Unleash your inner artist in Helena, MT
Following are Helena’s most inspiring artistic hubs, where you can see how it’s done by the masters, then get your hands dirty and make your own masterpiece.
Get inspired: Take one look at the gazelle tables or pagoda chairs at the A.L. Swanson Gallery, and you'll realize that you're in a sort of anti-Ikea, where every piece has been individually carved by hand in the old-school Shaker furniture tradition. The furniture (made by master woodworker A.L. Swanson) is the showstopper here, but the gallery is full of sculpture, photography, paintings, and other work by Montana and national artists.
Try it yourself: Once a month, Swanson offers four people the hands-on opportunity to make a table. At his Bob Vila–style workshop, you don't have to know how to use a sander―the workshops are designed for complete beginners. At the end of the weekend, you will be the proud owner―and crafter―of a Shaker-style cherry end table to show off at home. Workshops usually take place last Sat–Sun of each month; $585, including materials and meals; 863 Great Northern Boulevard; alswanson.com
Get inspired: You don’t have to spend a dime to get inspired at the free Holter Museum of Art. You’ll see works by Montana’s first modernist painters and by nationally known photographers who document the West. Exhibits change regularly.
Try it yourself: At the Holter, you can learn how to make paper, work at printmaking, or take a beginning oil-painting class. From $5; 12 E. Lawrence St.; https://www.holtermuseum.org
Try it yourself: Get some mud on your hands in weekend clay workshops. Visit their web site for details. 2915 Country Club Ave.; archiebray.org