in the beginning there was raw, honest art
The Cottonwood Club was founded in 2008 by Dalton C. Brink shortly after moving to Bozeman from Memphis, TN. Dalton quickly recognized that the Bozeman art scene was sorely in need of a gallery that celebrated work outside of the typical western canon specific to the region. Having grown up surrounded by punk rock and artists' DIY spaces, Dalton was inspired to create a place where those seeking refuge from the ideas and propaganda of the mainstream media could express themselves judged solely on the merit of their work rather than their sexual orientation, political leanings, or religious observances.
The first incarnation of the The Cottonwood Club began in a derelict warehouse on the northeast side of Bozeman. Butting up against the railroad tracks and lacking running water or toilets, The CW sat at the corner of Plum and Cottonwood St. armed with a desire to illicit forward thinking and offer solace to the disenfranchised artists of Bozeman's underground art scene.
Borrowing the moniker of that first beloved street, the Cottonwood Club set out to stimulate a neglected avant grade art force that yearned for exposure, encouragement, and connection. It began it's auspicious maiden voyage into the Bozeman art community with the advent of Bring Your Own Art shows, a tradition that carries on to this day. This unpretentious approach, aimed at emboldening artists of variable skill level and experience, invited anyone and everyone to participate in the space.
People actually showed.
Suddenly an entire spectrum of creative expression could be seen scattered helter skelter across the warehouse walls. And in the resulting crowd a growing roar of rallying excitement began to mount. We would be seen, and heard. We would share, and express. We would support one another, no matter what.
As is sometimes the case, the space changed ownership after only a few months and The Cottonwood Club lost its physicality, if only for a short while. Soon a dilapidated basement of an old granary came to Dalton's attention, and after negotiations with the owner and several months of cleaning, running electricity, water, lighting, and other projects, the new Cottonwood Club opened its doors to the public and has been hosting, presenting, and enlightening ever since.
Over the years The Cottonwood club has offered a variety of events and shows from The Future is Female, to Let's Dance: a David Bowie Tribute Night. It continues to fuel absolute expression just as it will forevermore honor those persistent cottonwood roots with accessibl BYOA shows and community outreach.
In January 2015 The Cottonwood Club received Non-Profit status, thereby opening the door to many new opportunities, and in 2016 we acquired the space adjacent to the gallery where we are now excited to offer low cost studio spaces for Bozeman makers, artists, and craftsman. Much is changing as we consider various areas of growth within The CW but our dedication to providing creators with an affordable, collaborative, and supportive environment to contribute their individual perspectives remains the same. Please lend your voice, expertise, wisdom, and enthusiasm to this vital cause by volunteering, sponsoring, donating, and joining the Club!