Six talented women -- each mastering a different art form -- share their works Friday, Nov. 4, in a joint show at the 33rd Annual Downtown Fall Art Walk, 5 to 9 p.m., at the Dancing Lotus Center, 40 N. Last Chance Gulch.

The six came together for the first time last fall as part of the Montana Arts Council Artrepreneur Program, which guides artists in marketing their works.

Since then they’ve become fast colleagues and friends.

Among the many things they’ve learned is courage to pursue and show their art, they say. And also finding their own unique voice through their art.

Lisa Gibson, a mixed-media artist from Lincoln, said she’s learned to follow her passion for painting. On display will be some of her large, vibrant canvases of brilliantly colored poppies and also her own floral creations.

Gibson, who was a basket weaver, was pushed into drawing and painting after a major tendon injury halted her basketry.

MAP’s biggest benefit has been “diving into why am I doing what I’m doing,” she said. “That’s been a tremendous help.”

The MAP program also helps artists bolster their weaknesses, she said.

For her, networking with other artists through MAP has been invaluable, as well as honing her business and marketing skills.

“I’ve been an artist all my life,” said KarenDe Herman. But it was while she was working on a graduate degree that she branched into jewelry making in 2008. "I needed something to give my creative side an outlet.” In 2012 she began to do it more professionally.

“In the past six months, I’ve been incorporating sculptural pieces,” with the jewelry, Herman said, showing a beaded-and-precious stone bracelet made with copper resting on a polished piece of golden brown wood.

“I love anything natural -- semi-precious stones, pearls and copper. I love copper.”

What Herman’s learned in the Artrepreneur program, she said, is to identify and embrace what there is about her art that’s unique.

Art weaver Mary Jean Martin writes of her love for all things dealing with fabrics: “In the course of my life I have been in love with (and maybe a little crazy about) sewing, embroidery, needlepoint, crochet, knitting, spinning, quilting, but most of all weaving.”

She started weaving while in the Army, she said, but had to set it aside until about six years ago. “It was like finding an old and beloved friend.”

Finding “this cohort” or group of artists to work with, “helped me feel legitimate -- that I have a legitimate voice,” she said.

She admits she’s “waffled between excitement and sheer terror” the past few months as she’s pushed forward.

As a result of the Artrepreneur program, she and her companions are now seeing themselves as thriving artists, she said, rather than starving artists. “Everyone’s story is magic in a different way.”

For photographer Gail Moser, the magic is capturing nature in her images -- a fox peeking over sagebrush, a rufous hummingbird in flight, a northern pygmy owl staring back into the camera's eye.

“My mission is ...to connect people with the joyful simplicity of the nature that surrounds us,” Moser writes in her artist statement.

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“There is so much that is amazing around us.”

MAP has given Moser a chance to think about her art and not be afraid to put it out in the world, she said. Not only is her own confidence as an artist growing, but she sees that in her artist companions, as well.

Trudy Skari has been creating art for years. “I do a lot of Japanese flower arranging,” she said. And she's an active member of Ikebana International, which promotes the Japanese art of flower arrangement.

Skari’s also drawn to sculpting in clay. Most recently she's been creating a series of animal heads that she will show at the Art Walk.

“I seek to create animal images that are intended to remind us of our own animal nature, to help us connect to the soul lesson of play and laughter,” she writes in her artist statement.

In addition to the camaraderie and support Skari’s gotten in MAP, she has particularly valued how it helps her to talk about her work.

Landscapes are what inspire Clancy painter Diane H. White. The works she will show Friday are views of scenes she has seen as she travels the backroads from her house to visit her father in Bozeman.

As a child, her family moved a lot, she said, so home was not one particular place. What she tries to capture in her paintings is the feeling of home.

White recalls a comment years ago made by a young niece, who upon seeing a miniature winter scene at White’s house told her she wanted to enter it and walk through the door.

That’s the feeling White hopes to evoke in her paintings, she said, so people walk into them.

All six artists will also be showing their works at the Artists’ Showcase and Sale, sponsored by Montana Arts Council/Montana Artrepreneur Program, 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 11, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at the Radisson Colonial Hotel, 2301 Colonial Drive.

Reporter Marga Lincoln can be reached at 447-4083 marga.lincoln@helenair.com

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