A Fresh Vision at Snappy’s

Refurbished art gallery in upper level of outdoors store to host its first show and opening reception on Nov. 12

By Molly Priddy
Allen Jimmerson, left, and Robin Sorg, pictured at the Montana Wildlife Studio at Snappy's Sports Senter on Nov. 3, 2016. Greg Lindstrom | Flathead Beacon

EVERGREEN — To walk into Snappy Sport Senter is to enter an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, with plenty of the equipment, clothing, and local knowledge needed for a successful sports store to survive.

But just a quick trip to the upstairs of the sports store transports the visitor to a new type of enthusiasm for the outdoors and the environment, this kind expressed through acrylic paint on canvas or bronze work.

Paintings of scenes straight from the heart of Glacier National Park and other wilderness areas of Northwest Montana hang on every wall, with the detail in these huge pieces so intricate that a viewer could mistake it for a window or a photograph.

And sitting quietly nearby, the paintings’ creator Allen Jimmerson is happy to watch people enjoy the art and often surprises the viewer with the information that he is the artist who also mans the gallery.

“This part of the gallery has been up here since 1996,” Jimmerson said. “We’ve always been hidden away.”

That incognito existence is about to go out the window, now that Snappy has refurbished the space, removing a gift shop and giving that space over to the gallery. Jimmerson and other Snappy employees went to work, spending a month cleaning it up, adding black panels to the walls, installing soft, natural lighting, and bringing the personality out of the wood floors.

Now the gallery has about 4,000 square feet with which to work, and to celebrate the new dedication to more art, Snappy will host its first art show and exhibition, “Three Visionaries.”

Jimmerson’s work will be on display, along with local acrylic artist Robin Sorg and bronze sculptor Sunti Pichetchaiyakul, who is based in Whitefish.

The opening reception, another first for the gallery, will be on Nov. 12, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and include drinks, food from DeSoto Grill, and music provided by a quartet from the Glacier Symphony. There is no ticket required for entrance.

It will be a Montana-classy affair, Jimmerson said, perfect for a date night. The store will be shut down and guests will use the entrance near the life-sized bronze elk statue.

“Wear your best jeans,” Jimmerson said.

All three artists will be in attendance, giving visitors the rare opportunity to not only consider the art, but ask about its origins. Pichetchaiyakul, whose work is known worldwide, lent his “Chief Sitting Bull” bust to the show, and plans on bringing a couple more for the reception. He is considered among the world’s leading sculptors of portraiture and hyper-realism, and is particularly well-regarded in Thailand.

Sorg’s pieces focus on her deep connection to nature, with a special attention to birds for this show. She works as a graphic designer and illustrator, and her art has been shown in Coeur d’Alene, and also hangs in the Dick Idol Gallery in Whitefish and at Wild Eye in Kalispell.

She said she’s excited about the show at the Snappy’s, especially with all the new space.

“It seems like a gallery more than just an upstairs now,” Sorg said.

Jimmerson’s paintings have illuminated the life and scenes within Glacier Park for years. As a dedicated outdoorsman, his original paintings are sought out by various outdoor groups. A prolific painter, Jimmerson is considered a “Glacier Park Artist” after his painting, “Heavy Shield,” was officially chosen as artwork for Glacier Park’s 2010 Centennial celebration. He was also selected as the artist for the 80th Anniversary of Glacier International Peace Park Assembly.

One of Sorg’s originals recently sold, and Jimmerson said the gallery tends to attract all types. But now that it is larger and capable of hosting shows, Jimmerson contends the cozy, intimate feel of the gallery will remain the same.

“A lot of people want to talk to the artist,” he said. “We get from all over the world up here.”

For more information, visit www.snappysportsenter.com.

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