Local Artists Lend Talents to the Foundation
For 40 years, Merv Coleman has taken photographs of the natural beauty surrounding Red Lodge, and made a living doing what he loves.
Merv and his business, Coleman Gallery and Studio, have become staples of the Red Lodge area. From landscape to portraits, his passion comes to life each year as he captures everyday life around the Beartooths. For the last 13 or so years, he’s been partnering with the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation to showcase some of his photos on the Foundation’s holiday cards, which go out to donors each year.
“For the first several years, they always had a moose on them. I always tried to tie to the Fun Run with them,” Merv said of the first holiday cards he photographed for the Foundation.
In recent years, the beauteous landscapes he captures through his lens are displayed on the cards. After working with the Bureau of Land Management, he was asked him to take more photos in the field. He’d capture wild horses, cattle, and wildlife in the Snake River Canyon.
His eye for wildlife led him to capturing his favorite RLACF holiday card photo a few years ago.
“The one that’s perfect for the Foundation is called, ‘Breaking Trail,’” Coleman said. “It’s a photo of some bison in heavy snow. And the lead bison is breaking trail for the other ones. That’s what the Community Foundation does for our community.”
Beth Korth, like Coleman, is a donor of time and talents to the Community Foundation. Her artwork has been featured on many of our thank you cards, and she has generously volunteered to showcase her unique talent on the Foundation’s “chalk wall”, the outside, south-facing wall of the shared services center
She said donating her time gives her the opportunity to give back to the community in a unique way.
“I love it. I love that I have something to give,” Korth said. “It can be hard to find new ways to express yourself through art. Volunteering at the Community Foundation gives me that new opportunity.”
Korth said being able to tell the Foundation’s stories through the chalk wall provides a chance at trying new dynamics with her art. From painting to ceramics, Kroth’s artistic intellect draws in passers-by, giving her another chance to showcase her style.
“I’ll have people walk by and just watch as I work,” Korth said. “And I kind of like that…that spotlight or theater kind of attention. It’s just a real privilege to be able to share what I do with my community.”
You can find Korth’s artwork around the county, and soon, across the state. In Heist’s art gallery in downtown Red Lodge, you’ll find some of her work, as well as on an electrical box across from the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings. Soon, her artwork will be in Lincoln, Mont., at the Blackfoot Pathways.