401 North 27th Street | Billings, MT 59101 406-256-6804 http://www.artmuseum.org/ The Yellowstone Art Museum in downtown Billings, Montana is the largest contemporary art museum in Montana. History and mission of the museum The Yellowstone Art Center (now the Yellowstone Art Museum, or YAM) opened in October 1964 in the former Yellowstone County Jail. The construction of the county jail in 1884 was the first act of the newly instituted Yellowstone County government. It began as a small red brick structure. The partial basement of the jail functioned as storage, while the upper two floors served as cell blocks. In 1916, the county constructed additions to the west and north. In spite of Montana’s location in the Wild West, only one hanging, in 1918, is known to have taken place at the Yellowstone County Jail. Operating in a region where the established museums emphasized Western genre art and historic artifacts, staff and volunteer leadership early on defined an alternate, wide-ranging mission. The goal was to develop a collection and programs that acknowledged the rich artistic practice occurring in the present. Today the YAM remains the only visual arts institution within an immense geographic area, which it serves with a very active program of changing exhibitions in the main galleries, adjunct programs for adults, curriculum-based art education, and community events and festivals. The YAM’s Annual Art Auction, begun in 1969, is the earliest contemporary art auction in a region that now boasts dozens that emulate the YAM. Summerfair, begun in 1979, was also the region’s first outdoor arts & crafts fair and holds its lead as one of the region’s finest Collections and Exhibitions Pride in the growing permanent collection (now numbering over 7,400 works of historic and contemporary regional art), has grown steadily as the YAM has matured. A concerted effort has been made to collect work from outstanding regional artists ranging from the internationally celebrated Rudy Autio, John Buck, Deborah Butterfield, Isabelle Johnson, Richard Notkin, Jaune Quick-to- See Smith, Ted Waddell, and Patrick Zentz to lesser-known and emerging artists. At the time the Museum began to collect, these artists were not represented as a group in any Montana museum. The popularity and growth of the “Montana Collection” has exceeded expectations. The acquisition of the Virginia Snook Collection, the largest gathering of the work of cowboy writer and illustrator Will James, has given the collection another popular and resonant dimension. The estate of Isabelle Johnson, a pioneering Montana Modernist, is unparalleled. The YAM holds hundreds of works in its Poindexter Collection of New York Abstract Expressionism Visible Vault In 2003, the Montana-based Charles M. Bair Family Trust, recognizing that the YAM’s own permanent collection had grown faster than expectation and that the YAM needed to expand storage, made a grant to the YAM in 2005 to purchase the warehouse at 505 North 26th Street, with the intention that it be converted into high quality, expanded collection storage space. In 2006, the YAM entered into an agreement with the Charles M. Bair Family Trust that would result in a $2.15 million grant upon the YAM’s raising $1 million in new capital and endowment gifts and pledges. The YAM achieved 147% of the goal by the deadline of 31 December 2007, and used the Bair Trust’s challenge grant as the launching point for another major fundraising campaign. In 2007 a two-phased $17 million Expansion Campaign began. One result of this campaign was the YAM's innovative Visible Vault, which opened in August 2010. It is a publicly accessible art storage facility that houses the permanent collection in an open, visible fashion. The facility also includes an artist-in-residence studio. Artists-in- residence have included Tracy Linder, Brian Keith Scott, Brooke Atherton, Carol Spielman, John Pollock and Bently Spang. The Yellowstone Art Museum is one of only a handful of art museums in the country that have placed their entire collection storage areas on public view.
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Yellowstone Art Museum
Yellowstone Art Museum
401 North 27th Street | Billings, MT 59101 406-256-6804 http://www.artmuseum.org/ The Yellowstone Art Museum in downtown Billings, Montana is the largest contemporary art museum in Montana. History and mission of the museum The Yellowstone Art Center (now the Yellowstone Art Museum, or YAM) opened in October 1964 in the former Yellowstone County Jail. The construction of the county jail in 1884 was the first act of the newly instituted Yellowstone County government. It began as a small red brick structure. The partial basement of the jail functioned as storage, while the upper two floors served as cell blocks. In 1916, the county constructed additions to the west and north. In spite of Montana’s location in the Wild West, only one hanging, in 1918, is known to have taken place at the Yellowstone County Jail. Operating in a region where the established museums emphasized Western genre art and historic artifacts, staff and volunteer leadership early on defined an alternate, wide-ranging mission. The goal was to develop a collection and programs that acknowledged the rich artistic practice occurring in the present. Today the YAM remains the only visual arts institution within an immense geographic area, which it serves with a very active program of changing exhibitions in the main galleries, adjunct programs for adults, curriculum-based art education, and community events and festivals. The YAM’s Annual Art Auction, begun in 1969, is the earliest contemporary art auction in a region that now boasts dozens that emulate the YAM. Summerfair, begun in 1979, was also the region’s first outdoor arts & crafts fair and holds its lead as one of the region’s finest Collections and Exhibitions Pride in the growing permanent collection (now numbering over 7,400 works of historic and contemporary regional art), has grown steadily as the YAM has matured. A concerted effort has been made to collect work from outstanding regional artists ranging from the internationally celebrated Rudy Autio, John Buck, Deborah Butterfield, Isabelle Johnson, Richard Notkin, Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, Ted Waddell, and Patrick Zentz to lesser-known and emerging artists. At the time the Museum began to collect, these artists were not represented as a group in any Montana museum. The popularity and growth of the “Montana Collection” has exceeded expectations. The acquisition of the Virginia Snook Collection, the largest gathering of the work of cowboy writer and illustrator Will James, has given the collection another popular and resonant dimension. The estate of Isabelle Johnson, a pioneering Montana Modernist, is unparalleled. The YAM holds hundreds of works in its Poindexter Collection of New York Abstract Expressionism Visible Vault In 2003, the Montana-based Charles M. Bair Family Trust, recognizing that the YAM’s own permanent collection had grown faster than expectation and that the YAM needed to expand storage, made a grant to the YAM in 2005 to purchase the warehouse at 505 North 26th Street, with the intention that it be converted into high quality, expanded collection storage space. In 2006, the YAM entered into an agreement with the Charles M. Bair Family Trust that would result in a $2.15 million grant upon the YAM’s raising $1 million in new capital and endowment gifts and pledges. The YAM achieved 147% of the goal by the deadline of 31 December 2007, and used the Bair Trust’s challenge grant as the launching point for another major fundraising campaign. In 2007 a two-phased $17 million Expansion Campaign began. One result of this campaign was the YAM's innovative Visible Vault, which opened in August 2010. It is a publicly accessible art storage facility that houses the permanent collection in an open, visible fashion. The facility also includes an artist-in-residence studio. Artists-in-residence have included Tracy Linder, Brian Keith Scott, Brooke Atherton, Carol Spielman, John Pollock and Bently Spang. The Yellowstone Art Museum is one of only a handful of art museums in the country that have placed their entire collection storage areas on public view.
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Yellowstone Art Museum