Dolack Gallery Celebrates Its Twenty Year Anniversary

Editor’s note: Make It Missoula is excited to present Monte Dolack’s writing and ruminations about arts and culture in Missoula and Western Montana. Keep an eye out for more posts in his new Artistic License blog series.

By MONTE DOLACK

First Dolack studio in the old art-deco themed KGVO radio station above the Top HatBar.

My name is Monte Dolack. I have been making art in Missoula since 1970, if you count going to the University and making pots and working on the school newspaper, University publications, and yearbook as an illustrator and cartoonist. I sold my more functional pottery at the craft fairs.

We opened our gallery at 139 West Front Street in historic Downtown Missoula in the summer of 1993 and have been in the same location now for 20 years this coming June. Hard to believe!

Our “New” Gallery in the old Toole and Easter Building on W. FrontSt.

After 15 years of inhabiting the old art-deco themed KGVO radio station above the Top Hat bar as a studio, I started thinking about opening a street level gallery.

We were starting to draw interest and traffic from collectors and interested people. I also had quite a number of paintings, posters, and prints and was running short of space to show them.

My wife and fellow artist, Mary Beth Percival, and I spent two years searching for the right location and commercial building and had not found the right space. We were just about to give up and move to the country and start our own Art Farm.

One February winter day in 1993, I looked directly across the street and noticed the folks from the Toole and Easter Insurance Company moving out of their building. They were carting boxes and tables out the door. I ran across the street, discovered the building was being vacated, and by that afternoon, we had secured a tentative agreement to take over the space.

The Monte DolackGallery.

We spent the ensuing months designing, remodeling, and bringing the building up to code. The building had been a warren of small, low-ceiling offices.

Carpenter and builder Mike Schmaus and his crew did the demo and reconstruction. We discovered we had high ceilings and space for a large gallery showroom in the front of the building with space for offices, framing, and storage in the rear and downstairs.

We opened as a gallery on the first day of spring 1993 and had our initial First Friday Art night that following week.

We will be celebrating our twentieth anniversary with our wonderful staff and friends and collectors on First Friday Art Night, June 7, 2013. Please come and help celebrate with us.

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To see more of Monte Dolack’s artwork, visit his Gallery or check out his newly renovated website.

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A native of Great Falls, Monte Dolack grew up surrounded by the same sweeping vistas and big sky that inspired Charlie Russell. His love of Montana and passion for the West’s diverse landscapes and wildlife are evident in the images he creates and the commissions heundertakes.

His best known early works – wild animals wreaking havoc in human homes – comprise his “Invaders Series,” exploring the myths of the West and how we view our relationship with our environment. The irresistible appeal of these images helped build Monte’s national reputation and continues to attract collectors.

A love of the natural world, combined with his exuberant curiosity and travel experiences, has shaped the content of Monte’s imagery.  Blending mythology, technology, and elements from nature and the landscape, his work is infused with a sense of humor and irony.