Our Past…

The Carbon County Arts Guild was founded in 1973 by a group of Red Lodge citizens dedicated to the arts. For five years, the Guild operated from the Carbon County Courthouse Annex Building, and over this period, donations in the form of pottery, darkroom equipment, and mirrors for dance classes were acquired. In addition to introducing visual arts media to the community, the Guild sponsored the “Missoula Children’s Theater” as well as the “Shakespeare in the Parks” productions. A legal question arose in regard to the Guild receiving county support in the form of the use of the annex facility. The Courthouse Annex was thus given up and the art donations that had been acquired were stored in various sites in Red Lodge. For a brief period, a shop was leased, but this space was also lost. Eventually, a local law firm leased a small office area to the Guild; rooms in private homes and businesses were arranged for classes and art activities. In the summer months of 1981 and 1982, the city permitted the Guild to sublet a cabin from the Red Lodge Historical Society for the purpose of providing a sales outlet for local artists during the tourist seasons. Amazingly, this tenacious group managed to survive in spite of the continuous displacements.

However, there was a breakthrough in 1982 when, after months of strenuous effort on the part of Guild members, the Burlington Northern Railroad donated the old train depot to the Carbon County Arts Guild. Built in 1889 and expanded in 1904, this classic Craftsman-style depot had provided for many their first glimpse of Red Lodge and the Beartooth Mountains. Its flared eaves, eave brackets, and shiplap were hallmarks of Northern Pacific depots along the railroad’s main lines. Once sewer and water problems were resolved, the Guild of artists and supporters moved in on September 1, 1983. A proposal to the 1983 State Legislature to remodel the building and landscape the site provided enough funds to begin a modest renovation. Over the next several years, the State Legislature, Exxon, Pacific Hide and Salvage, Burlington Northern, along with other individuals and businesses, donated time, funds and equipment. This support added further refurbishing and 250 feet of railroad track on which rests the much-valued gift of the red caboose. The Carbon County Commissioners again recognized the Guild’s importance to the region and granted funds to allow the cultural center to survive and grow into the art destination that it is today.

The Present…

The Carbon County Arts Guild continues to grow with a membership of over 300 artists and is fast becoming the leading small- town art center for residents and visitors to south central Montana and Northern Wyoming. As an art facility, the Guild presents an ever-changing gallery of regional art for supporters and assists artists in the building of their own personal collection. Their focus is on a variety of educational opportunities for all ages and for all artists, with a special emphasis on youth art education and art appreciation. As a gallery, the Guild is dedicated to building and maintaining a permanent art collection, relative to our history as an art center and to the historic train depot which houses the Carbon County Arts Guild and Depot Gallery.

Join the Arts Guild

Membership is available for artists and community members. For more information please call 406-446-1370 or download the membership application.

Today at the Art Depot

Sunday, May 31

CANCELED Open Studio Figure Drawing at the Arts Guild
Jan-May 2020 Second Saturday
10am to 12 pm