Last Best Solstice Sneak Preview: MCC Takes Over First Friday

FF at Loft

Today is First Friday and in Missoula that means art. The First Friday Art Walk began 20 years ago and has grown exponentially ever since. A truly organic event, no one person or organization is in charge. For several years the Missoula Cultural Council has collected information each month to give the public a central guide to the numerous art events that occur each First Friday.

Today however, the MCC is going to do more than just tell you what’s happening. We’re getting in on the action with the cooperation of five local businesses and ten local artists. It’s the first time since First Friday was initially conceived 20 years ago, that multiple venues are being organized for a city wide First Friday show.

The artists involved will be showcasing a wide variety of work, unified by their participation in the upcoming summer art festival, The Last Best Solstice {Art on the River}. The festival takes place on June 21 in Caras Park. 16 local artists will convene in the park and along the river to create fresh works of art. A live and silent auction of their work will be held alongside free workshops from the ZACC and the Clay Studio, artist demos and host of other activities. Only in its third year, the festival is Missoula biggest celebration of visual arts.

Today’s First Friday shows will serve as a sneak peek at ten talented artists involved in the festival. Our city-wide First Friday sneak peek will happen today from 5 to 8 pm, with many of the works on display throughout the month of June. Head to the locations below to see what’s in store for you June 21st!

Bella Sauvage (115 W. Front St.)

Jazmine Raymond 2-w800-h800

JaXmin Penelope is a force to be reckoned with. This multi-disciplinary artsist is never content with formal boundaries. Bouncing between mediums, her inspiration drives the physical form her art takes on. Each piece is as unique the process she developed to create it – making every exhibition a rare opportunity and the works within a highly valued commodity.

Bernice’s Bakery (190 S. 3rd St. W.)

GiGi Don Diego

GiGi Don Diego brings us an exhibit titled “You and Me”. Her uninhibited approach to art leads this artist through numerous mediums and subjects with a sometimes whimsical result. However bright or bleak the composition though, Don Diego always suffuses beauty and meaning into her works. Taken as a whole the collection serves as a narrative addressing the human condition, providing the viewer with thought provoking and insightful works that are a must see.

The Loft of Missoula (119 W. Main St.)

This group exhibition features five local artists working in a variety of styles and mediums.

Elaine Fraticelli

Elaine Fraticelli is an emerging artist with a great amount of promise. Viewers have the distinct pleasure of enjoying a range of mediums and subjects as this young artist finds her voice. Somewhere between abstract and surreal, the emotion present in each work is palpable.

Shandielle Harshbarger

Shandielle Harshbarger works in bright, bold colors and intricate designs. Refreshingly vibrant, these works contain a complexity that draws the viewer in. It is easy to get lost in the carefully crafted details as the striking colors leave the viewer with a sense of euphoria. This artist’s talent lies in her unique ability to tame the chaos of life and show us the beauty therein.

Ivette Kjelsrud

Ivette Kjelsrud creates stunning works with rich textures gained from a mix of watercolor and oil. This artist has an unparalleled eye for composition and her impressionistic interpretation of nature results in pieces that would brighten any home.

Glory Lawson

Glory Lawson is a powerful artist creating large scale pieces rich with emotion and subtext. Seen from a distance the viewer experiences a harmonious blend of shape and color. A closer look however, reveals a sharp juxtaposition of textures brought on by a variety of mediums and skilled brushwork. The ineffable emotions of life seem to erupt on the canvas in the form of color and texture, leaving the real world a faded shadow of what truly matters.

Justin Stahl

Justin Stahl is a prolific local artist whose work blends traditional landscapes with poignant social observations. There is feeling of desolation and emptiness at first glance, a feeling that is quickly overtaken by the carefully crafted and gorgeous details of each scene. Even on the battlefield, this artist finds quiet moments of solace and a subtle beauty.

MCAT mini gallery (500 N. Higgins Ave.)

Lady Pajama

Lady Pajama boasts an eclectic style that makes her pieces truly one of a kind. Using a variety of mediums, this artist has developed a complex visual language interwoven with emotion. The tension between the very public nature of art and the deeply personal sentiments hidden within her work creates for the viewer a fascinating process of discovery, speculation, and at times introspection.

Olive + Iron (806 W. Spruce St.)

Jake Zeimet

Jake Zeimet is a local painter with a focus on stunning landscapes. His work is influenced by his experience as a scenic designer. Looking at the carefully crafted scenes and bold use of color, you can see a subtle theatricality emerging from the canvas. His experience with mural art and scenic design has given this artist a unique approach to fine art that shouldn’t be missed.

Don’t miss this rare opportunity to see these and many more artists at work, creating new pieces during the Last Best Solstice {Art on the River} on June 21 in Caras Park. For complete details of the festival and artist bios visit our website.