Glendive native’s art featured in national exhibit

Hunter Herbaugh Ranger-review Staff Writer
Thursday, October 21, 2021
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Kelly Bourgeois

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A portion of Kelly Bourgeois’ creation “Tenacity.”

A Glendive native artist’s work is being featured in a national exhibit from the California Arts League and she hopes to bring her expertise to Glendive to foster further growth in the local art scene.

Kelly Bourgeois, who grew up in Glendive but currently lives in Billings, was invited to submit her quilling piece “Tenacity” into the CAL for its Delights and Shadows exhibit, which opened earlier this month.

Bourgeois graduated from Dawson County High School in 1995 where she said her love of art was inspired in her by local resident Gene Fixmer, the high school’s art teacher at the time, who she described as a “fabulous” teacher. From DCHS, she attended Carroll College, where she received a degree in business and fine arts. She then attended the University of Oregon where she received her Master’s Degree before moving to Helena.

Her chosen medium for her piece that is being featured in the CAL exhibit, quilling, is an art form that involves curling or otherwise manipulating paper to create designs. For her piece that was entered into the CAL show, Bourgeois said she took inspiration from the Eastern Montana sunrise. It is a large 60.5 inch by 22 inch piece with the paper attached to tempered glass.

“Tenacity is based on, actually, the sunrise in Eastern Montana... I don’t know how many pieces of individual quills I made for that, there’s no way to count that. Thousands?” she said. “Growing up in Eastern Montana, we’ve all seen those sunrises and sunsets, those are beautiful, especially over the Yellowstone, so that’s what the inspiration is for it.”



Bourgeois said she got into quilling essentially “by accident,” as she wasn’t looking to get into it, but ended up doing so anyway. As a long-time painter, she said she was at a Hobby Lobby one day when she saw a piece of quilling art. She was attracted to it by the use of bright happy colors and also found it to be very accessible, as it was something she could do with her two young children.

“I really like the use of color, especially happy colors, and I wanted something that I could do with kids but also make something super beautiful for myself,” she said.

Along with quilling, Bourgeois still practices other forms of art and has participated in multiple exhibits across the nation. It was actually through the connections she made at these other events that secured her an invitation to the CAL’s exhibit.

Eventually, she will be bringing Tenacity to Glendive for locals to see it for themselves, as well as the opportunity to learn quilling. Bourgeois will be partnering with The Gallery to host a class next month. She noted that the class will make for a fun family-friendly activity that anyone of any age will be able to enjoy.

“It can be for a half an hour, an hour, three hours, however long people want to be there, and they get a choice of learning the process of quilling and starting their own art piece, because it does take some time. They can make a group art piece if they want to do that. It’s free and any age is allowed and supplies will be provided,” she said.

The class at The Gallery will be held on Nov. 13 starting at 1 p.m.

To view Tenacity along with the rest of the Delights and Shadows Exhibit, the entire gallery is available for viewing online at

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at