Editor’s Note

For those of us who struggle


Katie Cantrell is our one-woman powerhouse of an editor. Without her, this magazine couldn’t happen.

A“rt is not my bag. I’ve tried to draw, but what comes out of the end of my pencil in no way resembles the vision in my head. The only kind of painting I’m good at involves a roller and a gallon of Sherwin-Williams.
My oldest daughter, on the other hand, has natural artistic talent that must come from some weird recesses of her genetic pool. For a period of time, what really filled her cup was having me sit down and make art with her. (She has a strong competitive streak, so there’s a decent possibility she also got an adrenaline bump from “winning” at art, because my attempts were just that terrible, especially compared to hers.) We’d work next to each other for a while, then she’d look over. “Are you even trying?” she’d ask accusingly, as though I was somehow maneuvering to fail my way out of having to participate.

Obviously, this issue was a little bit out of my wheelhouse. But that was totally okay with me, even if it did mean a good bit of time reading Google search results for “what is contemporary art?” During an interview, I asked Marshall and Jackie Noice, owners of Montana Modern Fine Art in Kalispell, about the intimidation factor that so often comes into play with art. Their recommendations?
“Just keep looking,” Marshall said.

“It’s like anything else,” Jackie added, referring to the fact that we’re often hesitant about any area of life we don’t already understand. “If you’re unfamiliar, you’re a little leery. But you don’t want to ask, because you feel like people think you should know, which is not true. Art is to be experienced!”

So, whether you have a minor in sculpture or are majorly unsure about this whole idea, I hope you find something in this issue that you love. We’ve included a wide variety of artistic voices and ideas, so it’s very possible you’ll also find something you hate, or something that just doesn’t resonate with you. (As local artist Tessa Heck acknowledged, “Not everyone is your audience.”) Whatever your initial reaction, I invite you to take the Noices’ advice. Just keep looking.


Katie Cantrell loves camping, non-motorized boats, trail running, and everything about the North Fork. Though nearly every attempt to play outside involves telling her kids to stop complaining and get in the car because this is actually going to be a lot of fun, she still looks forward to every season of adventure.
Find more of her stories at katiecantrellwrites.com.


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