BRLT Artists

Artists Pam Watts, Jennifer Ogden, Diane Olhoef, Emy Royce (BRLT), Karen Savory, and (seated) Jessica Fitzpatrick and Dulcie Belanger meet to prepare for the second annual Art and Conservation Open House at Bitter Root Land Trust on Dec. 8 and 9.

MICHELLE MCCONNAHA michelle.mcconnaha@ravallirepublic.com

“Open Spaces and the Art of Giving,” the second annual Art and Conservation Open House at Bitter Root Land Trust, is Dec. 8 and 9.

Enjoy a celebration of conversation in the spirit of peace, hope and giving, alongside the splendor of art by local artists whose work reflects their inspiration in the outdoors. The art sale will benefit the land trust that conserves water resources, wildlife habitat, and working lands around the Bitterroot Valley.

Featured artists include Jennifer Ogden, Karen Savory, Dulcie Belanger, Jessica Fitzpatrick, Diane Olhoef, Chris Auch, and Pam Watts.

“The fundraising event is a partnership of Bitter Root Land Trust with local talented Bitter Root artists,” said Emy Royce, communications director. “We’ll open the doors to our office to welcome the community, to do some holiday shopping and to have their holiday purchases go to a really great cause.”

The artists are selling their work and donating a portion of the proceeds to the Bitter Root Land Trust.

“You get a beautiful piece of artwork that is inspired by our local landscapes, then that purchase helps protect more of the beautiful space,” Royce said. “We are so lucky. There are items from handmade textiles, scarves, jewelry, paintings, collages, and ceramics – a great mix that provides something for everyone.”

Royce said last year the event had a wonderful community response.

“It was so great that we decided it would be an annual event,” she said. “The artists love it; they get a lot of exposure. It is also a very personal and intimate experience – the land trust board and staff will be here and the artists will be here. So when the community comes in they can talk with the artists about their work and the land trust about conservation.”

Shopping for the perfect gift can leave a positive impact on working farms and ranches, wildlife habitat, and rivers through the Bitter Root Land Trust .

Olhoef said she is bringing her art to the BRLT because they have helped preserve her ranch and others nearby.

“So it is a nice little block in that area that will be kept open for ranching and for wildlife,” she said. “A number of my paintings have been done right there. All most all of them are outside - the geese flying by the creek, the blue heron, and farm animals.”

Mountains, sunsets, and the view from her porch serves as inspiration for the colors in her scarves. She said she is eager to contribute back to land trust.

“The Bitter Root Land Trust is a good thing, and has been great for our family,” Olhoef said. “I think it has been great for the community and the country.”

Savory said the Bitter Root Land Trust does “super important work.”

“I think part of what makes the Bitterroot Valley so nice is the open space that we do have, not only the National Forrest land but also the private ranches,” Savory said. “When I am outside and walking around I get so happy. One of my hiking partners said I’m pathologically happy when I’m outside. I get so much joy being outside and knowing there is so much open space.”

She encourages people to swing by the event.

“You don’t know who you’re going to meet," Savory said. "The land trust is a really diverse group and that is fun.”

Ogden said she appreciates the mission of the land trust.

“This is a beautiful place and they are good people,” Ogden said. “Last year was our first year for this event and it was special and unique. I enjoyed it quite a bit.”

Fitzpatrick, who along with being an artist is director of Bitterroot Arts for Autism, said she is grateful to be included.

“I’m excited to be part of something that is preserving sacred spaces,” she said.

The festive event will have tasty treats, live acoustic holiday music by Bitter Sweet Band, and community visiting 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, at the Bitter Root Land Trust office, 170 So. Second St. in Hamilton. For more information visit bitterrootlandtrust.org, or call 375-0965.

“This event will give you an experience filled with holiday magic and the spirit of giving back,” Royce said. “You can feel good knowing your purchase does some good by supporting local artists, and your local land trust.”

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