gullikson, Lynn Ingham, and Jennifer Dyer were elected to the Board. At a later date, the Board Members decided among themselves who would take which positions. Ken Dvorak will take on the role of AAI President; Kris Gullikson, Vice President; Lynn Ingham, Treasurer; Colleen Harrington will continue in her role as Secretary; Kathy “Littlebird” Kinfogl will serve as CAC liaison; Bob Green will continue as 2 Valleys Stage Liaison; Jennifer Dyer will act as Member At-Large; and Carla Schade will attend Board Meetings as Past President. Small group discussions rounded out the Annual Meeting, each of four clusters tackling an issue of concern. One group discussed the variety of programs AAI carries out each year. Their efforts to pin down which programs are most and which least important/successful yielded the realization that all the programs are important to different segments of the membership. There was no conclusion that any of them should be dropped.

A second group struggled with the complex issues of how financial accounts ought to be handled across the various divisions of AAI, given that the September-to-May calendar used by 2 Valleys Stage in rhythm with its concert schedule, conflicts with the traditional fiscal calendar. The conflict surfaces most dramatically in the area of collecting AAI dues which technically cover from January to December , yet a big push for membership renewal comes at Loon & Fish Festival in May, while business members are asked to renew as part of the 2VS business drive in July. The group felt first of all that dues should be clearly distinguished from donations for individual AAI programs. Secondly, the period of membership should run from January to December and be pro-rated accordingly for late-joiners. The group also recommended that accounting be simplified into one AAI account instead of each major program running its accounts separately. The third group was asked to consider the lack of age diversity in Alpine Artisans. High school student Zach Blackburn was a member of this group and helped generate ideas for encouraging younger artisans and arts supporters to join AAI. Among their ideas: develop a youth advisory group in the high school; feature student art work as “Art in the Lobby” at a 2VS concert; invite the culinary arts students to decorate “artsy” cakes/cookies for an event. The fourth group tackled the concern that many people are confused about the relationship between AAI, 2 Valleys Stage, Cultural Arts Corridor, Open Book Club, Crown of the Continent Cinema, etc. . The group concluded that it is important to put the Alpine Artisans brand first, clearly introducing the others as ancillary to AAI. This should be done not only verbally, but also by making sure that the AAI logo always accompanies a program logo and is the larger of the two. The Annual Meeting came to a close, leaving everyone ready and eager for a new year of exciting Alpine Artisans events.

Cultural Abstractions Photographs of the Milky Way, of a Mennonite classroom, of a proud mountain lion and her baby; paintings abstract, realistic and visionary; Hmong snail-design fabric art; vibrantly colored handmade paper and a handmade fold-out book revealing things “Beneath the Surface”; an old tractor created with house paint on a brown paper bag; a bandolier made of toothbrush handles; dolls in traditional Crow regalia; a pottery-thrown platter; a ceramic Buddhist m o n k ; a b e r r y - p i ck in g basket made of tree bark – these were just some of the wonders Art Mobile Montana brought to our area schools for this year’s visit. Over three intensive days, Art Instructor Jennifer Thompson watched

(Abstractions continued on p. 9)

. . . . . JUST ADDED: c ontinually



Events Calendar current Opportunities and Ar t Ca l ls available to our artist members

w ebsite links of interest to our local artists


to our Facebook page (don’t forget to P  Like AAI

YouTu b e

link to our channel (takes you directly to videos of AAI activities, 2VS outreach and concert footage)

. . .

and don’t forget to check out . . . the online

Artists Gallery

the list of 2 V S Supporter - we owe them our gratitude and patronage

forms, reports, and other info for Me m b e rs On ly (T h e n e w u s e r n a m e a n d password are included at the bottom of all email AAI Announcements to current AAI members )


AAI Calendar of Events April 21 -

2 Valleys Stage Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah Seeley Swan High School 3:00pm

November 3 -

Open Book Club - Kate Davis Raptors of the West Grizzly Claw Trading Co. - 7:00pm

November 4 -

2 Valleys Stage The Cascade Quartet Swan Valley School 3:00pm

May 25-26

Loon & Fish Festival Seeley Lake Elementary Sat. 10-5 — Sun. 10-4

June 29 -

Open Book Club John Maclean - The Esperanza Fire Grizzly Claw Trading Co. 7:00pm


month-long AAI Exhibit Big Fork Museum

August 10-11

Art in the Park Lincoln - Hooper Park

August 23 -

Shakespeare in the Park Henry V Double Arrow Lodge grounds 6:00pm free to all

October 12-13


Tour of the Arts

From Bonfire to Bigfork… The Cultural Arts Corridor blazed its way into 2013! Partnering with the Condon PTA, on January 6th the CAC hosted a Twelfth Night Tree Bonfire fundraiser. Everyone was invited to bring their old Christmas tree to the Mercers’ Two Elk Ranch where chili, hot dogs, and a mug of hot chocolate awaited. (Sale of the mugs, hand thrown and generously donated by Bob Korn, netted AAI about $600.) Accompanied by Seeley Swan Jazz, an impromptu chorus filled the air with songs of the season. Children threw snowballs, snowflakes fell softly, folks chatted as they warmed themselves by the fire—a lovely, old-fashioned, winter, get together. Outreach— At their February business meeting, the Cultural Arts Corridor voted to help expand AAI outreach by adding Lincoln’s “Arts in the Park,” an early August event, to the venues where the AAI booth will be set up. As with the other venues—Littlebird’s Summer Market and the fall Tamarack Festival— the booth will display and distribute materials promoting Alpine Artisans at the same time that it provides individual artists with an opportunity to sell their own wares. It could also be used as a focus for promoting special events such as AAI Scholarships or Shakespeare in the Parks and manned by one or two folks associated with those events. Kathy “Littlebird” Kinzfogl will coordinate the booth activities; contact her for more information (754-2461 or birdfrog@ Bigfork Museum— Coming in August is a month-long AAI special exhibit at Bigfork Museum of Art and History. Merrily Dunham reports there will be room for about 60 wall hangings, plus pedestals for 3D pieces. The Museum will also sponsor a reception in conjunction with the opening. Martha Swanson is looking into a similar month-long event at The Artist Shop in Missoula. Tour of the Arts— Preparations are ongoing for the 2013 Tour of the Arts to be held October 12th and 13th. Ten studios and ten guest artists will participate this year. Special thanks to Merrily Dunham who created two prototype brochures for the event; her efforts will allow the brochure costs to come in under budget this year. Open Book Club — Kate Davis not only brought stunning slides to help present her book, Raptors of the West: Captured in Photographs, she also brought a peregrine falcon and a great horned owl! The audience at the Grizzly Claw Trading Co. plied her with questions and got a chance to see the birds up close. Even more exciting, Kate invited everyone to come the following day and watch the falcon fly. The following months saw a concentration of Native American themed books, starting with Douglas MacDonald’s, very informative Montana Before History: 11,000 years of Hunter-Gathers in the Plains and Rockies. William Farr focused more narrowly on the unfortunate experiences of a single Indian with his Blackfoot Redemption: A Blood Indian’s Story of Murder, Confinement, and

Imperfect Justice. Next, Celeste Rivera, Humanities Montana Lecturer, gave a slide presentation on “Partnership in Story Telling: The Literature of Frank B. Linderman (1869-1928).” Linderman’s interviews with important figures such as Plenty Coup, and his translations of Native stories give insights into Native life before and immediately after the Indian relocations onto reservations. On June 29, Open Book Club will host John Maclean who will present his newest book, The Esperanza Fire: Arson, Murder and the Agony of Engine 57 which delves into the story behind the deaths of five fire fighters killed in a deliberately-set fire in southern California in 2006. Crown of the Continent Community Cinema— Jenny Rohrer has been soliciting input on films the community might like to see. The Oscar winning documentary “Searching for Sugar Man” was the first chosen and has already been viewed ...of the Continent by a packed crowd at the Grizzly Claw Trading Community Co. A second showing in the Swan area will be scheduled for sometime in June. “Incredible!” “Unbelievable!” were the phrases repeated over and over at the conclusion of this documentary that contrasts the adoration of South African music fans for Sixto Rodriguez and the humility of the man who didn’t learn of his fame until some three decades later.



A Program of Alpine Artisans, Inc.

Jenny Rohrer is also again in charge of Backstage at Loon & Fish, this time in partnership with Clearwater Resource Council, and they already have some great film offerings lined up for that event.

Reaching Out In fulfillment of the terms of the AAI Outreach Grant that she received last year, Merrily Dunham contacted Seeley Swan High School art teacher Danni Parcell and together they decided to create an Emerging Artist Exhibit showcasing the works of our high school students. One of the immediate problems they faced was the lack of funds to buy enough framing and matting materials for the whole class. Merrily reached out to her fellow AAI members, and John and Harry Mercer and Kris Gullikson graciously donated frames, while Ken Dvorak and Merrily came up with complementary matting. Merrily presented a watercolor demonstration to two art classes, then each of the nineteen students was encouraged to choose his or her own subject matter and medium. Their works ranged from realistic landscapes to abstract and imaginative images done in watercolor, acrylic, and ink pen. The students also wrote a short paragraph or poem to accompany their work. Merrily demonstrated how to cut a mat and complete the framing. She reports that the students seemed to enjoy the project, and were proud of their finished work.

Swan Valley Performing Arts Supporters 2012-2013 Season

Russ & Larrine Abolt June & Gordon Ash William & Katherine Beers Bob & Sue Cushman Anne Dahl Steve & Betsey Ellis Tom & Mary Fitzsimon David & Penny Johnson Claudia and Marty Kux Steven & Sharon Lamar Joan and Tom McGuire Dixie and Neil Meyer Jan Mielke Mary Miester & Doug Anderson Nina & Dennis Monson Christopher Owings David & Sandi Pogge Gene & Carla Schade Patricia Sinz Georgina & Walter Staggs Dan & Susan Stone Alan & Susan Taylor Cilla Moseley & Doug Willett Jill & Rich Wiseman Jody Wolff Dodie Wood & Jon Wittrich

Jim Haueter assisted with hanging the pictures at the Seeley Swan Medical Center where The Emerging Artist Exhibit will first be on display. Following that, the exhibit will return to Seeley Swan High School, the showing there inaugurated with a reception for the students and families.


A Heartfelt Thanks to Our 2VS Donors and Sponsors Jeff and Pat Aresty A. Lance Bohlman Colleen Harrington & John Mercer Morris Nyquist Susan Novosel Chris & Catrina Stout Bruce Wold All Decked Out Advantage Design & Advertising Blackfoot Bakery Blackfoot Telecommunications Blue River Station Clearwater Montana Properties Corey’s Valley Market D&B Auto Parts Deer Creek Excavating Deer Country Quilts Double Arrow Lodge The Filling Station First Valley Bank Forest GAPS Glenda's Hair Designs & Tanning Glen's Automotive Grace's Greenhouse Great Bear Properties Grizzly Claw Trading Co. Heritage Office Stop Hungry Bear Steak House Kahnle Law


Support for Art-Minded Youth For the AAI Scholarship Committee, spring means time to get the word out about scholarship and grant opportunities for our area youth. Alpine Arisans has a deep interest in supporting working and budding artists of all ages, in all art-related disciplines. A large portion of the funding for the scholarship and grant programs has traditionally come from Wine & Chocolate, and the 2013 W&C netted $400 from raffle sales. The AAI Board is discussing ideas for a future fundraiser and, of course, contributions from individuals are always welcome. Ruth Korn Scholarship Program Alpine Artisans is offering up to $500 in individual scholarships to graduating high school and homeschooled students in the Alpine Artisans region who plan to continue their education in the arts (music, drama, fine & graphic arts, dance, etc.). Students must submit a written description of their background in the arts, including people, places and events that have influenced them. Students also should state why they wish to be considered for a Ruth Korn Scholarship and explain their future aspirations in the arts. These essays (typed and 500-750 words) should be accompanied by three letters of recommendation (at least one from a current teacher), a high school transcript, and a portfolio of work. Applicants will interview with the AAI Scholarship Committee. Application Deadline: May 1, 2013 Youth Grant Program These grants provide funding to help K-12 and homeschooled students in the Alpine Artisans region attend summer art workshops and camps or pay for art lessons. For this program, “art” is defined as music, visual arts (drawing, pottery, etc.), drama, or dance. The maximum grant award is $200. Interested students should submit a letter giving name, mailing address, and phone number, telling about themselves, why they want a grant, how much is being requested (up to $200), and how the funds would be applied. Please include information about the desired camp, class, workshop, or lessons (if a brochure or website is available with more information, please provide that). In addition, applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from their teacher or someone else (other than an immediate family member) in support of their artistic passion or talent. Application Deadline: May 1, 2013

Youth Grant winnner Zach Blackburn playing clarinet

Send applications to: AAI Scholarship Committee • P. O. Box 841 • Seeley Lake, MT 59868 For more information about the above programs, contact Miriam Hertz (677-0717) or

Lincoln’s Art in the Park is Back On August 10-11, our neighboring town of Lincoln will be reviving its Art in the Park event. Entry is open to all artists and craftspeople, the only stipulation is that the work be original. The deadline to apply is May 15 and applications can be found at The website also gives more information about the event, or you can call (406) 362-4547. The Lincoln group is particularly looking to Alpine Artisans for support, and they in turn pledge to support us in our various art-related endeavors. So artists, be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to display and sell your art; and AAI supporters, mark your calendars and be sure to to drive over to Lincoln on the 10th or 11th for a fun-filled, art-filled day.

Cultural Abstractions (cont.) of youngsters from pre-school to high school circulate through the portable gallery exhibit that displayed the works of Montana artisans. Responding to each student group according to their interest level, and attentive to which pieces drew their attention, Jennifer not only enlightened the students on various aspects of the artwork, but also guided them toward an appreciation of the variety of cultures which make up Montana. With the high school art students, Jennifer discussed Ledger Art—colored pencil drawings by 19th century Plains Indians using the pages of old accounting ledger books. Such drawings are valued today for their insights into Native American perspectives on history and on changes within their own culture. Jennifer gave each student a sheet of ledger paper and challenged them to create their own personal, graphically symbolic, record. Since she had fewer students and more time at Swan Valley school, Jennifer bravely embarked on two large-scale abstract art projects (one for K-4, another for the older ones). Referring to three of the art pieces in the exhibit, Jennifer discussed ways of seeing and infusing significance into abstract works and possible techniques for conveying meaning. Then she laid down a protective tarp, opened up cans of different colored house paint, and the “artists” got busy. Trista Alexander Working individually, yet with a common purpose, creating abstract art they splattered and dropped and swished and dabbed—and came out with remarkable abstract art pieces of which they are all (justifiably) proud as multi-colored peacocks. They even came up with names for their masterpieces—Jennifer calls them “title poems” because “the titles [are] so much like poems that I HAD to call them that.” Samples from the younger group: Star Desert; Dream Flood; Ocean Rainstorm… from the older ones: Set Fire to Rain; Mayonnaise; Multi-Color Verse; Seasonal Starburst River. Alpine Artisans collaborates in bringing Art Mobile Montana to our area schools each year, helping with financing, providing meals and housing for the Art Instructor during her stay, and supplying volunteers to assist in setting up and taking down the gallery exhibit as it travels to each school. See color photos of the event at

Lake County Builders Lindy’s Prime Steak House Linford Built Construction The Lodges on Seeley Lake Missoula Electric Cooperative Montana Public Radio Moose River Bar & Grill Pop’s Place Professional Bookkeeping Prudential Montana Real Estate Pyramid Mountain Lumber ReMarkable Cleaning Pro Rejuvenate Rocky Mountain Adventure Gear Rovero’s Schwan’s Home Delivery Seeley Chicken Coop and Lounge Seeley Lake Auto Body Seeley Lake Auto Parts Seeley Lake One Stop Seeley Swan Medical Center Seeley Swan Pathfinder Seeley Swan Veterinary Stickney Piano Service Tamaracks Resort Valley Bookkeeping & Tax Service Without their support, our 2 Valleys Stage performances would not be possible.


Winter’s Past... A Happy Holiday A big thank you goes to Lynn Ingham who, in early December, opened her festively decorated home to welcome AAI members and friends for the Annual Holiday Social. A chance to chat with friends, taste great food, and sing holiday carols, led by Scott Milner on his guitar, made the day especially merry.

Winter Art As part of the myriad Winterfest activities celebrating the white world of Seeley Lake, a group of Alpine Artisans donated time to one of the most enjoyable activities of the weekend: judging the annual snow s c u l p t u re co nte s t . T h is year’s event had been reorganized by Emily Rindal (Farmers Insurance) to concentrate the sculptures along Highway 83, making them more visible to visitors and those passing through. The AAI judges (Lynn Ingham, Miriam Hertz, Carla Schade, Jim Hauter, Lee and Judy Boman, Sara Wilcox and Michael Cropper) announced winners in five categories: Adult Amateur (Pop’s Place—“Falcor the Luck Dragon”); Adult Professional (AJ and Donna Love—“Don’t Fence Me In”); Big Kids/ Little Kids (Trailblazers 4H —“Braving the Cold”); Children’s (Isabelle DeLeo— “Par t ying Penguins”), and Best Business (Pop’s Place).


photo courtesy of Emily Rindal

Membership Update The old AAI Membership brochure has a more modern look. Kris Gullikson of Advantage Design Advertising has created a new, more informative brochure for you to hand to your friends when they ask you about that Alpine Artisan group you belong to, the one behind so many of the arts-related things happening in our valleys. The new layout lists reasons artists, arts supporters, and businesses want to join, and invites new members to immerse themselves fully in the AAI experience by signing up to help on one of our working committees. The brochures will be distributed at various places throughout the valleys and will be available at our summer market booths and at all AAI events.

Enthusiastic New Members Perhaps you’ve already had a chance to meet new members Boaz Mendenhall and Sarah Hough. Under the name, Fairytale Creations, they have displayed their works at the Summer Market in Seeley and were among the Swan Valley artists on display at the 2 Valleys Stage Art in the Lobby during the Men of Worth concert. They create jewelry, dream catchers, and other Native-themed pieces, and paint on saw blades as well as on canvas. And in their spare time, they run a farm—complete with turkeys, chickens, pigs, goat, rabbits, and organic veggies. They find their inspiration in their farm and in living a Montana lifestyle. You can see samples of their craft at New members Carol White and Richard Bartels came from northern Arizona where they found a number of unusual outlets for their creative spirits. Says Carol proudly, “Rick has helped with the construction of many large casinos in Las Vegas”. For 39 years, Rick’s job was to critique the design plans—“everything from ground to wallpaper”—to determine what was and was not feasible to build. As director of Quality Control Rick, along with his team, was responsible to see that product installs met with job specifications. Though the couple has found a permanent home in Seeley Lake, Rick still finds himself asked to consult on projects. Carol is a retired school teacher, substituting locally, with an art background and an interior decorating business on the side. She designed, fabricated, and installed flooring, furniture, wall and window coverings. In her own art she works with pencil, oils, pen & ink, and has served as a critic, judging children’s art. She also has an interest in quilting and teaching quilting skills to youngsters and has created needlework designs that won ribbons at the state fair. Her other interests include landscape design and line dancing. She not only taught western dance, but competed, taking 2nd place (her daughter took 1st). Always willing to help, Carol and Rick have more than once pitched in at church, scouting, and community functions, and are now, diving into Alpine Artisans with the same enthusiasm, having already signed up to help with selling Loon & Fish t-shirts.

Backstage by Scott Milner, Director, 2Valleys Stage 2 Valleys Stage Coordinating Council and other volunteers have been busy doing all the things that make a performing arts series happen. Those tasks include fundraising, contracting, arranging performance venues and school outreach schedules, arranging hospitality for the artists, setting up stages and lights, staffing concerts, reporting finances, organizing Art in the Lobby, and more. The results of these efforts are gratifying. The concert performances are of high quality. Those who witness them leave the hall with smiles on their faces, the blood coursing though their veins, and sighs of delight! Then the school outreach activities bring artistic exchanges and active engagement to the students from kindergarten through high school seniors. I am struck by how the high school workshops gain numbers as the day goes on—the kids know something really neat is happening in the music room or wherever the 2VS artists are holding forth, and they show up. There are other efforts underway to involve young people in 2 Valleys Stage: for the first time, a youth AAI member (Zach Blackburn) has attended a meeting of the 2VS Coordinating Council. Pardon me if I brag a little (more): it has been a wonderful season so far and it is not over. We have experienced Shakespeare’s Hamlet, three young virtuoso classical musicians wowing the community (including one of the finest young trumpet players anywhere), vibrant string quartet playing, invigorating world rhythms, and Celtic charm. In April we look forward to stellar modern dance. Each concert has been enhanced by displays of work by local artists, including Ken Dvorak, Merrily Dunham, John Mercer, and a variety of Condon-area artists. For the April 21st performance by Repertory Dance Theatre of Utah, Lincoln area Alpine Artisan, Annie Allen, will bring a sample of work by selected artists from her gallery, Roasted. The recent installation of a YouTube channel on the AAI website makes video clips of the 2 Valleys Stage concerts and school outreach activities easily available to anyone with internet access. The school outreach schedule is posted on the website. Articles in the local newspaper help share the excitement of the 2VS artist residencies.

l Good Michae y b o t o ph

photo by Ross


photo by Iren e You ng

While all this has been going on, the process of choosing and contracting artists for the 2013-14 2VS season has been progressing. Three volunteers and I attended the MPAC Showcase Conference in Great Falls in January. This event gave us the opportunity to preview potential performers, compare notes with one another, learn about program funding and publicity, and share touring bookings with over twenty other presenting organizations located throughout Montana. Next, a public advisory meeting was held March 7 at Seeley Swan High School. Fifteen people came to hear samples of various artists’ music and performances and to discuss which ones we might want to bring to our commuity . As a result the 2013-14 season is almost fully formed at this point. Bottom Line Duo (Borge-inspired cello-bass duo), Patrick Ball (Irish bard and harpist), and Wylie Gustafson (nationally known cowboy yodeler and songwriter) have agreed to appear on our series. In addition, we are working to put together a special spring concert that will probably involve Russian piano music. The decisions have not been easy. Thanks to all of you who participated—and thanks to all the Alpine Artisans volunteers and contributors who together make 2 Valleys Stage an inspiring performing arts and school outreach program.


AAI Artists In the Spotlight John K Mercer of Swan Valley Images and Merrily Dunham of Rockin’ Horse Art Studio, were recently featured at the Great Western Living and Design Exhibition, in Great Falls. This new juried exhibition joined the other shows and events during Western Art Week, March 13-17, at one of Montana’s oldest and most prestigious art events, attracting thousands of western art lovers, collectors, and artists nationally and internationally.

John showcased his new huge signature giclee’ on canvas, a panorama: Winter Sunrise/Moonset. He says, “ I had over 800 people view this image. It was fun watching people walk by and as their eye caught sight of this 7 X 4 foot panorama, it would pull them right into the booth. About this image he says, “Landscapes in the Swan Valley are huge, and it takes huge images in the tradition of Alfred Bierstadt to convey the feeling one gets from being in that landscape…. I am passionate about nature’s grand design. Every aspect of her presence is layered, with relationships extending from the micro to the macro. “ Merrily showcased her unique three-dimensional watercolor of Yellowstone Falls as her signature piece. She also displayed her beautiful wire sculptures, leather carvings and many other watercolors. She received many compliments and much interest in her work.

Annie Allen of Roasted was chosen by the Umpqua Valley Arts

Association (Roseburg, Oregon) to participate in ArtWorks NW 2013, a juried art show and competition. Of the 171 entries submitted, only 35 were selected, Annie’s the only one from out of state! She painted her composition, entitled “Origins,” on yupo (polypropolene) paper, using watercolor and dyes. The opening reception and awards ceremony takes place May 10 and the show runs until July 5.

P.O. Box 841 Seeley Lake, MT 59868

2013 - Spring/Summer  

Alpine Artisan's Newsletter

2013 - Spring/Summer  

Alpine Artisan's Newsletter