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Coming Home: Montana Artist Barbara Gerard-Mitchell

"I needed to be in the state of Montana. I needed to exist where my style makes sense, and everything was waiting for me here." Barbara Gerard-Mitchell (interview by Amy Rae Pearson, Treasure State Lifestyles Magazine, Volume 19, Issue 7)


Sometimes the stars just align. In August of 2022, I was sprawled on a hot sidewalk in downtown Cut Bank, paintbrush in hand prepping a surface for an upcoming mural project. I looked up and a beautiful lady I had never seen was standing next to me. Somehow, I recognized this person as acclaimed artist, Barbara Gerard-Mitchell. After many years away, she was in the process of moving from California back to Cut Bank, and she was looking for a studio space. At that point, I had no suggestions. Fast forward to December when we purchased the Wilkins Building and began the process of creating Marketplace on Main. Barbara soon found a home for her studio in our building and became the curator for The Gallery. This week I’ve had the honor of helping Barbara hang her artist showcase in The Gallery. This beautiful collection will be on display through the end of April, 2024.


Barbara grew up right here in Glacier County, and she is a member of the Blackfeet Tribe. She works primarily with oils, acrylics, and watercolors creating lifelike images of wildlife, horses, rural landscapes, and people. Aficionados of her work often note her remarkable ability to capture light in her paintings. As a true student of her craft, Barbara has worked alongside renowned artists across the country such as Frank Ordaz, Kevin Courter, Ned Mueller, Kathleen Dunphy, Tucker Smith, Stephen Quiller, and Joyce Lee. Her art education is anchored by her studies at the Institute of Native American Arts in Santa Fe, NM where she graduated at the top of her class, receiving an Associate of Fine Arts degree.


Barbara’s career includes a long list of awards, as well as admittance into a range of juried exhibitions. Her most recent accolades include the acceptance of a piece in the prestigious Women Artists of the West Show (www.waow.org), “Dreamweavers” at the Phippen Museum in Prescott, AZ (phippenmuseum.org). Another painting is currently hanging in the Rocky Mountain Regional Juried Exhibition in Red Lodge, MT (carboncountydepotgallery.org). Last Fall, one of her works received 2nd Place honors at the annual Draft Horse Classic Art Show (nevadacountyfair.com)


Long before Barbara came home to Glacier County, she left her mark on Cut Bank and the surrounding area. In Cut Bank, you can find her three large commissioned murals: “The Branding”, “Lewis and Clark at the Two Medicine”, and “The Four Seasons of Cattle”. Each is a massive…10 feet tall and 40 feet long. Her mural “Glacier Park Lodge” can be found in East Glacier Park, MT.


The stars have aligned. Barbara has come home, and we couldn’t be prouder to have her as the resident artist in The Gallery. Stop by and take in her stunning work.



 



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