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BPSW looking ahead to busy, productive 2021

Blackfoot Pathways Sculpture in the Wild looks forward to a full event season in 2021, after the cancellation and postponement of last year’s events and artists due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

BSPW will welcome three artists in residence and one composer in residence to Lincoln this year. Three of the creators are based in Montana.

Michael Brolly and Bently Spang had previously been selected for 2020, but their residencies were postponed due to the pandemic.

Spang is a Montana artist and has shown work throughout North America, South American, and Europe. A North Cheyenne artist, writer, and curator, Spang received the Mon-tana Arts Council Artist’s Innovation Award in 2017.

Brolly is a United States-based artist who has exhib-ited his work nationally and internationally. Brolly’s work has appeared in permanent and private collections as well as books and magazines.

The third artist, Beth Korth, was selected as an emerging artist for 2021 and has worked with BPSW in the past, both during Tyler Nansen’s residency and as the education pro-gram manager in 2016.

“We are excited to have her on site and she brings great energy into the park. It’s a wonderful experience for an emerging artist, both to have a major piece in the sculp-ture park and as a learning experience for future proj-ects/commissions. Beth will also spend time in Lincoln School and hopefully she will be working with some of the high school students during the September residency,” wrote O’Dwyer.

Korth is currently the art education coordinator at Tippet Rise Art Center in Fishtail, Mont. and has shown work in the United States and Japan.

In addition to the visual artists, Phil Aaberg has been selected as the 2021/22 Com-poser in Residence at BPSW and is the second such musi-cian to fill this role. O’Dwyer said he and Aaberg have been discussing the opportunity since 2019, the year Aaberg performed at BPSW’s Cafe Music Night and Art Auction.

“After the successful residency of composer Adele O’Dwyer, which was a multi-layered community experience combining composition, poetry, education and a series of concerts, I felt it would be a wonderful opportunity to invite Phil Aaberg to come into the community and create

a new work,” wrote BPSW Artistic Director and Curator Kevin O’Dwyer in an email interview. “I approached the Kendeda Fund concerning funding the original work and Phil’s residency and they graciously responded!”

Much like the artist in resi-dence program, the composer is tasked with creating an art work that responds to the environmental and industrial heritage of the area in some way, wrote O’Dwyer. The composition is then record-ed and filmed. Additionally, like the artists in residence, the composer engages with Lincoln students and the community throughout the residency program.

“Phil will perform his original composition in the sculpture park during the summer of 2022. But he will be active in 2021 researching, writing and performing a community concert as well as working within the Lincoln school children in a workshop format,” wrote O’Dwyer.

Aaberg is a Grammy and Emmy nominee and has re-ceived numerous awards, in-cluding the Governor’s Award for the Arts. Additionally, he has composed over 100 piano pieces and has worked with Peter Gabriel, the Doobie Brothers, Kenny Rogers, and many others. He currently lives in Chester, Mont.

While the 2021 BPSW program schedule is a work in progress, the artist-in-res-idence program is set to kick off Sept. 6 for three weeks, with the official launch date for the sculptures set for Sept. 25. The fundraising dinner and auction is scheduled for Sept. 18, followed by an afternoon concert with Aaberg on Sept. 19 in the Community Hall.

Despite last year’s cancellations, BPSW nevertheless set a record for visitors in 2020. “Sculpture in the Wild welcomed over 50,000 people in 2020!” O’Dwyer wrote.

“We have grown substantially and have become a recog-nized Montana Art Destina-tion. We are moving forward and hopefully by September 2021 everyone will have been COVID vaccinated and we can work freely without endangering our artists and the community members.”


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