Arts and Entertainment Year in Review

By: 
Charlie Denison
Reporter

Acclaimed singer/songwriter Sean Devine, left, and up-and-coming local singer/songwriter Haeli Allen play a show at the Clint Loomis Gallery in April.
Photo by Jenny Gessaman

The “Church Basement Ladies” cast gets wild and crazy on the set a few days before their performance in February. The Judith Mountain Players put on the show. They will be at it again with a new production in 2018.
Photo by Charlie Denison

Adam McKinney does some dancing on the Judiths during his visit to Central Montana in August.
Photo courtesy of Lewistown Art Center

 Who says there’s nothing going on in Lewistown?

When it comes to arts and entertainment, that’s certainly not the case.

From Wiley Gustafson’s wild and wacky WinterFair performance to local favorites bringing down the house at Wintersongs, 2017 saw many fun musical acts and many impressive works of art from a variety of mediums.

Celebrating their 45th year, the Lewistown Art Center pulled out all the stops, changing their approach by bringing a social night to town the third Wednesday of every month and bringing in a wide range of artists. New Director Mary Baumstark and Activities Director Leah got creative, hosting a dancer (Adam McKinney), comedians (Gingers on Ice) and even a storyteller event, among other activities. The Art Center also hosted another howling Harvest Festival and another successful membership drive.

The Lewistown Public Library also put together some fun art-related events this year. In May, Christine Carbo came to town to share her story at the annual Author’s Dinner at the Elks. Author Tyler Dunning dropped by in June to share how his explorations of National Parks has helped him overcome depression and multi-instrumentalist Lauren Pelon returned to town for another spell-binding performance. The library also hosted a Roman culture night and had another successful summer reading program. 2018 will be another busy year for the LPL, as they currently prepare for their Chili Bowl fundraiser Friday, Jan. 19 at Jack’s Hangar.

The Judith Arts Society and Central Montana Community Concert series’ had excellent shows yet again, the Judith Mountain Players were busy with performances of “Church Basement Ladies” and Bill Kuhlmann’s own “The Great Central Montana Stagecoach Robbery.” Kuhlmann’s play was performed during the Montana Cowboy Poetry and Western Music Rendezvous weekend in August. Mary Kaye and Dave Stamey headlined.

Mary Kaye and Stamey weren’t the only ones who came to town to play some country music this year. Clay Walker headlined the Fergus County Fair, and many raved about the show.

Local musicians also made a lot of noise this year, be it the Bent Willows, Mustache Pete, Kyle Shobe and the Walk ‘Em Boys or the 90s Night Band. Open mic night (every Thursday at the Rising Trout) also remained a staple of the local arts and entertainment scene. The Clint Loomis Gallery also hosted some songwriting events.

But the arts scene goes beyond music. The Lewistown Dance Syndicate also put on a variety of performances, making appearances at the Chokecherry Festival, the Fair, The Lewistown Art Center and the Yogo Inn. The Arts and Entertainment District Assocation also had a big year, bringing a parklet to town and hosting some fundraising drives. They also cleaned up the downtown area by putting some new benches on Main Street and removing some blight.

Last but not least, the Lewistown Writer’s Group also got involved in the scene, helping put together another Verbal/Visual Exhibit, an event that gets painters, poets and songwriters to collaborate on pieces together. A painter will get a poem, a poet will get a painting and the artists then create a work of art inspired by the piece they’re given.

I apologize for anyone or anything that was left out. There was so much going on it’s hard to sum it all up.

Similarly, there is much to look forward to in the New Year. If you’re interested in the arts at all, you won’t be complaining that there is nothing to do.

 

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