Artist Paints Mural of Jeannette Rankin on Kalispell Brewery

Tessa Heck spent a week working on mural of first female U.S. House member

By Justin Franz
The new mural outside Kalispell Brewing Company. Courtesy Photo.

Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of the U.S. House of Representatives, now graces the side of Kalispell Brewing Company. Earlier this month, local artist Tess Heck painted a mural dedicated to the woman who served for two different terms in the late 1910s and again in the early 1940s.

Heck grew up in the valley and has been a painter for most of her life. She and her husband Zach George recently moved back to Kalispell.

Maggie Doherty, founder and co-owner of Kalispell Brewing, met Heck earlier this year and, when she found out that the artist had painted public murals in Portland, asked if she would be interested in painting the back wall of the downtown establishment.

Heck said she has always been interested in the history of women in Montana and thought Rankin was the perfect subject for a mural. Along with a caricature of Rankin, it includes a quote from her: “Go! Go! Go! It makes no difference where, just so you go! Go! Go!”

“Rankin is such an interesting figure in Montana history and I think we can still glean a lot of inspiration from her,” Heck said.

Doherty said she loved that Heck chose Rankin and that the mural is a great tribute to Montana’s female entrepreneurs, creatives, professionals and adventurers.