Tom Pomarico works on a still life in his studio at Aunt Dofe’s on June 1, 2022, in Willow Creek. The back portion of the building serves as living quarters and studio space for the artist in residence.
Tom Pomarico helps artist Jerry Iverson store his paintings at Aunt Dofe’s on June 23, 2022, in Willow Creek. Pomarico’s art can be seen hanging in the studio around them. Iverson had a show at Aunt Dofe’s from June 24 to July 30.
Juni Clark had been thinking about starting an artist residency program at Aunt Dofe’s, an art gallery in Willow Creek, since she bought the building in 2018. But first, she wanted to get to know the space.
She spent several years making improvements to the building, transforming it from one to two galleries and adding a shower. This summer, she finally felt ready to share the space, choosing Tom Pomarico as Aunt Dofe's first resident artist.
Pomarico is a recent graduate of the Montana State University master of fine arts program. In exchange for living and studio space, Pomarico helps Clark maintain the building and open the gallery on the weekends. He also helps exhibiting artists hang their shows.
Pomarico said when he was surprised when he first stumbled upon gallery in Willow Creek, a town of roughly 200 people, southwest of Three Forks.
“I thought it really cool that there was a contemporary art gallery out in the middle of nowhere,” he said.
After spending three years in Bozeman, he said he was ready to “go out and experience rural Montana and sort of paint some more classical, traditional things.” From the end of May to mid-August, Pomarico produced and sold a number of paintings, many featuring the landscape around Willow Creek.
He said he’s been grateful for the opportunity to be the first resident artist.
“Aunt Dofe’s has a good history and it can only get even stronger and more interesting as time goes on,” he said.
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