This acorn-shaped bowl, in the Fine Arts Collection of Luther College, is an appropriate symbol of the foundational role played by Frances Senska in the development of modern art at (now) Montana State University and in Montana generally. Her long and eventful life ended on Christmas Day. An extended interview conducted in 2001 is available in the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
Update: A small exhibition of Senska’s work, entitled Humble Grace: A Tribute to Frances Senska, will be held at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, March 19 – June 27, 2010.For more information, see the museum announcement.
Confirmating the fears of many, the woman killed in the Main Street blast has been identified as Tara Bowman, Director of the Montana Trails Gallery. It was a tragedy in any case, but now we know it is also a tragedy for the Bozeman arts community. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle has a fine article here.
A memorial fund has been established to contribute to the Bozeman Help Center and Crisis Center, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and other charities (depending upon the amount of funds received) in Tara’s honor. To donate, write a check (payable to “Tara Reistad Bowman Memorial Endowment Fund” and deliver it to any First Security Bank location.
Well, not in total number of fine artists, but we do lead in fine artists per capita, a statistic that I, personally, much prefer. We beat out California, as well, trailing only three states known for their artist colonies: New Mexico, Vermont, and Hawaii. We also rank high in photographers (slightly below New York), the other category encompassing visual artists, and in writers and announcers. The data is in the just-released “Artists in the Workforce” report from the National Endowment for the Arts (PDF document here).
For those concerned with economics, the New York Times noted the following:
“It’s easy to talk about artists in lofty and spiritual terms,” said Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Without denying the higher purposes of the artistic vocation, it’s also important to remember that artists play an important role in America’s cultural vitality and economic prosperity. Artists have immense financial and social impact as well as cultural impact.”
Following are all the job categories in which Montana appears in the top 10. The numbers represent artists per 10,000 population.