Big Sky Connection


Budget Watchdog says Results will Impact States

Eric Tegethoff

March 1, 2017

HELENA, Mont. - President Donald Trump's call to increase military spending by $54 billion likely means cuts will be made to some politically-sensitive programs, from education and the environment, to science and fighting poverty. Trump first announced his plans Monday to the National Governors Association and shared more details in a speech to Congress last night.

Lindsay Koshgarian, the research director of the National Priorities Project, says it's unclear where the hike in defense funding would come from. She says this is the time for citizens to speak up, noting that cuts would have a trickle-down effect on states, cities and counties.

"There are a lot of reasons for members of Congress to care about this," she said. "The good news is that Congress actually has quite a large say in what the final budget looks like. So, the right thing to do is to contact your member of Congress and let them know what your concerns are."

President Trump has said the money will come from, in his words, a "revved-up economy." He has also said it's time for America to "start winning wars again." But the budget proposal has a long way to go, and some pushback from Congress is almost certain.

The U.S. spends 21 times more on the military than it does on foreign-aid programs, although in Koshgarian's view, foreign aid for causes like fighting hunger and disease does more to increase stability around the world.

"We actually get a lot in return for that money, in the form of added security for our country," she explained. "And if we don't spend that money, we will need to spend money on the other side fighting wars - and I don't think that's a choice that anyone would want to make."

Koshgarian thinks any new military funding should come first from ending wasteful spending within the Pentagon itself. She adds programs that make people's lives better shouldn't be raided when some believe the Pentagon isn't doing its fair share to combat waste.


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March 1, 2017

This a.m. the Senate voted to confirm Representative Ryan Zinke of Montana to the Department of Interior, 68-31, reports CNN politics. 

March Events and Programs:

Art Auction 49

Saturday, March 4, 2017, 5:00 p.m. at Yellowstone Art Museum

Open seating tickets $95 or $105 at the door, and reserved seating $115. Reserve your tickets by calling 406-256-6804 or visit to purchase tickets online.

The exhibition culminates in our annual Art Auction, which consists of a silent auction, a live auction, and a “Quick Draw.” The Art Auction theme this year is icy with cold cocktails and cool artwork that will send chills down your spine...and all for a great cause!  The evening once again features heavy hors d’oeuvres by Tom Nelson Catering, and dessert buffet. Silent auction bidding and Buy-It-Now is available during the entire exhibition and bidding ends at 7 p.m. during the auction event. Proceeds support exhibitions and education programs.

The 49th Annual Art Auction is generously sponsored by title sponsor Oakland & Company. Additional support is provided by sponsors Intermountain Distributing Company, Eide Bailly LLP, Yellowstone Surgery Center, Wipfli LLP; Kibler & Kirch, Stapleton Gallery, and many others.

Docent 2nd Saturday: Art for Kids

Saturday, March 11, 2017, 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Ages 5-12

$6 members, $7 non-members

“A Spot to Sketch”– Construct and design your own sketchbook and start to fill it with sketches of work found in and around the museum. Registration opens 1 week prior to each class. Contact Berenice Munson at 406-256-6804 x232 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FAM at the YAM

Friday Family Fun Night

Friday, March 17, 2017, 5–7 p.m.

$6 member child, $7 non-member child

Free member adults, $3 non-member adult

No registration required. All ages are welcome.

Join in on this opportunity for the whole family to come and make art together! Session taught by local artists. Come and go between 5 – 7 p.m.

Opening Reception for Exhibitions

Thursday, March 23, 2017, 5:30 -7:30 p.m.

Free for members; regular admission for non-members

Three new exhibitions open this evening!  Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors, Archaea: Rosane Volchan O’Conor, and Art in Action: Marking Time will be on view for the first time.  Meet the artists and put your mark on the wall early in Art in Action: Marking Time.

Doodling with Beads: The Art of Bead Embroidery

Saturday, March 25, 2017, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.

$60 for members; $67 for non-members

This Experience Art Adult Education workshop is led by artist Susan Germer. Susan will teach a variety of sewing techniques using a colorful assortment of beads and fabric, and will help you create your own unique work of art. For more information and to sign-up, call the museum front desk at 406-256-6804 or visit us online at

April Events and Programs:

Dollar Day

Saturday, April 1, 2017, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Yellowstone Art Museum

Admission is free for members or $1 for all others the first Saturday of every month.

Environmental Intimacies in Rosane Volchan O’Conor’s Artwork

Gallery talk by Dr. Leanne Gilbertson of MSU Billings

Thursday, April 6, 2017, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Murdock Gallery

Dr. Leanne Gilbertson, Assistant Professor of Art History and the Northcutt Steele Gallery Director at Montana State University Billings, will discuss Rosane Volchan O’Conor’s immersive installation, Archaea, will be on view in the Bair Family Gallery. The talk will place the artist’s concerns in context with compelling contemporary art movements.

Sam and Judy McDonald Foundation Free Day

Saturday, April 8, 2017, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

Free museum admission for everyone all day. There will also be a free children’s art activity from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.

Know Your Rights: Copyright and Intellectual Property Rights for Artists

Legal information session

Thursday, April 20, 2017, 6:30–7:30 p.m.

Murdock Gallery, Yellowstone Art Museum

An information session designed for all artists, writers, and makers.  Attorneys Bob Griffin, Shalise Zobel, and Isaac Potter from Crowley Fleck PLLP and Billings attorney Jennifer L. Webber of WEBBERpllc will share what you need to know to protect your work.  Sponsored by the Intellectual Property Section of the State Bar of Montana.

After 5–Unplugged

Thursday, April 27, 2017, 5–8 p.m.

New event! “After 5–Unplugged” blends new music, drinks, and art in one of the finest sites in Billings—the YAM! This event will feature live music by Ed Kemmick and The Peach Pickers.


EXHIBITION SEASON SPONSORS: David Orser and Ossie Abrams, and U.S. Bank

 Boundless Visions: Selections from the Permanent Collection

Exhibition is ongoing

The discoveries made by local artists are not always in the history books!  Gain insight into the art of our region by visiting Boundless Visions.  Selections that allude to the land, to the tenacity of those who work here, and to the many and diverse connections that exist are on view every day.

TITLE SPONSORS: David Orser and Ossie Abrams

 Art Auction 49

January 19, 2017–March 4, 2017

Montana, Charles M. Bair Family, and Northwest Projects galleries

The Yellowstone Art Museum’s Art Auction was the region’s first and continues to be the area’s finest and most exciting auction of contemporary regional art. The Annual Art Auction is the YAM’s largest fundraising event, generating proceeds in support of exhibitions and educational programming for the entire year.

Save the date for the Art Auction 49 event on Saturday, March 4, 2017!

 Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors

March 23–July 16, 2017

Montana Gallery

This is the first major solo exhibition of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s work in her native state of Montana in over a generation.  In keeping with the YAM’s Montana Masters series goals, Smith is a mature, late-career artist with extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit.  The evolution of her lifelong investigations is a cornerstone of this exhibition.

Art in Action: Marking Time

March 23–August 6, 2017

NW Projects Gallery

Make your own mark at the YAM as we continue with the second in a series of participatory exhibitions, Art in Action, designed to activate and demonstrate museum visitors’ curiosity and creativity. Visitors will leave their marks on the walls of the YAM’s Northwest Projects Gallery, signifying their presence in the world of imagination. Participants may choose to visit over and over in order to interact with the marks left behind by others.

Archaea: Rosane Volchan O’Conor

March 23–August 6, 2017

Charles M. Bair Family Gallery

Rosane Volchan O’Conor will present a unique installation inspired by the Yellowstone’s history and micro-biome. Using “archaea”—microscopic organisms that survive in extreme environments—as a focal point, the artist’s immersive installation will be suggestive of these forms crawling off the walls, hanging crystalized in space, and mutating into clusters across the floor.  Using a variety of conventional and unconventional materials, O’Conor will transform the YAM’s gallery into a miniature universe.


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