The economic recession of the 2000s impacted nearly everyone in the Flathead Valley, from industrial behemoths to small family-owned businesses. The local art scene was impacted as well.
While some galleries closed, others hunkered down and weathered the storm. Noice Gallery, founded by Jackie and Marshall Noice, in downtown Kalispell was among those who “laid low” in the late 2000s. The gallery promoted fewer artists and reduced its hours, but eventually it emerged prosperous when the economy turned around. Now Noice is stronger than ever following an extensive remodel and getting a new name: Montana Modern Fine Art.
Jackie and Marshall both grew up in the area and have been involved in the arts much of their lives. Marshall was a commercial photographer with a passion for painting that turned his hobby into a career two decades ago. In the mid-1990s, the couple purchased a building on Main Street that was built as a saloon in 1899 and was a bar and café for nearly a century. Jackie is the gallerist and Marshall maintains a painting studio on site.
The Noices have always been attracted to modern artwork and decided to focus on that genre when they opened the gallery in 1998. The gallery typically features the works of 15 to 20 artists who are producing everything from paintings to jewelry.
“A gallery is a lot like an online dating service.” Jackie said. “We want to match people with a piece of art that they will fall in love with and want to take home.”
Many of the artists featured in the gallery are from Montana. While Jackie said the gallery does not restrict itself to working with Montana artists, it rarely has to go out of state to find great works. Marshall also has some of his work prominently displayed in the gallery. Jackie said being married to a painter has been beneficial running the gallery and working with other artists.
“I have a good idea of what working artists are going through because I live with one,” she said.
In 2017, Noice Gallery completed an extensive remodel. Jackie said the interior of the gallery, last updated in the 1990s, was no longer in style and they wanted to have a new look and name. The walls were taken down to reveal the brick behind them and a tin ceiling above. The gallery also got new floors.
Jackie said they were putting the finishing touches on the space the day it opened for its first event.
“Just hours before that first event we were pushing table saws out of the way in order to open on time,” she said.
Twenty years after first opening and more than a year after the remodel, Jackie said the gallery is ready to continue to play an important role in the local art scene, one that is only getting stronger as the recession fades into the review mirror.
“This valley is growing a lot and I expect the local art scene to continue to grow with it,” she said. “The local art scene is starting to get back to where it was before the recession.”
Montana Modern Fine Art is hosting a number of events in the coming months. On Oct. 5, from 5 to 8 p.m., the gallery is hosting an opening for painter Pat Lambrecht-Hould and fiber artist Juliane Ketcher. On Nov 2, from 5 to 8 p.m., the gallery is hosting an opening featuring three artists, including Marshall Noice, Ann Garrett and Sarsten Noice. For more information visit www.montanamodernfineart.com.
The gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.