BACC strives to celebrate and preserve the history of Bigfork and Montana; to provide opportunities for Montana artists to thrive; to explore new ideas and new trends in art and culture; and to serve as a creative and educational hub for all who visit. We believe that art is for everybody - art enriches our community and connects people whose paths might not otherwise cross - and to this end, we strive to be the heART of our community!
Bigfork has always been an arts town. From its earliest days, Bigfork residents have been artists, artisans, craftsmen, art collectors and art enthusiasts. In 1977, a group of visionary citizens saw the need to build a community center focusing on the arts and ensuring a cultural legacy for Bigfork and the surrounding area. This forward-thinking group included Les and Ginny Averill, Sam Stephens, and Ruth & Joe Sliter, who purchased a gas station and converted it into Bigfork's first art center!
BACC is still housed in the same spot and over the years we have undergone a number of transformations. One significant addition was the musical clock tower which graces the front of our building. The clock tower has become a local landmark and gathering point. Music emanates from the tower every hour playing melodies ranging from Amazing Grace to Moon River to I Got You Babe. The clock tower was funded through private donations - supported by a campaign led by Community Foundation for a Better Bigfork, "CFBB" - a local, nonprofit organization responsible for the majority of our village's infrastructure and improvements.
The name and focus of our arts center has changed but the desire to provide the best in art exhibitions and cultural offerings has not wavered. We continue to strive to:
- maintain a solid financial base to not only sustain BACC, but also to serve as a positive force in our community
- continually expand and improve our Board of Directors, our volunteer base, our membership base and our artist base
- expand the focus of our programming to reflect art and culture beyond the visual arts, including more music, film, craft, design, architecture, literature, and humanities
- broaden the focus of exhibitions in order to increase the diversity of the artists and artisans exhibited in our Gallery and featured in our gift shop, Art, etc.
- build collaborative relationships with art, education, and cultural institutions
- provide educational programs to enliven, engage, and inspire our community and visitors
- ensure Bigfork remains a vital destination for arts and culture
Karin Henion: Chair & Treasurer
Betty Violette: Secretary
Cheryl Hanes: Executive Director
Prior to BACC, Cheryl Hanes served as the Chief Executive Officer of International Development Resources, Inc., IDRI, a company co-founded with her husband, Patrick Hanes. Prior to forming IDRI, she had served as CEO, CFO, and Director of Operations for numerous public and private companies both in the United States and in Europe and Asia. Cheryl and Patrick have been Bigfork residents since 2000, and she became affiliated with BACC in the summer of 2016, handling the accounting, managing the gift shop, Art, etc., and working closely with Executive Director Valerie Homer. Throughout 2016 and 2017, Cheryl and Valerie continued working toward their goals of restructuring the internal organization of BACC, and moving in an artistically innovative and fiscally positive direction. Cheryl's diverse background coupled with her love of the arts and her commitment to the BACC and to Bigfork should serve our community well!
Valerie Vadala Homer: Art Director
Valerie Vadala Homer began working at BACC as the Interim Director in September 2015, served as our Executive Director through 2017, and is now serving as our Art Director, focusing her extensive knowledge and experience on diverse exhibitions and creative, topical and interesting programs & classes. Valerie holds a Bachelor's Degree from Carroll College in Helena in Political Science, a Master of Arts Degree in English Literature and a Master of Fine Arts Degree in Poetry from Arizona State University. Prior to returning to Montana in 2015, Valerie was the Founding Director of the award-winning, nationally-recognized Scottsdale Public Art Program, where she worked for more than two decades. The Scottsdale Public Art Program is one of the most comprehensive in the nation; it includes art in public places commissions, art in private development commissions, exhibitions, temporary installations and events, gallery exhibitions in numerous Scottsdale library branches, and an education and docent program. She is a published writer and poet and has written numerous catalogs and essays including Robert Indiana: The Story of Love and Path to the Innocent Eye: The Skyspaces of James Turrell. In short she is a small town girl with big city experience. Valerie is passionate about art and about the BACC!