Art and Design in Billings, Montana

A trip to meet designers Kibler & Kirch leads to some lovely art perusing



Kibler & Kirch, Photo by Audrey Hall

Recently, I traveled to Billings, Montana, to meet with designers Kibler & Kirch. I was impressed by their work at the Western Design Conference in the Mountain Living Show House, and I wanted to see more. Their showroom (appointment only) is located in the Stapleton Building, a building that Kibler & Kirch principal Jeremiah Young bought and lovingly restored down to the tiniest detail. In their showroom, a kitchen area used for party caterers was designed like a 1906 kitchen. Wainscoting, black-and-white tile and the finishes were selected with the building’s history in mind.


Photo courtesy Stapleton Art Gallery

The building has retail space on the ground floor, and offices, residences and the Stapleton Art Gallery upstairs. The gallery hosts invitation-only shows; contact the gallery to add your name to the list.

When I grew up in Sheridan, Wyoming, Billings was the closest “metropolitan” shopping area. How it has changed! On a recent trip, I stayed at the renovated Northern Hotel—a gem of a hotel in the center of downtown, alive with many bars and restaurants. I enjoyed Doc Harper’s Martini Bar and Jake’s Steak House.

The Yellowstone Art Museum, founded in 1964, has an impressive collection of artists from Montana and the surrounding region. The museum moved into its current home in 1990 with two floors of gallery space. I was delighted to find some of my favorite artists, including Neltje and Theodore Waddell (I love Waddell’s “Kass Family Portrait").

Throughout the exhibit space, there are quotes from artists, this one by Walla Walla, Washington, artist Brad Rude about making connections: “Animals or people move, even mountains erupt as volcanoes, the wind blows, everything is moving and establishing new connections.” 

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