Six artists will be presented with the 2018 Governor’s Arts Award in a public ceremony at the Capitol in Helena, 3:00 p.m., Friday, December 7. The Montana Arts Council will host the ceremony and a reception that follows, 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome.
The Governor’s Arts Award honors outstanding citizens and organizations in Montana whose achievements in the arts, or on behalf of the arts, benefit all Montanans. The six honorees for this year’s award were nominated by members of the public and selected by the Governor’s Arts Awards Committee of the Montana Arts Council. They join the ranks of 102 honorees who have received the award since the first awards were given in 1981. Acclaimed Montanans such as Rudy Autio, James Lee Burke, Judith Blegen, Wally McRae, Frances Senska, Michael Smuin and Benjamin Steele, have received the honor, to name just a few.
The honorees are Rick Bass (Troy), Monte Dolack (Missoula), Jackie Parsons (Browning), Kevin Red Star (Roberts), Jaune Quick-To-See Smith (Corrales NM) and Annick Smith (Bonner).
Rick Bass, Writer: Troy (Yaak Valley).
Rick was nominated by writer Thomas McGuane, a long-time friend and admirer of his work, who says, “I consider Rick an important national writer and a Montana treasure.”
With four novellas, two anthologies, 17 non-fiction books and one scored story, Rick is rolific and accomplished in many written forms. He has a rich repertoire of writing that reflects not only his commitment to matters of the human heart, but also his commitment to the environment of the Yaak Valley where he has lived since 1987.
Rick has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation along with several other national awards. He has taught and lectured at The University of Montana and Montana State University. Rick serves on the boards of the Yaak Valley Forest Council and Round River Conservation Studies. Today he gives readings, writes and teaches around the world.
Monte Dolack, Visual Artist: Missoula.
Creating and refining a contemporary western aesthetic that is recognized, admired, and celebrated worldwide, Monte has been running his successful business and studio and residing in Missoula since the 70s. His popularity is evident by the many folks who joined together to nominate Monte, including John Keegan, Geoff Sutton, Tom Anderson, Gary Wolfe and Emily Heid. They say, “Not only is he arguably the most famous artist in Montana, his work reflects the Montana we all know and love. His work represents so much of what we identify as Montana.”
Monte’s works are part of the collection of the Library of Congress, the American Association of Museums, and the National Wildfire Foundation, among many others. He has exhibited extensively internationally as well as nationally and in nearly every museum and art venue in Montana.
He has won numerous awards and honors including a designation by the Missoulian as one of the 100 most influential Montanans of the 20th century.
Jackie Parsons (Eck Skim Aue Kee), Traditional Artist: Browning.
Arlynn (Arni) Fishbaugh, long-time executive director of the Montana Arts Council who retired in 2016 worked side by side with Jackie Parsons for 20+ years – many of those while Jackie served as the chair of the Montana Arts Council. She nominated Jackie for the award in part, she says, because, “Jackie’s dedication to Montana is best represented by the way she has woven her artistry into her daily life and in teaching future generations of artists.”
Jackie’s Blackfeet name, Eck Skim Aue Kee, means “Woman of Iron.” She is a master traditional artist, producing beautiful beadwork, leatherwork and hand-crafted dolls. She promoted arts and crafts in her region for 35 years as the director of the Norther Plains Craft Association. She is, at this time, preparing a book titled “Teaching Art to Young People.’
Jackie’s connection to Montana is most prominently signified nationally by the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian’s choice as the representative voice of the Blackfeet Nation in its exhibitions. She is also the recipient of the First Peoples Fund’s Community Spirit Award.
Kevin Red Star, Visual Artist: Roberts.
Crow artist Kevin Red Star was nominated by Abigail Hornik, Ian Elliot and Terry Jeffers to receive this award. Abigail writes in her nomination “… Kevin Red Star’s deep experience is expressed in the color and composition of image after image. Each one is a complete statement in itself; each remains in the mind’s eye long after viewing it.”
Kevin grew up on the Crow reservation, a member of a highly creative family. He was known as the go-to artist for all school projects. He was chosen to be in the first group of students at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe in the late sixties.
His artistry is revealed in the clarity and complexity of his paintings. He is known for his attention to historical detail in his depictions of warriors, ceremonies, costumes, and tipis. Each element, no matter how small, has specific meaning and significance within the context of tradition.” Kevin’s paintings are the focal point of several important museum collections, including the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, C.M. Russell Museum, and the Whitney Museum of Western Art.
Annick Smith, Writer and Filmmaker: Bonner.
Robert Stubblefield was thankful for the opportunity to nominate Annick for the 2018 award. He tells us, “Her generous and innovative efforts with Hellgate Writers and Yellow Bay Writers Workshop enriched and formed the literary community in our state… Her work with the Sundance Film Institute and Independent Features Project provided opportunities for budding filmmakers and built the foundation for the current range of film and television projects being developed and produced right here in Montana.”
Annick is a noteworthy filmmaker, producing the prize-winning feature “Heartland” and was a co-producer of “A River Runs Through It.” Her documentaries include “The Real People,” for public television, and a portrait of poet Richard Hugo, “Kicking the Loose Gravel Home.”
Her nature essays and travel articles have appeared in such publications as Orion, Outside, Audubon, National Geo Traveler, Travel & Leisure, the New York Times. Her fiction has been published in Story magazine and her story “It’s Come to This,” appeared in Best American Short Stories 1992 and won a National Magazine Award for short fiction. She has also penned novels and memoirs, and co-edited with William Kittredge “The Last Best Place.”
Jaune Quick-To-See Smith, Visual Artist: Corrales NM (born St. Ignatius).
Laura Millin, executive director of the Missoula Art Museum, and artist Anne Appleby teamed up to nominate Jaune for an abundance of reasons. Primarily, they say, because “Jaune has been on the forefront of bringing contemporary Native art into the contemporary art of the world. She is an accomplished artist, lecturer and advocate for artists of color.”
Jaune has had a stellar career as an exhibiting artist throughout the country and the world. She has also worked throughout her career to promote and elevate the work of American Indian artists. She has served as curator of dozens of group exhibitions that have traveled nationally. She has written essays and published catalogs and books promoting Indian artists.
Jaune donated 45 original prints and works on paper to Missoula Art Museum’s collection, making it the largest holding of her art in any museum nationally. An enrolled member of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation, Jaune regularly visits to advocate for and support cultural life on her home reservation.