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Local gallery hosts online art auction to benefit reservation communities

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POLSON – Art lovers recently had an opportunity to help others with the purchase of works from some very notable Montana artists. 

The Takes Horse Gallery, a Polson gallery owned by Karee Takes Horse, launched a week-long online art auction in hopes of raising funds to assist Native American communities severely impacted by the record-breaking snowfall this winter.

In February, a series of extreme blizzards produced snowdrifts from five to 30 feet high and has dumped more than 80 inches of snow in the northern region of the state.

The month-long winter storm prompted Gov. Steve Bullock to issue an executive order declaring a state of emergency on the storm-battered Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations.

“I grew up in Havre, which is about 50 miles from the Ft. Belknap reservation. I understand harsh winters and how crippling they can be,” Takes Horse said. “These people are our friends, our family, and our fellow Montanans that are struggling. I wanted to do something to help.” 

Takes Horse reached out to the artists she represents in her gallery seeking art work contributions for the winter relief effort. “They jumped at the opportunity. I'm so lucky to work with such great people,” she said.

“I live on the Blackfeet Reservation and witnessed the relentless storms and blizzards,” artist David Dragonfly said. “I know lots of people were stranded at their houses. I wanted and was glad to help.” 

Among the artists who donated their work to the cause are Carlin Bear Don’t Walk, David Dragonfly, Casey Figueroa, Frank Finley, John Gawne, Matt Holmes, DG House, Tabby Ivy, Allen Knows His Gun, John Pepion, Marcia Selsor, Ben Stringer, and Rachel Warner.

“I had been aware of the intensity of this winter in Browning and was grateful for the opportunity to support Browning and other Native communities in Montana,” Bigfork artist Tabby Ivy said.

Contemporary indigenous abstract artist Casey Figueroa said he first became aware of the relentless snow that blasted the community from coworkers and seeing pictures on Facebook.

“Being able to use my art to provide some sort of relief is always a great opportunity,” Figueroa said. “I feel that Indian Country is the biggest and smallest country in the world, and it is important to lend a hand to our brothers and sisters when the need and the opportunity arises.”

In total, $3,300 was raised from the auction which ended on Friday. The funds will be divided and donated to the food banks and animal food suppliers of the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne communities. 

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