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

Current or Recent Events & Shows

National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society “Best of America Small Painting National Exhibition” at the Kirkland Gallery, Nashville, TN., April 30 – May26, 2018

Out West Art Show & Sale, March 14-17, 2018 at the Heritage Inn, Great Falls, Mt. I’m in Room 176!

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

National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society Holiday Small Works Show, Nov. 13 – Dec. 30, 2017

Under a Vast Sky, the 2017 AWA Annual Master and Signature Members Show & National Juried Exhibition, at the Tucson Desert Art Museum, Oct 13 – Dec. 3, 2017

“Dissent” Show at Sparrow Gallery, Sacramento, CA. July 1 – August, 2017

“Gallery Night” at Frame of Reference Fine Art in Whitefish, MT.,July 6, 2017

Iron Horse Summer Art Social, Whitefish, MT. June 25, 2017

“First Strike Auction” March 17, 2017 C.M. Russell Museum

2016 – Portrait Society of American Members Only Competition Winner – Landscape Division

“Back to Basics” Painting Workshop in Big Sky, MT. – October 28-30, 2016

“2016 Annual AWA Member Show & National Juried Exhibition” – Sept. 23 to Nov. 14, 2016

“Summer Art Social” at Iron Horse, Whitefish, MT. – June 25, 2016

“Montana Painters Alliance Show” at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, MT. June 30, 2016 – August 31, 2016.

I’m teaching a workshop called “Back to Basics: Considerations for Every Painter” at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT., April 29 – May 1, 2016

“Auction for the Arts” at Lone Mountain Ranch in Big Sky, MT. March 24, 2016

“Out West Art Show & Sale” at the Heritage Inn, Great Falls, MT. March 16-19, 2016

Guest Artist at Altamira Fine Art, Scottsdale, AZ., 2015

“Traveling the West Art Show & Sale” at Southwest Gallery, Dallas, TX. – October 23-24, 2015

“Boots Required!” at Bella Muse Gallery, Ogden, UT. – July 3 – August 31, 2015

“Summer Art Social” at Iron Horse, Whitefish, MT. – June 30, 2015

The Dana Gallery “Icons of the West” Show, May 15 – June 30,, 2015

The Russell Live Auction, Mansfield Convention Center, Great Falls, MT., Saturday, Mar. 21, 2015

Booth Western Art Museum “For the Love of Art Gala & Art Auction” – February 21, 2015

Altamira Fine Art “Art 2 Art Show”, Jackson, WY. – mid December, 2014 – January 1, 2015

Tom Gilleon & Laurie Stevens – 2 person show hosted by Altamira Gallery of Jackson, WY. and Creighton Block Gallery of Big Sky, MT., July1 – 18, 2014

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum “Small Works, Great Wonders” Show, Oklahoma City, OK. – Nov. 15 – Dec. 1, 2013

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.


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