Round Up: A Rescued Mecca for Artists: Aunt Dofe’s Gallery Reopens

Aunt Dofe’s Gallery on Main Street in the quaint Southwest Montana town of Willow Creek is re-opening its doors on August 16 — after being closed for approximately four years — launching with an exhibition of work by Montana artist Sandra Dal Poggetto. Juni Clark, a native Montanan and avid supporter of the visual arts, purchased the gallery from the estate of the late owner, Dave Kirk, with the goal of carrying on his unique vision for encouraging creativity. Kirk’s mission to run the gallery purely for the love of art made Aunt Dofe’s an artistic oasis. Situated 35 miles from Bozeman, it serves both as an experience in art and of small town life in the West. 

In founding the original Aunt Dofe’s, Kirk encouraged artists to stretch the boundaries of their creativity and to show what they perhaps couldn’t in other galleries, with no pressure to make a sale. The mission statement today simply states, “The Reason for Being: The Artist,” which reflects Kirk’s spirit and keeps the emphasis on the aesthetic and quality of the art, rather than the monetary value. “I am grateful and excited to continue Dave’s philosophy for running a gallery,” says Clark. “I believe that our artists here in the region rival the most well-known contemporary artists anywhere, and I want this venue to be used by emerging talented artists to jump-start their careers.”

Built as a mercantile in 1903, the original building underwent a few renovations, and Kirk’s woodworking shop has been transformed into the 1,200-square-foot Earl S. Parks Gallery, allowing space for larger pieces. 

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