Big Sky Connection
March 7, 2017
HELENA, Mont. - So far, 28 states have passed resolutions calling for a constitutional convention to add an amendment requiring the federal government to balance its budget. However, Montana state lawmakers yet again stopped an effort to join these states last week.
The movement isn't over. Only six more states are needed to hold a convention under Article Five of the U.S. Constitution.
Arn Pearson, general counsel for the watchdog group Center for Media and Democracy says the nationwide movement is being pushed in part by the American Legislative Exchange Council. "ALEC" is made up of conservative lawmakers and corporations, and distributes model legislation on a variety of topics, including the calls for a balanced-budget amendment.
"They see a chance to get a rewrite on the Constitution that limits federal power and prevents the federal government from regulating their industries," he said. "And, it's really a chance for 'the 1 percent' to lock in their political power for generations to come."
Eight other states, including Idaho and Wyoming, also have considered and rejected similar resolutions this session. Other states have rescinded their requests, or have introduced bills to do so.
Pearson says a convention wouldn't necessarily be popular and, because it isn't clear how delegates would be chosen, it might well be dominated by political interests.
"It's most likely that the delegates would either be the current elected political leaders or be chosen by the governor or Legislature," he explained. "It's not something that the people get to choose."
Anything passed at an Article Five convention still would have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states, but the delegates could vote to lower that threshold. There has never been another constitutional convention since the original in 1789.
March 6, 2017
BILLINGS, MT – The WJH Bird Resources aviary and Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society will host Duck Day on March 25, 2017 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at 2753 South 56th Street West between Billings and Laurel. The aviary is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of waterfowl and has wetland ponds and pens that provide homes for North American and exotic species of ducks, geese and swans.
WJH Bird Resources is a privately owned nonprofit aviary designed by the late Warren J. Hancock, a Billings oil and business man and conservationist. The Duck Day event is an open house featuring both WJH Bird Resources and the Yellowstone Valley Audubon Society with tours of the aviary, formal and informal talks on conservation topics, games, and hands on activities. Group activities, tours, and talks will start at 8:30 a.m.
Meet at Rocky Mountain College (parking lot off of Rimrock Road north of Taylor Hall) at 8:00 a.m. for guidance to WJH or arrive at WJH at 8:30 a.m. Please DO NOT arrive at the facility before 8:30 a.m. Late arrivals welcome.
Whatever the weather dress in mud proof clothing. Families, the curious, and human birders of all ages are welcome. Please leave your pets at home.
March 6, 2017
Billings, Montana – A major exhibition of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith’s diverse art will open with an evening reception at the Yellowstone Art Museum on Thursday, March 23, 2017. The exhibition will be on view in Billings through July 16, 2017, and will travel subsequently to Missoula, Montana, and Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith is one of the U.S.’s finest Indigenous talents. This timely and exciting exhibition will be the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in her native state of Montana in a generation. Smith is a mature, late-career artist with extraordinary aesthetic, intellectual, and curatorial achievements to her credit. She mines her cross-cultural experience and Salish-Kootenai identity, and spans cultures with powerful, idiosyncratic results of high aesthetic caliber. Few Native artists have worked with such grace, inventiveness, and aesthetic success between cultures and art worlds. Smith has an international reputation with a strong, clear body of work; she has earned her leading standing among women artists and Native American artists while simultaneously aligning both of these often still marginalized groups more closely with the mainstream art world.
The YAM’s exhibition will examine themes that perennially recur in her work, including conflict, compassion, peace, the cycle of life, irony, and identity. Smith has always operated on a cusp—culturally, temporally, aesthetically, and from a gender perspective—which gives her work an attention-getting vitality, originality, and relevance. Her role in the shift toward deepening respect for Native American contemporary art in its own right has been significant. She describes herself as a “cultural arts worker.” Smith also has credits as a curator, writer, speaker, and leader in the arts.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith has over a hundred solo exhibitions in 28 states to her credit, from California to Florida and from the northern Plains states to Texas. She has also exhibited internationally and in dozens more group exhibitions worldwide. In addition to holdings in museums in Montana (the Yellowstone Art Museum and Missoula Art Museum in particular), her work is held in the permanent collections of such notable institutions as the Albuquerque Museum of Art, Baltimore Museum of Art, Detroit Institute, Denver Art Museum, Indianapolis Art Museum, Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of the American Indian, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Walker Art Center.
Smith has four honorary Ph.D.s and sixteen major awards, including National Academician, New Mexico Governor’s Award, a lifetime achievement award from the Woodson Foundation, a Wallace Stegner Award, and a Joan Mitchell Foundation award.
Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: In the Footsteps of My Ancestors is part of the Yellowstone Art Museum’s multi-year Montana Masters exhibition series. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with contributions by notable essayists Lowery Stokes Sims and Gail Tremblay. The exhibition includes 44 paintings and works on paper from the artist’s collection, the Yellowstone Art Museum’s permanent collection, and other private collectors. Both exhibition and catalog are supported in part by grants from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation, and numerous private sponsors.
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