While all artistic endeavors rely upon the creative process, so too did the evolution of the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture. Thanks to a visionary coalition of community members, the Emerson School was purchased from the Bozeman Public School District in 1992. In May 1993, the Emerson opened its doors to the public.
With community support, the Emerson Center for the Arts and Culture renovated a historic building; filled it with working artists and musicians; created a popular theater as well as exhibition, retail and rental space; educated thousands of children and adults; and welcomed the community time and again through its doors to gather and share and revel in the arts and culture.
Most of all, the Emerson is about people coming together: Children laugh and play at Lunch on the Lawn; artist-tenants open their studios on Art Walk evenings; music or movie lovers take their seats in the Crawford Theater; tiny people twirl in a second-floor dance studio; schoolchildren sit on the floor in the Jessie Wilber Gallery intent on an art project; shoppers cruise Galleria Hall and pause for a meal at the Sidewall Pizza; students work wheels in the pottery studio; and in a prelude to Bozeman’s Christmas Stroll, a pandemonium of excited children assemble gingerbread houses.
The old Emerson School building may be on the National Register of Historic Places, but what is truly historic is the vitality that continues to emanate within its walls.