Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Stumptown Art Studio painting out plans for growth

Whitefish Pilot | July 10, 2024 1:00 AM

A collaborative effort of dozens of Whitefish artists to capture the quintessential beauty of Whitefish will support fundraising efforts for a new Stumptown Art Studio building that is planned adjacent to the current location downtown.

On Saturday, July 13, over 25 Whitefish artists will spread out across the city for Stumptown Art Studio’s first ever Whitefish Paint Out event. People are invited to visit the artists to watch them create local masterpieces from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

“We wanted to get a variety of locations that were diverse in representing Whitefish. So we put a list together of iconic places and then asked artists what place spoke to them and fit to their style,” said Charity Flowers, education and art director at the nonprofit studio.

“They each picked out their first, second and third choices, but everyone got the spot where they wanted to be.

“We’ve got watercolors, acrylics, oils, mixed media; a variety of mediums.” 

While Flowers can’t say what each artists’ exact spin will be, people can expect to see artists pairing their strengths with the landscape.  

Landscape artist Rob Akey will be painting on Central looking north toward the depot. 

“His beautiful oil paintings will complement the area,” Flowers commented.  

Head west down Second Street and Nancy Cawdrey’s vibrant colors will be sure to make downtown pop. 

Daniel Todd will be out to capture the spirit of Big Mountain at the summit, while Shawna Moore’s abstraction of water will be live as she interprets Whitefish Lake.  

Suzanne Guthrie’s traditionalist, tonalist paintings will be capturing the crane statue at the pond at Riverside Park, while Neil Person’s quirkier style will be up by the tennis courts at Riverside Park. 

The paintings of the day will be finished up at the artists’ own studios before making their way to Stumptown Art Studio’s public event and silent auction on Friday, Aug. 9 at the O'Shaughnessy Center from 6-9 p.m.

Proceeds from the auction will go towards supporting the 29-year-old studio that is “bursting at the seams,” according to Jessica Inez, manager and event coordinator. 

The plan is to build a new accessible, ground-level adjacent building directly in the back of the studio. 

Currently, the outdoor space is an under-utilized patio, a “snow and supplies collector… that’s only usable for about three months of the year,” said Melanie Drown, executive director of the nonprofit.

“Since Covid, we've had a lot more people moving to the valley and engaging their kids in education at an early age. So, our small basement classroom is in high demand – but it’s an old building, and people with physical disabilities can’t access it,” Drown said. 

“We’re thankful to have outgrown our wonderful space, but now we have an inability to serve,” Inez added. 

“The new building would give us enough room for a large, open, windowed classroom that can also be used as a community gathering space for events. It’ll be the spot for learning, summer camps, additional general studio-use and special after-hours events,” Drown said. 

Stumptown Art Studio serves almost 3,000 students and over 75 artists through gallery and retail space every year, in addition to hosting countless art installations. An average of 10,000 people per year utilize the clay studio through drop-in pottery painting and fused glass offerings. 

“We try to always have a community, group-oriented thing every summer. But when we started brainstorming last spring ... we thought, this year, let’s go for it,” Flowers said.

“We’ve been amazed with the response we’ve had from the community. We feel really grateful that all these wonderful artists are stepping up and helping us out,” Drown said. 

The paint-out is “the seed to start the process. We’ll generate revenue once we get the building up. It’s a space for the community,” Drown said. 

The full list of the artists’ and their locations is: 

  • Jennifer Li - Underscore Art Gallery 

  • Nancy Seiler - Whitefish Lake Golf Course 

  • Falina Sinopah and Linda Hendrickson - Walking Man Frame Shop and Gallery 

  • Susan Guthrie, Donna Davis, Linda Lee Cleveland, Neil Persons, Sunni LeBlanc - Riverside Park 

  • Nancy Cawdrey - Cawdrey Gallery 

  • Rob Akey - Corner of Central Avenue & 3rd Street 

  • Daniel Todd - The summit at Big Mountain 

  • Charity Flowers - Abruzzo restaurant 

  • Mark & Shannon Baumbach - The Lodge at Whitefish Lake 

  • Kim Mullins - Blanchard Lake 

  • Michelle Usibelli - Firebrand rooftop 

  • Olivia Stark - West Glacier (private home) 

  • Linda Katsuda, Susan Fletcher, Shawna Moore, Gina Garlie, Donna Gans, Grace Isabell, Christopher Otto - Whitefish Lake (private homes) 

For more information and to see a map of the locations, go to or call 406.862.5929 or email 

    On a busy summer Saturday, Jodran Bauer and Abby Persinger of Kalispell are the only visitors to take to the back patio of Stumptown Art Studio. Pictured is part of the space that would be utilized for the new classroom building. (Kelsey Evans/Whitefish Pilot)
    The stairs leading down to the basement classroom at Stumptown Art Studio. (Kelsey Evans/Whitefish Pilot).