Photograph by Clyde Butcher “America the Beautiful” on Exhibition now at YAM
Yellowstone Art Museum
Established in 1964, the Yellowstone Art Museum exhibits, interprets, collects, and preserves art, with an emphasis on Montana and surrounding regions, for the enrichment, education, inspiration, and enjoyment of all.
Historical note: The former Yellowstone Art Center opened in a building that once housed the historic Yellowstone County Jail. In the earliest years, there were just three staff and an operating budget of around $70,000.
What do you want others to know about YAM?
- We are the largest contemporary art museum in the region! Many people are surprised to learn that we are a contemporary art museum rather than a western art museum. That is by design – we are not trying to compete with regional western art museums, and we get the opportunity to work with a wide variety of living artists every day. We have a robust schedule of educational programs with professional artists in our region. Because our focus is on contemporary art, we have the opportunity to showcase an incredible breadth of exhibitions.
- We facilitate a week-long summer camp program at Rocky Mountain College that hosts about 100 kids, and we work with Billings School District to provide onsite educational programs in the schools. Throughout the year we probably serve between 8,000-10,000 children. We reach out as far as Greybull WY, and we have weekly programming on the Crow Reservation. It’s very important to us to provide these opportunities to our local youth, because unfortunately Art Education is not implemented in the public school systems until 4th grade.
Tell us about some of your current exhibitions.
- We’re excited to present “North x Northwest,” the YAM’s first annual juried art exhibition. The exhibition was conceived as a way to feature up-and-coming contemporary artists from across the country, and to fund the purchase of one or more exceptional works for the YAM’s permanent collection. Over 540 works were submitted; through the jurying process, 60 pieces were selected representing artists from 18 states. (On display through October 10th).
- “America the Beautiful: Clyde Butcher” features 31 large-format silver gelatin photographs of America’s National Parks, including striking views of Yellowstone, Glacier, and the Florida Everglades. Completed during the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service, this series of images is intended to celebrate and advocate for America’s most majestic places. (On display through October 13th.)
What do you love about Billings?
- Billings has an incredibly robust cultural community. The Billings Cultural Partners (BCP), is a future-focused consortium of cultural organizations in the greater Billings area that aims to strengthen the impact of their 30+ member organizations while highlighting what each does for the community. North x Northwest is an initiative that expands beyond just YAM – events throughout the month of September have been promoted by the Symphony, the Mint Film Festival, the Heritage Museum, and many more. From an economic standpoint, we are telling stories through a unique cultural lens that help attract the attention of a wide variety of people and retain our talented youth here within this area. It is the vision of BCP that Billings, Montana will be the cultural center of the northern high plains region of the United States.
What’s on your calendar that we should be aware of?
- The Masquerade! It is THE premier Halloween event in the region, and it always sells out. If you have not gotten your tickets yet do it now. Call us 406-256-6804 or drop in (401 North 27th Street) for more information.
- We have a few exciting exhibitions coming up as well. Bill Stockton is one, he was a Montana Master Painter and his exhibition will be part of a series on Montana Masters. He was also a rancher, and he painted with materials he has had available to him (like cattle markers). We’re also thrilled to feature NYC artist Jill S. Krutick who is well known for her large-scale abstract paintings.