E. L. Wiegand Creativity Center at the Holter
Since 1987, the Holter Museum of Art has been a staple of the artistic community in Helena, Montana. Always a museum showcasing our region's contemporary artists, the Holter's services have since diversified, yet our mission is the same: we connect, inspire, and heal our community through art. At our core, the Holter celebrates human potential and nurtures the creative spirit, values diverse perspectives, collaborates to create, acts with generosity of spirit with a strong sense of community, and supports deep inquiry into the nature of our world and our lives. As a free admission museum, the Holter's vision is to bring art, new perspectives, and holistic healing opportunities to as many people as possible. The Holter acts as a conduit for the creative and innovative minds within our community to ignite creativity and create meaningful connections.
The Holter's education programming is both museum- and community-centered and is designed to enhance arts literacy and provide lifelong learning. Programs range from intellectual investigation to hands-on exploration for visitors of all ages. Innovative collaborations with other local organizations broaden the range of cultural activities. Workshops, artist residencies, community collaborations, and school programs help the Holter meet and reach new audiences and promote creative, quality arts experiences for students of all ages.
The Holter has always taken pride in exhibiting meaningful and impacting exhibitions that amplify diverse topics and encourage meaningful narratives; we consider ourselves one of the top contemporary museums in the region. One example of these diverse exhibits is "Takuwe," a Lakota exhibition comprised of artwork from contemporary Lakota artists about the Wounded Knee Massacre and the effects of that event of their culture.
Our outreach programs have continually made positive impacts in the Helena area. Our Holter Healing Arts program brings free art education, art supplies, and projects to the medical community to provide holistic healing opportunities while addressing the need for low cost, prescription free alternatives for treating anxiety, depression, and other illnesses.
The Holter's teen programs are geared towards at-risk youth who want to develop artistic skills and engage in leadership and community opportunities. These programs bring artists and student together weekly to help teens use art to work through personal and social issues.
A few years ago, the Holter staff and board made a commitment to expand arts opportunities both in-house and in the community. Through this process, we learned from the community that there is a need for a flexible, easily accessible space that can be used by the community to bring the healing power of art to as many people as possible.
The Holter is excited the announce the creation of the E. L. Wiegand Creativity Center - the "W", a space within the museum that amplifies community through accessible arts experiences for all. We believe that art is for everyone, connecting communities and igniting creativity. By creating the E. L. Wiegand Creativity Center inside the museum, the Holter will become a hub for creativity and close gaps between generations, backgrounds, cultures, and socio-economic statuses, bringing our community closer together.
The W will provide a community stage for arts performances, including music and dance, a community gallery for up-and-coming artists, and multi-functional space for arts experiences of all kinds. This flexible space will include art supplies, technology, and other resources for public classes, workshops, art performances, demonstrations, and casual interactions and encounters by and for community members.
The ultimate mission of the W is to support creative, energizing environments that encourage visitors to get involved with opportunities that lead them to create, explore, and interact to build a stronger, more connected community. Through programming, events, and partnerships, the W will be able to revitalize the economic stability of Helena's downtown district, encouraging patronage to support locally owned businesses and continue Helena's vitality. The W will also be able to augment the need for arts education in the Helena for our schools. Due to lack of funding, much of the arts curriculum has been cut from our county's schools. Our arts programming will allow teachers and other educators to include arts learning for our community's school-aged children.
"I am excited for the opportunities that the Creativity Center at the Holter Museum of Art will fulfill in our town that is not currently being met by providing a safe space for many groups of people to feel home and enjoy all that art can give. The W will strengthen our community and make our lives more vibrant." - Jacqui Smith, local community member.