If the friends and clients of local sculptor Keith McMasters have their way, his latest sculpture of a 1929 era flyfisherman on horseback entitled “Along the Banks” will become the latest piece of public art to be erected in the City of Hamilton. Last week the Hamilton City Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the city agreed to place the art work and maintain it in an as yet undetermined place of prominence in the community. A committee has been established to help guide the installation and a fund has been established to accept tax-deductible donations to pay for it.
The idea originated with Anita Leggot’s interest in the work. When she saw the work in progress at the In Search of Art Ltd gallery in Hamilton, where McMasters displays his sculptures, Leggot thought she might purchase the artwork for installation at the new home she was having built for herself.
“I was enamored to say the least, and to be honest, a bit naive about his reputation and talent,” said Leggot. “He welcomed me with that humble and gentle spirit that only he has. He took time to educate me about the industry and tell me the story of the piece I was so enamored with. In the process of completing our home I truly had an interest in acquiring his new project.”
But as the work approached completion, she said, it became apparent to her that the sculpture needed to have a more prominent and local placement in the Hamilton community for the whole community to appreciate.
“This bronze piece celebrates Keith’s long-term commitment to his art, and love of Montana lifestyle,” said Leggot. “Its 1929 historic portrayal of a beloved pastime echoes the heritage of our valley.”
It didn’t take much pushing for the idea to catch on. Working with Julie Foster at the Ravalli County Economic Development Authority (RCEDA), a fund was established to collect money for the purchase and installation of the sculpture. Donations are tax deductible. According to Leggot, a total of $155,000 is needed to complete the project with a more immediate need of at least $50,000 to get the project “Along the Banks” to the foundry.
“My intention here is purely to elevate this exquisite art and continue to enhance a relationship with the local community,” said Leggot. Donations payable to RCEDA may be sent to: “Along The Banks” Sculpture Project, Julie Foster RCEDA, 274 Old Corvallis Road, Hamilton MT 59840. Anyone wanting more information may contact Leggot at 612-269-5660.
Committee members who are supporting the project and examining potential sites for the installation include the artist, Keith McMasters; In Search of Art Ltd, gallery owner
Doug Nelson; fundraiser Anita Leggot; RCEDA Director Julie Foster; Executive Director of the Hamilton Downtown Association Claire Kemp; and Executive Director of the Bitter Root Land Trust Gavin Ricklefs.