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In the first year of Big Sky Journal, the Keeler & Reece column added a dash of sporting humor with comical writing and punny illustration

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Letter from the Editor: Talking Art

Art is a conversation

Photo by Jennifer Olsson

Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy

On the economy of art

Written by Seabring Davis  

Seabring Davis

Other Contributions

Timeless Fusion Mountain Tradition A Modern Vision Summer Camp Perfect Harmony Winter Getaway: Red Lodge, Montana Beyond the Cabin A Fine Balance Good Country Authentically Western A Home for the Ages Where the Living is Easy Music in the Mountains The Flight of the Hummingbird Living the Dream Integrating Nature Mountain Exposure Eclectic Parkitecture Uniting Color Historic Symmetry The Year Of The Horse A Yellowstone Club Retreat Hearth and Soul Building a Timeless Legacy An Uncommon Cabin in the Woods Letter from the Editor: I Know Where the Fish Are Letter from the Editor: Big Sky Country Letter from the Editor: Forging Ahead Dining Out: Barn Dance Letter from the Editor: Like an Open Road Letter from the Editor: The Language of Fishing Letter from the Editor: Cast Again Editor’s Letter: The Passing Season Dining Out: Saffron Table Dining Out: Lone Mountain Ranch Serves Up a Sense of Place Western Design: Uniquely Rustic Western Design: JLF & Associates Letter from the Editor: Season of Possibility Dining Out: A Montana Tradition, Chico Hot Springs Letter from the Editor: Design Trends Dining Out: The Ranch at Rock Creek Redefines Montana Cuisine Dining Out: Seasonal Bliss Western Design: Refined Rustic Letter from the Editor: Winter Wave Letter from the Editor: Blending Seasons Western Design: A New Mountain Lodge Western Design: Historic Haven Western Design: In the Studio with the Viers Western Focus: Classic Connection: Miller Architects Western Design: Reviving the Barn From the Editor: Seasons of Simplicity Dining Out: Innovation Meets Tradition at Bisl Letter from the Editor: What is art? Dining Out: Holland Lake Lodge, Rustic Wonderful Letter from the Editor: The Secret Weapon Letter from the Editor: Fly Fishing for the Greater Good Western Design: Mountain Zen Western Design: Creekside Contemporary Living Big Sky on HGTV The Spirit of the West in Jackson, Wyoming Letter from the Editor: First Snow Dining Out: The Old Hotel Letter from the Editor: Signs of Summer Letter from the Editor: The Angler’s Sojourn Dining Out: Simply Good Food From the Editor: Hit the Road Making a Statement: Miller Architects Letter from the Editor: Winter’s Toll Letter from the Editor: Evolving Home Dining Out: Comfort Food Western Design: Cowboy Modern Western Design: The Idaho Club Letter from the Editor: Talking Art Dining Out: Conserving Montana One Table at a Time Dining Out: Cosmopolitan Cuisine at TEN Dining Out: Ranch to Restaurant Letter from the Editor: Waiting for Summer Letter from the Editor: Arts Economy Letter from the Editor: First Frost Letter from the Editor: Why Art? Letter from the Editor: Up Close and Personal Letter from the Editor: A Tradition of Talent Letter from the Editor: Winter Reflection Dining Out: The Taste of Whitefish Letter from the Editor: How Big is Your Bucket Letter from the Editor: Falling Short Western Design: Rustic Allure Dining Out: Fish Food Western Design: In the Studio with Painter Hugh Wilson Western Design: Home Base From the Editor Dining Out: Tradition, with a Twist Letter from the Editor: Staying Power
Written by Jennifer Olsson  
January 2013


The phrase "starving artist" is so deeply embedded in our vernacular that it’s a challenge to connect to the idea of the arts as an economic engine. Yet, an updated study, “Arts and Economic Prosperity IV,” was released in 2012 reporting that America’s arts industry generated $135.2 billion in economic activity, according to the nonprofit organization Americans For Arts. That includes performances, exhibits, events and sales. Even during a recession, the arts world has held its own.

Granted, the purpose of creating art is not rooted in generating trade and industry, but rather in expression and beauty. Yet the value of public art projects, galleries, artist studios, museums and arts events is inarguable. Arts communities are heralded as tourist attractions; art events are lauded as destination affairs — think art walks in most towns with a Main Street anywhere in the Northern Rockies.

In tribute to the tremendous artists in our region, Big Sky Journal dedicates an entire issue to the arts; we’ve been doing it for 20 years. This year, whether it is the galleries and architectural restoration of Montana’s largest city (“Wandering Billings”), the burgeoning contemporary art scene in Jackson, Wyoming, (“Contemporary Re-calibration”) or world-class opera in Bozeman (“Opera in Montana: An Overture”), the enriching opportunities to bask in regional art works and venues is impressive.

Look to the simplicity of Jerry Iverson’s abstract paintings for inspiration or to the electric colors of Tom Gilleon’s work (“Let Icons Be Icons”), where a combination of the lost West meets the bold palette of the new West. You’ll find inspiration in the studios of a sculptor, a painter and a best-selling author in the “Western Design” column. In “Local Knowledge," see how the outreach of Big Sky came to fruition at the Warren Miller Performing Arts Center.

It’s important to acknowledge that beyond the clear intrinsic value the arts play in our lives, they also have a tangible value that bolsters community and the local economy. I hope this issue conveys the simple fact that the arts make our lives better.