Saturday, May 27, 2023

Sanders County Visual Artists hold monthly meeting

by Douglas Wilks Clark Fork Valley
| February 22, 2017 4:00 AM

On Saturday Feb. 18 the Sanders County Visual Artists held their monthly meeting to discuss the upcoming events, activities, and the renovation of the Paradise Center. In attendance at the meeting was President Karen Thorson, Public Affairs officer Joy Nelson, Rick Harter, Ilene Littlefield, and Shirley Proctor.

The Artists in Paradise event will be held on July 20. 21, and 22 at the Paradise Center. In early March the registration forms and informational letters will be mailed out to artists who are interested in being part of this event. Several discussions took place about how the event will include performing artists each day, some artists may have a booth outside, and how the artists may either be in their own booth or setup in a gallery style layout in the multi-purpose room. The dimensions of the multi-purpose room are 60 feet by 40 feet and it can hold up to 14 booth spaces. Members of the Visual Arts group discussed that nothing has been finalized regarding how the booths would be arranged in the multi-purpose room at this time and it would depend on the responses they receive from those registering and participating in the event. Both Nelson and Thorson indicated that they have a drawing of the layout from the event held last year if anyone has any questions or would like to review how the booths were arranged.

In other business Thorson and board members discussed how they did not get a grant to build a new building to connect the old Paradise Elementary School and the multi-purpose room. Thorson stated, “The reason we were denied the grant is because we are new and have not been here that long. I intend to reapply for the grant once we have had 2 years under our belt and can show that this is a viable and growing non-profit that is getting more solid footing.” Thorson explained how there is the need for more items; tables, chairs, painting easels, and materials to store the artist supplies. She encouraged those in attendance to keep their eyes and ears open for anything that can be purchased or borrowed for the group. “If you wait until later it may not be available and could be gone.”

Thorson discussed the progress of the planned visitor’s center and the recent grant they received. “We received a grant from the Montana Office of Tourism. We are having a 3-dimensional map made which will show western Montana and Glacial Lake Missoula. What is really cool is when the regular lights are turned off and a black light is shined on the map a special paint will glow and show some very interesting details. The map will be 5 feet by 6 feet and the total display will be 6 feet by 7 feet and it will be flat in a display case. It will take a month to have it completed. I am really excited about seeing it.”

The Paradise Preservation Committee is continuing to make improvements to the restrooms in the multi-purpose room in order to make them handicapped accessible and be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The old basketball backboards, nets, and rims have been taken down and are now in storage. New tables and folding chairs have been purchased and used for several events at the Paradise Center.

The artist studio visits and other topics were tabled until future meetings in the months ahead. If are interested in joining the Sanders County Arts Council, Visual Arts group, or volunteering to help at any event, or would like more information you can contact them at the website: by email: You may also contact Joy Nelson at 406-826-8585.

Reporter Douglas Wilks can be reached at or 406-826-3402.

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