Hockaday celebrates the 20th anniversary of its members’ lounge —
A celebration of local art and diverse artists
For 20 years, the Hockaday Museum of Art has offered its member artists the opportunity to shine with their own exhibition.
The Members’ Lounge began in 2002 as a way to re-engage members with the Hockaday and create an exhibit that celebrated and showcased the arts in the local community. The annual exposition benefits both the Hockaday and local artists, said Hockaday general manager Alyssa Cordova.
“Members of any skill level have the opportunity to exhibit their work in a museum-quality professional exhibition, attend the opening reception, and mingle and meet other member artists,” he said. she declared. “The Hockaday enjoys the opportunity to engage with our members and fulfill our mission to support artists and art in the region and in Glacier National Park.”
Although they are traditionally displayed in the museum’s community gallery, this year Members lounge is exhibited in its main galleries.
“We decided to extend the exhibition to our main galleries for several reasons,” Cordova said. “Firstly, the challenges of Covid over the last two years – we haven’t even had the opportunity to have an opening reception in 2021, and we are very sensitive to the impact of Covid-19 on the careers of artists and exhibition opportunities Finally, it was a way to show our gratitude and appreciation to all of our members who have chosen to support us over the years, including during the pandemic, despite reduced programming and gatherings We are very grateful for their loyalty and support.
WHEN ARTIST Therese Ely voted for the People’s Choice Award at the Hockaday Museum of Art’s 2022 Members Salon exhibit, she chose a piece made by her outdoor companion on a recent outing. Coincidentally, the painting Ely has chosen from his own portfolio for this year’s exhibition titled “Ahead of the Wind” comes from the same artistic excursion – both paintings depict the scenes of the two friends looking in opposite directions.
Cordova said that’s what makes the members’ lounge unique and fun for everyone.
“Every year the staff have so much fun seeing the submissions that come in,” she said. “Because all of the work is new and we don’t select works in advance, we never know which artists will submit, so the surprise when we unbox an artwork feels like Christmas morning!”
Ely, who lives in Creston, has been an artist and art teacher for many years.
Her love for the outdoors and the mountains was cultivated by her parents when she was growing up in San Diego and later living in the Bay Area.
“My mom was a big fan of national parks, so my family drove several,” Ely said. “Especially those in the Rockies and the West.”
As a child, Ely took private art lessons and enrolled in state-sponsored art classes. She also took art classes at the university where she obtained a double major in chemistry and biology.
“I’ve always loved the outdoors, art and painting, but art wasn’t such a great career path back then,” Ely said.
And college art classes didn’t interest him that much.
“I took a sculpture class and I hadn’t done the homework,” she recalls. “On the day it was due, I grabbed an abalone shell from my patio and an egg. In class, I cracked the egg in the shell…and got an ‘A’,” she said with a laugh, “I just didn’t relate to that kind of art.”
Ely worked 10 years in the aerospace industry in Fremont, CA, mostly in the lab in the research and development department.
“I had drifted away from my love of the outdoors,” she says.
After their third child was born, she decided to stay home. She and her husband Gary have enjoyed taking their three children on backpacking and camping vacations, including in Montana.
When their youngest started kindergarten, Ely began teaching toddler art lessons in Fremont, then was invited to teach at a private fine art studio within walking distance of the school for her children, a job she held for 20 years until she and her husband were about to retire and decided, in 2015, to move to Montana.
Since Gary has been the commissioner of the Montana Boy Scouts of America organization, the two have traveled extensively across the state, with Gary finding the best fishing spots while Therese set up her easel and painted outdoors. But his favorite places to paint are Glacier Park and along the Swan River. His home studio views to the north and east are of the Swan Mountains.
“I respond to the outdoors through my art,” she said. “The landscape, the mountains, the geology are all reflected in my painting.”
Although Ely has won several awards and her pieces have been selected for national exhibitions over the years, she says she was surprised when she won the people’s choice award last year at the Hockaday members’ show.
“It was a thrill. It was so exciting,” she said. “There are so many beautiful painters here. The members’ lounge is rewarding for us because not only do we get recognition from our peers, but we appreciate and are proud that our work is presented alongside each other.
“The Members’ Lounge reflects the works of local artists,” Ely added. “Art is a way we are all part of our community.”
“One of the best things about this exhibit for the community is bringing artists together in one exhibit, from newbie artists to established professional artists,” Cordova said. “The Members’ Lounge celebrates the collaborative spirit of our local arts community, which is truly special and unique. You don’t always see that in other artistic communities.
More than 60 artists submitted works in a variety of media, including painting, photography and sculpture for the Hockaday Members Lounge 2022.
The public is invited to view the art and vote for the People’s Choice Awards. Voting closes Thursday, February 3. The winners will be announced the following week. The Hockaday awards $250 to the first winner, $100 to the second and $50 to the third. The exhibition will be on view until April 3.
All artwork is available as part of a combined benefit sale for artists and to support Hockaday’s exhibition and education programs.
the Hockaday Museum of Art is located at 302 Second Ave., E., in Kalispell.
Community Editor Carol Marino can be reached at 406-758-4440 or [email protected]