HISTORY OF THE NORTHWEST RENDEZVOUS GROUP
The Northwest Rendezvous Group of Artists (NWR) traces its roots back to 1972 and the beginning of the show known as the Rendezvous of Western Art held at the Montana Historical Society. Several of the biggest names in the world of Western Art participated in that fledgling show. Artists such as Joe Beeler, John Clymer, Fred Fellows, J.K. Ralston, Bob Scriver and Gordon Snidow were among the artists that participated. Sales were slim but an annual event came from it.
A few years after its inception, Jack Hines and Jessica Zemsky contacted Bob Morgan about some ideas they had for the show’s continuation. An idea that kept recurring was of forming a solid core of artists, all professionals, into a group so that there would be twenty or thirty artists on board automatically. Morgan used his knowledge of artists in the West and Hines and Zemsky used their knowledge of fine artists in the East who would probably want to participate. Thus, the Northwest Rendezvous of Artists was born. It was determined that membership would be by invitation only and only after acceptance by the membership, thus guaranteeing quality, versatility and continuity for the Group. It was also agreed that each year “guest artists” would be selected to show with the Group and from these guests would come new members. That policy is still in force today.
After a period of time, sponsorship of Rendezvous by the Historical Society ended and the Helena Arts Council became the sponsor. Then the Arts Council and NWR had a parting of the ways and the show moved to Park City, Utah for 4 years. In 1997 there was no show.
From the return to Helena in 1998, sales were brisk and the partnership of the Civic Center Board and the Montana Historical Society both benefited from their efforts. Funds from the show went to the Civic Center Improvement Fund and the Montana Historical Society Art Acquisition Fund. This partnership lasted until 2008 and at that time the Civic Center Board pulled out and the Montana Historical Society undertook sponsorship on their own. The Historical Society sponsorship lasted thru 2012.
A new chapter of the NWR Group continues on. Many of the members have achieved National prominence in their respective disciplines and have gone on to insure a place in the history of art in the West. The Group currently consists of 38 members, the camaraderie of the Group prevails and friendships born of like interests continue to prosper.
(Much of what is written here was originally written in 2000 by one of the founding members of NWR, R.A. “Bob” Morgan, and is either re-written or used in it’s entirety with permission of Mr. Morgan.)