Permanent Art Installations
The interior of the Roosevelt Center features three distinct gallery spaces that are refreshed quarterly.
As well, some of our artist tenants have art scattered in the building's public spaces.
The interior artwork is free-to-view for the public during business hours Mon-Fri 9-5 p.m. Have your questions answered and learn about upcoming events by visiting Roosevelt Center staff in the main office, located on the first floor of the west wing.
The sculpture garden located on the east lawn facing Broadway Ave. is open 24/7 and welcomes all for a stroll or or a sit.
In May 2023, Charles Ringer dropped off his "Double Knot" metal sculpture to the Roosevelt Center sculpture garden and AmeriCorps NCCC Team Gold 5 helped install it.
The piece has been hanging around at Ringer's workshop in Joliet, MT since the 1980s, and we couldn't be more thrilled that it has a permanent home! The piece was purchased with the help of grants. One from the Montana Office of Tourism and the other was a National Endowment of the Arts Challenge America Grant.
"For as long as I can remember I have been intrigued by the physics of life around me. As a child in Minnesota, I began to arrange and assemble various objects into three dimensional creations. This process enabled me to translate my mental observations into physical reality. As an artist being self-directed has been instrumental in developing my individual technique. The discipline of trial and error has proven to be my best education.
I was attracted to metal at an early age, because of its many contrasts. The medium itself is originally coarse, heavy, hard, utilitarian and unforgiving. During the creative process, the material is cut, heated, pounded, welded and polished. The end product becomes a durable work of art. My sculpture involves both a kinetic and static presence, portraying both complex and whimsical images, creating a visual attractant.
Being in the same studio, gallery and living space for more than 40 years, I have developed an atmosphere conducive to contemplation, motivation and creation. In this environment, my wife, Emily and I raised our three children, which is certainly part of the creative endeavor. Life is art," - Charles Ringer.
Gracie Andrews, a freshman going to Northwest College in Powell, Wyoming, is an aspiring artist whose niche is “semi realistic.” She was asked to do an extensive mural inside the Roosevelt building for Red Lodge to enjoy. Tracy Timmons the Executive Director of the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, approached Gracie to do the mural because, ”The Foundation wanted the voice of youth to become engaged at the newly established Roosevelt Arts and Culture Center.“ Danielle Shilling, the Foundation’s Youth Internship Coordinator, who worked with Gracie said, “During this time she grew into a much more confident and capable artist.”
Gracie spent more than 200 hours working on this fantastic piece located in the first floor west hall. What she found challenging was, ”Realizing my own limitations, putting aside my perfectionism, and overcoming the frustrations.” She also mentioned that she thinks the Roosevelt building is beneficial to the Carbon County because “They are going to inspire the community artists to contribute and express themselves.” Gracie presented a magnificent piece to the community while paving a way for future artists at the Roosevelt building.
You can view her work on
Instagram at smile_like_psychos.
Gregory T Harper
Gregory T. Harper was a man dedicated to teaching music. He taught music in Red lodge around 20 years, starting in the early ’80s, and could play or teach any instrument you could think of. He was a man dedicated to his students, as well as the idea of music flourishing in the Red Lodge community. Mr. Harper had a vision to create a music performance art center for the students and the people of Red Lodge, and bequeathed the balance of his estate for an auditorium. The Old Roosevelt Project (RLACF), in honor of his commitment, has named the 3rd floor the Gregory T. Harper Recital Hall.
Tamara Upton, a former student, remembers, “how kind he was and how supportive he was,” and that he was a “Jolly” man. She also said, “With the Old Roosevelt being converted to a new performing art space lends creditability to his statement that music and performing really drives people.” Gregory T Harper lived for music and with his help, the Roosevelt building continues its transformation into his dream for the town of Red Lodge.
Photo by Merv Coleman
Janice Marie Polzin is an artist from Detroit, Michigan with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College for Creative Studies. After spending years as an art educator in the city, she now calls Roberts, Montana home.
Janice became engaged in the Roosevelt Revitalization Project by facilitating design thinking workshops with the Red Lodge community, helping to collect specific ideas for the utilization of the space. Inspired by the scale and scope of the Roosevelt project, Janice designed and created the mural titled “Mark the Movement” which adorns three of the exterior walls on the building. She is honored for the opportunity to share her mark with the charming community of Red Lodge. The imagery of the mural reflects the natural beauty that surrounds the town and suggests the creative harmony that exists within its members.
As Janice continues to grow as an artist in our community, she looks forward to participating in future projects and programs as the Roosevelt revitalization vision progresses.
A three-year process of envisioning, fundraising, planning, and creating culminated on June 24th 2020, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the installation of the first outdoor sculpture at the Roosevelt Center in Red Lodge.
The Roosevelt Center is an evolving place for performances, arts, and conferences. When purchased in 2017 from the Red Lodge School District, the building began its slow and steady progression to a functioning facility to benefit our community. Lee Kern’s beautifully crafted art on display is a signal of the evolution of the space, and we look forward to marking this moment to celebrate what the center has become, and to inspire the community to envision what the center can be in the future.
He also created a beautiful bench that welcomes all for a seat in the Roosevelt Center sculpture garden.
Lee Kern is a Red Lodge resident who is a lifelong artist and outdoors man. His primary medium is the fallen Rocky Mountain juniper. Lee crafts beautiful complex pieces, such as desks, beds, lamp tables, and signature rockers, while preserving the natural context and expressing the natural beauty of Montana’s juniper. His life-size animal sculptures are iconic to his work. Some of his other sculptures can be seen around Red Lodge and include grizzlies, elk and bison.
Mark Matthews has donated multiple sculptures to add to the Roosevelt Center dandy lion outdoor sculpture garden. The hoop arch and painted saw blade and dandy lion sculptures are all works of Mark.
The following Mark Matthews biography was sourced from Manifestations Gallery of Vision & Spirit: Mark Matthews has been serious about art, music, literature and dancing all his life. As for his sculpting, Mark routinely experiments with different materials, techniques and styles - but remains uninterested in creating a specific “brand.” He seldom displays his art beyond his home gallery in Hysham, Montana, which is why Manifestations is so excited to have a chance to exhibit his work.
Mark was born in 1951 in Lynn, Massachusetts, and graduated from Lynn Classical High School in 1968. In his senior year the Boston newspapers designated him an all-state basketball player (second team). Upon graduation he attended Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where he played basketball under coach K. C. Jones, a former Boston Celtic star who was Mark's boyhood idol. Mark graduated from college in 1974 with honors in English and American literature.
In 1981 Mark ‘’retired’’ from his position as an assistant equal opportunity specialist with the Office for Civil Rights - Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Region One (Boston) - to move into a small shack built on a dock along the shoreline of South Freeport Harbor in Maine, where he embarked on his professional sculpting career. Throughout the 1980s Mark was a featured artist at the renowned Frost Gully Gallery in Portland, Maine.
When he moved to Montana in 1989, Mark displayed his work in galleries in Seattle and Spokane, Washington, Las Truces, New Mexico, and Palm Desert, California. Around the same time he also began to call and teach contra dancing for the Missoula Folklore Society.
In 1992, while living in Missoula, Mark laid his chisels aside to pursue other interests.
By 1995 Mark had earned a Master degree in journalism from the University of Montana and for a number of years he worked as a freelance writer for such publications as The Washington Post, Newsweek, High Country News, Indian Country Today, Wildland Firefighter, Engineering News Record and the Great Falls Tribune. In the summers he fought wildfires with a crew based at the Ninemile Ranger District on the Lolo National Forest west of Missoula.
In 2005 Mark earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing from the University of Montana. He went on to publish three books through the University of Oklahoma Press, including Smokejumping on the Western Fireline: Conscientious Objectors during World War II; A Great Day to Fight Fire: Mann Gulch—1949; and Droppers: Drop City--America’s First Hippie Commune. For a number of years he taught English composition and creative writing at Missoula College.
In 2017 Mark consummated twelve years of research on social dancing by self-publishing a four-volume set titled Swinging through American History. The individual volumes include: Square Your Sets: The Birth of American Social Dancing; Promenading toward Democracy: The Great Square Dance Revival; Cakewalking out of Slavery: A Study of Racism through Music and Dance; and Jitterbugging across the Colorline: Desegregating the Dance Floor.
Mark returned to sculpting in 2011. When he isn't sculpting or writing short stories he travels across Montana teaching thousands of schoolchildren how to square and contra dance, two-step, polka, waltz and jitterbug for Humanities Montana's Speakers in the Schools program. He is also on the organizing committee for the Bear Hug Mountain Music and Dance Camp held at Flathead Lake every September sponsored by the Missoula Folklore Society.
‘’There is no better way to bring people together than through the arts,’’ Mark says.
Marie Shirley-Jones is an artist and an educator, raised in Montana. She’s had a strong interest in Native Americans for a long time and has read a lot about the Crow tribe that lived in the same area she’s lived in for the past 30 years; Red Lodge, Montana. In her reading, there was so little information about these women compared to the men at that time. She was curious about their role within their family and their tribe. She learns best by making and creating, so after seeing ledger art from 1883 by New Bear of eight Crow women, she was inspired to make a larger version of the women. Her intention was to experience assembling New Bear’s women to find out such things as what their necklaces were made out of and how did they get a needle through the curved shells to string them together – or did they have needles? What about the string?
Her art was all consuming. She began thinking of these women when she was outside in cold weather, and wondered how they kept warm. As she fixed dinner, she marveled at the planning and preparation that went into feeding a family all winter. Marie loves to hand stitch, but now imagines all the sewing they did and then doing the beautiful beading and quillwork besides!
Vertical lines in art represent strength, like pillars. These eight honorable women represent the integral part they played in their history.
On the women’s skirts she expressed various important aspects of their culture that she learned about. In the background she’s written Crow women’s names from history and also words in the Crow language pertaining to these women. She apologizes for any mistakes she’s made with these names and words. The chickadee prints are meant to be spirit helpers. The beading and jewelry are mainly found objects, none of which are genuine Native American. The hands are large because she molded them from her own hands, but she likes that they emphasize the skills their hands performed.
Marie Shirley-Jones made this art with honor and respect for these incredible women and she’s humbled by their contributions to their families and tribe.
Still Playing Today!
The upright piano in the storage room off the Performance space was sold to the Foundation in 2016 by Gary and Kathy Robson when they were closing their Broadway Books & Tea store. The Robson’s had bought the piano at the Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary's annual fundraiser. It was donated to the fundraiser by long time Red Lodge resident Irma Capps, 416 S. Platt,
where Mrs. Capps had the piano from 1946-2005. Mrs. Capps had grown up a block away on S. Platt and her mother had bought the piano from the Roman Theatre when the Roman transitioned to "talkies," so the piano was no longer needed to accompany silent films. Mrs. Capps took her childhood piano with her when she married and moved to 416 S. Platt. The upright piano is a Cable-Nelson brand, and its serial number indicates that it was made between 1905-1910.