It was a gorgeous weekend, no doubt! A nice addition to the already beautiful 2-day excursion, was viewing the amazing artwork on display at this year's Anaconda Wildlife Expo. My outing to the Expo started at Anaconda's AWARE Center where the artwork of 3 renowned artists was front and center.

Vibrant pieces filled the room to include local resident Susan Malee's inspiring watercolor landscape images, Amber Sampson of Bozeman and her astounding oil paintings, and next up, Trevor V. Swanson, a veteran of the Expo since its humble beginnings with his powerful oil and patina paintings. Trevor and I had a chance to catch up as we both recalled our encounter many years ago at the Expo when I was the event's advertising coordinator. Reminiscing and taking in such amazing wildlife art was the icing on the cake.

It's incredible to realize the talent of so many people whether from across the world or right in Montana. Other artists gracing the Expo over the weekend included renowned bronze sculptors Fred Boyer and Brent Given, local sensation Roger Wyatt with his murals and charcoal sketches, extraordinaires James Rosien and Carly Jo Moodry with their passionate photography, Rochi Estes with everything from breath taking acrylic paintings to antler carvings, and the work of countless others who came from as far away as Canada to display their wildlife artwork in the many beautiful businesses in downtown Anaconda.

Kudos to other artists that wowed us with their unbelievable art at the Anaconda Wildlife Expo: Angela Smith, Bea Rosenleaf, Cheryl Eamon, Joanne Magnum Welch, Shawn Bisch, Susie Stroud, Lynn Haste, Marilyn Dwyer Mason, Connie Nathan, Alan Snell, Alan Wikoff, Andrew Straight, Armond Napier, Bailey Burton, Cara Jane Murray, Cynthie Fisher, Dallen Lambson, Darcy Presiloski, Ilene Paulsen, Janet Mizcar-Buti, Jim Dolan, Larry Copenhaver, Lee Steadman, Loren Kovach, Lynn Haste, Marilyn Dwyer Mason, Norma Lee Pfaff, Richard Flager, Stacy Crist Gessler, Steve Kerr, Sue Hummel, Susie Stroud, Teresa Brown and last but not least, Martha U. Cooney who had me star struck, but actually several minutes after our initial encounter at the Expo.

I had asked if it was okay to take a few pictures of the art displayed at the Revolver, where she and two other artists showcased their pieces. Awhile later, I  realized I was talking to THE Martha U. Cooney whose work I had been familiar with from art shows in Historic Uptown Butte. We shared a good laugh about my oversight and bonded by the admiration of art we both possessed.

Needless to say, the encounters with so many artists and personnel (shout out to  Faith Sanders) at the Expo were priceless. The surrounding area is very lucky to have the support of amazing volunteers,  sponsors and organizations. Without them, events such as the Anaconda Wildlife Expo would not be possible.  Local businesses and the community came together to make it happen, which in turn made it possible for me  to rub some elbows and view the most impeccable art this weekend. Thank you for that! See you at the next event!


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