Nonprofit Spotlight: Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture

By Jessica Byerly, Big Sky Journal –

For 30 years, the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture has provided arts appreciation, education, and activities out of a historic building in downtown Bozeman. Its programming includes arts education for all ages, school and community outreach, exhibitions, performances, seasonal events, and more. Led by executive director Susan Denson-Guy, Emerson staff, volunteers, and alumni continually imagine and reimagine the center’s place in the community, nurturing the region’s artistic and cultural vitality, leading through stewardship and equal access, and forging new pathways to celebrate art in all its iterations.

Here, Denson-Guy shares a bit about the Emerson’s historic roots and the reaches it seeks to attain in the months and years ahead.

Big Sky Journal: When did the Emerson Center for the Arts & Culture officially launch, who were the individuals behind its inception, and how did their initial vision and mission evolve into the community arts hub we know it to be today?

Susan Denson-Guy: The Emerson was built in 1918 and served Bozeman as a school until 1992. Fred Willson was the architect of the Emerson. (His grandson Duncan Kippen is now an Emerson tenant. Duncan hand-paints all of the signs throughout the Emerson and even designed our outdoor sign on the corner of Grand and Babcock.)

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