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Billings cultural organizations launch North x Northwest to pair with travel writer convention |

Susan Stone, A Congress of Crows


Featured: Susan Stone, A Congress of Crows 2019
Below: Justin W John, Two Can Play At This 2019

Sixty works of art, selected from more than 500 entries, are exhibited through October during the Yellowstone Art Museum’s first North x Northwest art exhibition.

Works of art from 18 states, including painting, sculpture, textiles, mixed media, and photography, were selected by juror Julia Andrews, director of the Coral Springs Museum of Art.

Andrews narrowed her selections to “museum-quality work, demonstrated by a high level of skill in technique, composition and presentation that would pique the interest and curiosity of the viewer,” she described in a press release.

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Two Can Play At This

According to Bryan W. Knicely, executive director of the Yellowstone Art Museum, the inaugural event offers a “sampling of the outstanding cultural programs and events that the BCP organizations have to offer each year,” ranging from art to film and music to theatre.

The largest conference and networking event for travel writers will be held in Billings. Bloggers, journalists, social media content creators, travel brand representatives, and travel industry professionals will descend on the city to explore all that Montana’s trailhead has to offer.

TBEX North America 2019 takes place Sept. 11 – 13 at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center. It’s one of two conferences held yearly by the Travel Blog Exchange across North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific.

To capitalize on all this publicity, members of Billings Cultural Partners have organized a 10-day introduction to the city’s arts, entertainment, and cultural scene. Events centered on film, music, art, history, and the outdoors are all on the docket for Sept. 12 – 22.

Bryan W. Knicely, executive director of Yellowstone Art Museum, in a press release, described TBEX as a catalyst for local cultural organizations to present Billings to conference attendees and rethink how they market arts in the region.

“Billings is the cultural center for the state of Montana, and we are letting everyone know that,” Knicely said.

Participating cultural partners include Alberta Bair Theater, Art House Cinema and Babcock Theatre, Billings ArtWalk, Billings Symphony, MINT Film Festival, Montana Audubon Center, Moss Mansion, Pub Station, SCRaP in Billings, Western Heritage Center, Wise Wonders Children’s Museum, and the Yellowstone Art Museum.

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Desert X 2019

Desert X 2019: Coachella Valley — Palm Springs, California.

Desert X was a truly great experience and I highly recommend to anyone that has the means should attend. One double edged side of this collective installation is that it’s spread across the Coachella Valley. I attended the week(end) that Valentine’s Day fell around. If you didn’t catch the news on weather that weekend, well, it was intense. However, I think most our nation has had a pretty wet winter, so it’s probably been easy to not notice what’s been happening in other parts of the country. I wasn’t able to visit every piece and some altogether were unreachable due to floods and random bighorn sheep disease. But that’s okay, I didn’t expect to see it all.

I do hold some contempt over it feeling somewhat trendy and the stream of hipsters parading to and from each piece. I feel for the local artists that most likely are being passed by and praise their efforts in putting up their own work in the midst of this highly acclaimed showing. I don’t know much about the logistics of this or if its frowned upon or what… But sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do.

As for what I did see, I feel the concepts and ideas were easily articulated and formulated for the masses and the execution was extremely well done. I think that probably comes off pompus or jaded or like I think that they could have done better in some way, but no that’s not my intent. Just to be clear. I think everything came together well and has attracted enough of a crowd for this to keep going into the future. I praise all artists involved and hope to see it grow. Once or twice I will admit maybe I felt some sort of lack luster, but that’s mostly due to my antipaction of everything. So I won’t read anyone for that directly and maintain that fault lies on me.

I’ll reiterate, GO SEE IT IF YOU CAN! Follow me for more photos and videos of this event and more. Thank you!

Selections from Instagram

Western Flag | John Gerrard

Here’s a video clip I put together for those unable to make the journey to the Coachella Valley to experience Desert X in person. Hopefully this gives more dimension and a better feel for this particular piece. Pardon my lack of cinematography and editing skills with fine-tuning this clip, or else it probably wouldn’t ever get posted. The words that overlay in the piece were taken from the Desert X website itself. Link below.