The Billings art walk started small in 1994. Since then, it’s helped bring customers through the doors of restaurants, breweries, stores, and art galleries downtown.
The event is now in its 25th year.
The Toucan Gallery downtown participated in the art walk last Friday, as it does every art walk and has for a long while. The gallery features state and regional artists and is called the birthplace of the Billings art walk.
Co-owner Allison O’Donnell said she’s seen the event grow in the number of participating venues and attendants.
“We used to be able to serve cheese and crackers and we used glasses - glass glasses, and we would go back and wash them. There’s no way we could wash this many glasses,” said O’Donnell.
A large crowd means more eyes, more interest, and more sales.
“For us, it’s huge,” said O’Donnell. “It’s really the best marketing we can ever do.”
The art walk also gives new local artists exposure.
Featured artists often hang around the venue and mingle with the crowd.
Art walk director Virginia Bryan sees that as a big advantage for the Billings art scene.
“Artists may come in, and they may or may not be known, but once they get on the art walk and people start to see their work and they meet them and they develop a friendship or a relationship with them, then the name and the art of that particular person just tends to grow,” said Bryan.
The art walk is the first Friday of every other month. The next one is on April 5.