Seeley Swan Pathfinder -

Tour of the Arts features over 25 artists this weekend


October 10, 2019

Alpine Artisans’ popular Tour of the Arts returns for its 16th year with one new studio joining the dazzling mix of over 20 artists at work in their studios, galleries and museums scattered throughout the Seeley Swan and Blackfoot Valleys. Held Oct. 12-13 to capture the height of the colorful golden Western Larch, the Tour also offers a free screening of the Oscar-winning documentary Free Solo Saturday, Oct. 12, at 7 p.m. at the Seeley Lake Community Hall. 

This free, self-guided tour leads you either east of Highway 200 to sites in Ovando and Lincoln or north on Highway 83. A natural place to start is at SwanWoods near the Clearwater Junction of Highways 83 and 200. Located on a 1895 homestead, Martha and Jerry Swanson create what some call, “America’s most beautiful wooden bowls.” Together, they demonstrate their innovative methods, a marriage of traditional art of woodworking with modern tools.

East on Highway 200 you’ll find four artists showing their work at the Brand Bar Museum in the heart of old-west Ovando: a jeweler, a woodworker, a watercolorist and fine art painter, Diane Whitehead. Diane paints what she loves best nature, animals and the culture of the American West.

Just before you reach Lincoln, five artists are collaborating at the studio of Annie Allen. Here, a spirit of creating will be featured as rocks and metals are meshed together by Sally Bogaert, whimsical clay creatures appear as Trudy Skari skillfully lends her hands, woolen delights spin artistically by Tammy Jordan, flowing of paint lyrically appears from Lisa Gibson as Annie Allen dyes antique cloth with a dollop of acrylic for finishing appearance. 

Heading north from Clearwater Junction on Highway 83 to Seeley Lake, the tour’s newest studio is Obsession Pottery, owned by seasoned ceramicist Carrie Darrah where you can expect pottery being made, glazed or witness the finishing touches.

Stop downtown Seeley at the Grizzly Claw Trading Company for coffee and even more so for its vast collection of over 80 artists’ works including artisanal furniture, pottery, jewelry, photography and more. Co-owner and jeweler Sue Baker will be demonstrating her bead working. 

Driving north on Highway 83 from Seeley Lake, Swan Valley Images is housed in a historic guest ranch campus where you can take in the collection of large canvas gallery wrapped images in the “School House” gallery, enjoy hundreds of smaller canvas images in three other galleries including the 100 year old “Kittleson Log Homestead”, and see a gallery wrap being made in the studio. 

Nearby, the Upper Swan Valley Historical Museum is the venue for four additional artists plus Pam Yates, who will demonstrate spinning her Swan Valley-raised wool on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Kathy “Littlebird” Kinsfogl is also new to the Museum this year with her jewelry and natural oils. Sheri Burden will have a colorful display of both traditional and abstract stained glass window décor of all sizes and Georgina Staggs will show her stained glass lamps and jewelry boxes. Sharon Lamar will also offer a watercolor painting class and demonstration on Saturday from 2 -4 p.m. at the museum. The $20 fee for the class covers all materials with half of the proceeds donated to the Swan Valley Museum. To register email

Half the fun of the Tour of the Arts is discovering the studios on the Valley’s backroads and the Swan Valley Copper studio does not disappoint. Here, Roger Watson creates handmade copper bowls and platters to supply over 50 stores and museum gift shops nationally. Each item emerging from the kiln is unique and outstanding in its variety of colors and shapes.


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