Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture located at 111 South Grand Avenue in Bozeman is a popular and primary source for celebrating arts and culture in southwest Montana. The Emerson is a uniquely organized and structured nonprofit. This unique structure has established a healthy business model based on multiple revenue streams - public space and studio rentals, grants & foundations, and private donors. The Emerson led by an exceptional Board of Directors and dedicated staff ensures that participation and creative expression of arts for all ages and genres thrives in this historic setting.
Currently, the Emerson holds 58 business tenants with Bozeman City Lifestyle Magazine being one of them, several galleries representing about 200 artists, public spaces available for concerts, dances, church services, private gatherings, and exhibits. The Emerson Center for Arts and Culture offers arts education for all ages and summer camps for children ages 5-12. As the main hub for arts in the southwestern Montana area, it’s exciting to know that Emerson turns 30 this coming May.
Adult education started back up again this past January,following a long hiatus during COVID 19 in March of 2020. The public is welcome to sign up for classes in ceramics, drawing/painting, pottery, and jewelry making. The Emerson’s RAD Metals studio will open this spring. The new $50,000 studio will be the first jewelry studio open to the entire community. The studio will serve up to 12 students/class and offer a wide variety of metals classes.
All three of Emerson's public spaces bustle with activity. During the 2021/22 season the Emerson hosted just over 600 events. The activity in this 105-year-old building helps illustrate just how important Emerson is to the entire community. The theater is spectacular, and houses all sorts of performances that enrich our lives, from children's plays, to independent performances, you can always find something on the calendar to brighten an afternoon or evening.
Everyone is welcome at Emerson, that means EVERYONE! The summer classes for children endured through the pandemic and the adult classes coming back once again brings all into the fold. Feel free to walk the halls, visit with local artists, musicians and local businesses that chose to locate in Emerson because they all thrive on community involvement. Attend the shows, grab a slice at Sidewall pizza, stop into the Artists Gallery, or down the hall at Rod Zullo’s studio to see some spectacular sculpture, done right here in Bozeman.
“The Verge Theater” relocated to the Emerson in 2022. Verge Theater has been around for 25 years. In order to move into the Emerson’s Galleria Hall, Verge Theater developed a new business model. They became a gallery by day and a theater by night! Performances in the Verge allow the audience to be in the middle of all of the action.
The Beast of Bozeman launched in February and March, this community event was designed to support local performing artists and give them an opportunity to shine on the big stage. In its inaugural year just under 50 acts auditioned. Twenty-five acts performed in two semifinal shows and only 15 made it to the finale.
Emerson has substantial history in Bozeman, it was a public school from 1918 - 1992, designed by local architect, Fred Wilson, who also designed the Wilson Building where the Bozeman Symphony performs. It is rumored that Eric, the Building Manager of the Emerson, has the original blueprints for the Emerson. We will be looking for those in the “History of the Emerson” story we will do later this year.
About the creaky floors in the publisher's letter this month, we have heard from a kindergarten teacher that taught at Emerson and he assures us there were many little feet that traversed these halls over the years, which adds to the charm of the creaks everyone hears as they wander the buildings original maple floors that we cherish as tenants. There is history in this building that can only be appreciated by walking the halls, and meeting the wonderful creative minds you will find there.