Yesterday my husband and I visited the Holter Museum in Helena, Montana. It was on my list of things to visit before I leave Montana.
It was the first time I had been there, though several of my friends had visited it before and it was a highly recommended stop. We finally made the trip because it had an exhibit of Ansel Adams works and I wanted to see his work once in person. It had two other exhibits Montana’s Living Landscape and Black Pinto Pony, Monte Yellow Bird.
We arrived to discover that there was no admission charged, a suggested freewill box was by the door along with a guest registry. I can tell you that a free admission opens the doors to so many who might not otherwise explore art. I remember years ago as a student in Minnesota, Thursday night at the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts was free. A girl from a small town in Illinois went almost every week because as a student free was good entertainment. As a young woman with no idea about art I got to experience the Dutch Masters; learned what the Impressionist were; see original van gough; saw King Tut and other goodies from his tomb; saw the works considered to be America Sublime, including Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt and Thomas Moran; see Picasso and other work from modern art, some I learned to like some and others I could never figure out.
The gallery was not packed but it had a steady flow of visitors. I overheard one visitor say they had never see it so busy. I enjoyed the landscapes that one has come to associate with Adams, but some of my favorites were of images I had no idea he too. Portraits and cityscapes. I always knew from past study that Adams was a master with lens filters, anticipating the moment when to click the shutter, knowing what to crop, and a master in the darkroom. What I did not know is he had taken photos at the Manzanar Internment Center, when the Japanese Americans were relocated. He published a book of that work. He also took some portraits though as you can imagine it wasn’t his favorite submit. I so enjoyed those, but haven’t be able to find many of those in a Google search to share with you. He also took photos of San Francisco. Something I would never have imagined. I so enjoyed getting to know the photographer for more than his famous black and white photos of Yosemite.
The Montana Living Landscapes was a collection of local photographer’s work. Some of it moved me. Others of inspired me to be more creative and use my camera more. Much of it inspired me, and some of it like all art I looked at and said that is art?
The last salon had the works of Black Pinto Horse, Monte Yellow Bird: Stories, Traditions and Faith. It was interesting in that it used old papers as the basis for his art. It was a traditional Native American work inspired by the paper he found. They were almost full of subtle nuances that you could only find by looking at all the details and trying to tie the artist work with the paper it was done on.
I so enjoyed my visit I recommend to to anyone. It is a small enough museum that you don’t need to plan to spend more than an hour or so. It will be something I will try to take in each time I run to Helena. Like any museum it will expand your horizons.
My visit the Holter Museum reminds me of why I put access to the arts on my list of criteria when thinking about a place to retire. I want to continue to learn about the arts and expand my horizons.