Montana Trails Gallery Explosion

This has been a tragic week. On Thursday, March 5th, an apparent gas leak in downtown Bozeman, MT. caused a horrific explosion. Three buildings were totally demolished, and many others damaged. Montana Trails Gallery was at the epicenter of this explosion. The gallery and everything in it was destroyed by the blast and subsequent fire. But much worse than that, Tara Bowman, our beloved gallery Director is feared to have been there and killed. There are no words to describe the loss and sadness so many of us feel this week.

Posted in Art Galleries, Montana Trails Gallery, Tara Bowman
4 comments on “Montana Trails Gallery Explosion
  1. car says:

    so sad. I grew up in Bozeman but did not know Tara. it’s just unbelievable. my thoughts are with you all…


  2. Anonymous says:

    i am so saddened too. i barely knew Tara, but when i spoke to her on occassion, she was extremely sweet and helpful, and she managed to always kept in touch with me on my favorite artist’s work in the gallery. This was such a freak event in the first place— and so sad that someone’s life was taken. She will be remembered always. -Raelene Mercer

  3. Anonymous says:

    I was just told by a friend of the events. You see we live in New York and I used to work at Montana Trails back in the day, I remember helping Steve and the crew with ideas and labor to create the gallery! Those were the days. I am truely saddened by this loss! and I hope that flowers can rise from the ashes….

  4. Anonymous says:

    I was so sad to learn of Tara’s death. I met her in the Gallery 6 years ago when my son entered MSU as a freshman. She was so warm and friendly as well as being helpful mentioning several engineering groups which my son might be interested in joining. I was of course impressed with the wonderful gallery itself and did purchase paintings over the course of visits to Bozeman. They were visits that I looked forward to to see the art work and Tara. I know the Bozeman art community will miss her and I send my deepest condolences to her family as well as the arts community.

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Laurie Stevens

Recent Accolades

6-2020 “The Artist’s Wife” was one of 150 paintings juried into the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society 2020 Spring International Online Competition.

2-2020 I was accepted into the Booth Western Art Museum show Making Their Mark: American Women Artists. May 27 – Aug. 23, 2020.

2018 – I was chosen as a Finalist in the Portrait Society of America’s “Members Only Competition” (in the Non-Commissioned Portrait Category) with my painting, “The Artist’s Wife”.

2018 – I was chosen to grace the “Classic Moments” page of the July / August 2018 Fine Art Connoisseur magazine. This is the last page of the magazine and a full page spread! My painting, “The Artist’s Wife”, 32×24, was my response to a painting of the same title by William Merit Chase, done in 1892. –

2018 – “An Early Breakfast” was juried into the NOAPS 2018 Best of America Small Painting National Exhibition at Richland Fine Art in Nashville, TN. April 30 – May 26, 2018 –

2018 – Portrait Society of America – 6×9: Limited Size, Unlimited Talent Mystery Art Sale, April 20 at the Art of the Portrait Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. –

2017 – C.M. Russell Museum Auction “The Russell” –

2017 – Dinghies and U-Turn were juried into the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society Holiday Small Works Show in Parkville, MO. –

2017 – Portrait Society of American Members Only Competition Finalist in the “Outside the Box” Figurative Competition – for “Mourning Dove” 36×24 –

2017 – Two pieces juried into the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society Holiday Small Works Show –

2016 – Portrait Society of America “Members Only Show” – I placed in the Landscape Division with my painting “Milk and Honey”! See the images on the slider. –

2014 – Spring, 2015 – Juried into the Spring American Women Artists Online Juried Show.

2014 – Juried into the Fall NOAPS International Online Showcase.

2014 – Juried into the American Women Artists National Competition & Exhibition, Orleans,

2014 – Chosen to be an “Art in Action” Artist for the Russell Auction event at Meadowlark Country Club, Great Falls, MT., Mar.

2013 – Juried into the American Women Artists National Competition & Exhibition, Fredericksburg,

2012 – A piece of mine, “Motel Galata” was selected to be part of the permanent Modern West Collection at the Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, GA!

2012 – Top 100 Paint the Parks National Competition (2 pieces)

2011 People’s Choice Award at the Clymer Museum of Art Exhibit & Auction

2008 C.M. Russell Museum CEO Award – given to one Russell Auction participant

2008 – 2010 Paint America Top 100

About Me

Stevens’ work reflects the small daily wonders of the land she calls home: the first crocus of spring, the resilient beauty of the plains, or that special sense of hope and possibility that is only found in the West. Stevens is also interested in regional history, particularly the interactions of Native Americans and white settlers during the Reservation Period. Many of her paintings are an exploration of this dynamic and a meditation on the “taming of the West.” From Billings, MT, Laurie began her career as an artist in Los Angeles where she spent 12 years working for the entertainment industry as a scenic artist and muralist for television, theme park, theater and movie productions. She spent time as a member of the Walt Disney Imagineering team, lending her talents to many Disney theme park projects worldwide. She also did some set design, illustration, and matte paintings for several animated childrens’ movies. In the 1980’s Stevens returned to her native Montana, first to the mountains near the Scapegoat Wilderness and then to the ranch near Great Falls where she currently lives and works.