Art Center Happenings

Mary Baumstark
Art Center Director

New artwork at CMMC

The Lewistown Art Center is pleased to partner, once again, with the Central Montana Medical Center to bring you the work of two of Central Montana’s best photographers. Stop by their clinic hallway (and our newest gallery) to view the striking and poignant works of Peter Hingle and Patty Thompson. Juxtaposed against one another, Thompson’s work is colorfully vibrant and Hingle’s appears more dramatic than ever. As Thompson uses color to express the emotive states and energy of her subjects, Hingle limits himself to black and white to experience Montana’s moments more simply.


Summer fun camps

After this week, there are only two more Summer Fun camps left at the Lewistown Art Center. These camps are about exploring the world, ourselves and our community as we combine art-making with inventive projects, exploration and fun. After this week’s successful All About Insects camp, we’ll be picking it right back up in August. Join us for Music Makers Aug. 7–9 and The Play is the Thing theater camp Aug. 14–16. Please register at the gift shop at least a week in advance, or get more info online at


Social night

The popular Chokecherry Festival is coming up Sept. 9, and we’re planning an extra special SNAC event to help you prepare. Each year the Art Center hosts the Chokecherry Festival Culinary Contest, open to anyone who wants to show off their favorite recipes using this tart little fruit. On Aug. 16, we’ll get a jump start on our cooking skills (with a little liquid courage) by brewing up our very own Chokecherry Liqueur, perfect for an after-dinner cordial or fancy fall cocktail.

Participants will learn to infuse liquors, decorate gift jars and everyone returns home with a special batch to share with friends, or to try in some new, inventive recipes. Social Night is held the third Wednesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. All materials and refreshments provided. Space is limited so please register early, either online or by phone at 535-8278.


Hot summer nights

The Lewistown Art Center is excited to participate in Hot Summer Nights on Friday, July 21, from 4-10 p.m. Several downtown businesses will stay open late, and there will be live music on the corner of Second and Main. Stop by the Lewistown Art Center (corner of Fourth and Main) for a Fix Your Own Jewelry workshop. Tools and supplies (and expertise) will be on hand to fix most of your broken baubles. So bring that ziplock bag in the back of your drawer, or that tangled mess of necklaces, and let’s get your jewelry back in circulation.

We’re excited to partner with local, downtown businesses to show you what downtown Lewistown has to offer. Bring your friends, family, broken jewels, and “can-do” attitude for a great evening.


Good art disrupts

Folks, I’ve heard you. Over the last few months, I’ve had several visitors to the Lewistown Art Center offer opinions like, “Well, it isn’t my cup of tea,” or “Isn’t that… interesting…” when what they really mean is: “That art is weird.”

And I get it.

Our last two exhibitions, "Down the Rabbit Hole" with Beth Huhtala and Jocelyn Howard in June, and Jay Crider’s "The Fantastic" feature all sorts of odd subjects and unusual techniques. Both Howard and Huhtala used narrative as a central theme, using nude bodies, puppet limbs, quirky mystical creatures, and vibrant color to ask questions about the stories we tell ourselves, and each other. Crider uses similar techniques, but dives in and out of cartoony figures and dense landscapes that border on surreal.

And while you may not be eager to hang one of these pieces in your living room, they do serve a purpose in Central Montana. One of my favorite things to say is that “good art disrupts.” Disruption can happen in all sorts of ways. Art that strikes you with its beauty and balance, or makes you stop to look, disrupts your vision. Art that challenges you, even negatively, disrupts your thoughts and beliefs. Art that asks questions, or fulfills a need, disrupts. This disruption is a key part of our humanity. Disruption is how we learn, how we challenge ourselves or affirm our previous beliefs. Disruption can leave us feeling fulfilled, or confused, or angry, but it does leave us feeling. And isn’t that what art is about? Feeling?

Next time you come across something weird, I invite you to consider what is weird about it. Does it challenge your conceptions of beauty? Function? Does it challenge you, or affirm you? And as you consider this weirdness, enjoy the engagement. Weird art is here to engage us, to keep us interested, and to keep us thinking. Central Montana deserves engaged, interesting, and thoughtful citizens, doesn’t it?


The Lewistown Art Center promotes art, art education and art appreciation in Central Montana. Regular hours are Tuesday – Friday from 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Admission is always free. Join the “ArtWorks” volunteer group every third Wednesday at 11 a.m. to support the Art Center in accomplishing its mission. New members and volunteers are always welcome; for information call 535-8278.


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