In 2014, Governor Steve Bullock led a trade mission to China, and now, a group of Montana artists are hoping to capitalize on the progress made by showcasing their talents in Asia.
Their latest effort is a collaboration called "West on the Left, East on the Right."
It's a two week tour in western China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous region.
About 15 artists from the U.S., including 13 from Montana, were among the nearly 100 represented at the opening of the “West on the Left East on the Right” exhibition at Jiuquan City Museum of Gansu Province.
One of the Montana minds behind the partnership calls this venture an excellent opportunity.
Troy Selland said, "It's been amazing it's been about 900 days and we've sold over 90 pieces of Montana-made art here in China and we've generated nearly one and a half million dollars in revenue."
On Saturday, the group toured Lanzhou City University.
Art instructor Jenny Balisle was impressed by the work of the Chinese students: "I think coming from a western perspective I automatically come with some kind of bias, and I was pleasantly surprised to see how they're questioning contemporary art, but then how do they place the history of the school and these techniques."
Among the Treasure State artists was Livingston’s Joe Fay, who moments before the exhibition opening learned that one of his works would be added to the museum’s permanent collection.
Fay said, "I’m kind of shocked, really. The goal of an artist is to get into collections, you want it to be in a place where people are going to see it for a really long time, for posterity, for forever. Recently, maybe it's because of my age or something, but I’ve been getting into a lot of museum collections and major corporate collections and now this, which is really fantastic, so I’m really happy. But I think it's something all artists work towards, is that you want your work to be seen by other people, by other generations, and having it seen in China is really, really exciting for me."
Fay says his artistic relationship with China has been so successful he would like to establish a residency in China.
MTN's trip to China is made possible through a grant from the Greater Montana Foundation.