By Jenny Rohrer
Program Director, Alpine Artisans, Inc. 

Tour of the Arts is a Visual Feast

Oct. 8 & 9, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.


Photo provided.

Patti Chamberlin's basketry will be featured at the Seeley Lake Historical Museum and Visitor's Center.

Alpine Artisans' Tour of the Arts once again offers a feast for the eyes – featuring the artwork of more than 25 artists in four studios, three historical museums and two galleries from Condon through Seeley Lake to Ovando. Driving this free, self-guided tour Oct. 8 and 9, takes you through miles of Tamaracks in full color to enjoy the latest work created by our local artists.

There will also be the screening of the documentary "Unbranded" Saturday evening, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Community Hall. This film captivated an audience of almost 100 in Condon last March – a humorous story of four young Texans who hatch an outrageous plot to adopt, train and ride wild mustangs 3,000 miles from the Mexican border to Canada through the wildest terrain of the Continental Divide, including the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Don't miss this free showing!

If you've been on the Tour of the Arts in prior years, you know that there is always new work to enjoy from all of the artists. This year artist Lash Ashmore joined the Tour for the first time and will be at the Seeley Lake Historical Museum showing his home décor artwork made from stone, wood and other natural objects. In addition to his wall hangings and table décor, he has recently been working on some plant stands and mobiles.

Juan de Santa Anna's Seeley Lake photography studio is a late addition to the Tour. Follow his Tour signs from Valley Market to 672 Timberlane Drive.

Photographer Steve Ellis is returning to the Tour at the Upper Swan Valley Historical Museum, on Highway 83 in Condon, having entered the digital age of photography with all its possibilities. Four additional artists will be at the Swan Valley Museum showing their work in the adjacent historical schoolhouse, tavern and homestead cabin. These include Sharon Lamar (watercolors & children's books), Sheri Burden (stained glass windows, kaleidoscopes, nightlights), Georgina Staggs (lamps, stained glass panels and boxes) and Lynne Perry (pastel paintings).

Unlike mass-produced made-in-China stained glass products, Georgina uses only US-made lamp bases, then creates the one-of a kind stained glass lamp shades. She will have five new lamps on display.

Sheri Burden has created stained glass nightlights and windows for more than 30 years and has enjoyed incorporating her client's personal treasurers into her designs.

Lynne Perry brings beautiful pastel paintings of Western Montana to the Tour.

While you're in Condon, don't miss the Flying Popcorn Ranch at mile marker (MM) 56/Old Mill Road featuring jewelry, didgeridoos, garden produce and plant-infused oils.

Coming south, stop at Grace's Gallery, which survived the Mission Mountains Mercantile fire in May, unblemished. It offers a gorgeous, high-end gallery experience featuring Montana western artists.

John Mercer's Swan Valley Images is at MM 40 at the end of Guest Ranch Road, and his photography is displayed in several ranch buildings which offer their own, in-person panoramic views. John's fine art photography includes large panoramic canvas giclees, wilderness and wildlife photography.

The Seeley Lake Historical Museum & Barn becomes a packed gallery featuring not only the work of Lash Ashmore but three other artists.

Patti Chamberlin weaves baskets and pine needle sculptures, and has been busy learning how to carve with wood to incorporate into her pine needle weaving.

Bev Erickson brings her years of experience in oil and watercolor painting to her canvasses of landscape and wildlife.

Jo Ogden is a prolific bead artist, creating custom beaded pictures, wearable beaded art and jewelry using natural stone, glass and metal beads.

The Grizzly Claw Trading Company in Seeley Lake is the second gallery on the tour. It is a unique trading post featuring the work of many local artists plus clothing, handmade furniture, western artifacts, espresso and pastries.

Leaving the alpine environment of the Seeley-Swan, a trip to Swanwoods takes you through ranch land and sagebrush to Swanwoods Studio on Shanley Creek. Jerry and Martha Swanson welcome anyone who enjoys fine woodworking, good salad bowls and will show you their new work created for special celebrations.

An additional four Blackfoot Valley artists are at the Brand Bar Museum in Ovando. Don't miss this location!

Angela Williams creates one-of-a-kind handcrafted jewelry from copper, hardware and leather – good advance shopping for Christmas!

Angela Bennett is a master water colorist and is showing limited edition prints and cards.

Diane Whitehead's oil paintings have been featured in the CM Russell Exhibition and Sale in Great Falls, and she brings her western, wildlife, original oils in a modern style.

Dona Aitken's creations of lamps, vases, boxes and marquetry trays are created from local woods and are both practical and beautiful.

All three historical museums will be open for both days of the tour. Tour maps can be found at the Grizzly Claw Trading Company in Seeley Lake or on-line at

Questions? Contact Jenny at or 754-0034.

Photo provided.

Grace's Gallery welcomes visitors to the Swan Valley. The gallery is on Highway 83 in Condon at mile marker 45.5.


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