The new Tippet Rise Art Center, settled along the rolling plains just beneath the Beartooth Mountains in Fishtail, Mont., opens to the public today. Founded by philanthropists Cathy and Peter Halstead, the 11,500-acre sheep and cattle ranch also serves as an artistic haven celebrating multiple creative media and explores how they respond to the surrounding natural environment. For the next specially curated seven-week season, local residents and visitors alike will get to experience the union of art, architecture, and live music to inaugurate the new center's tradition of weekly performances.
Two spaces were built to host live performances. The first venue, Olivier Music Barn, is made of local timber whose form is a classic timber frame with a specially designed pitched roof to elevate the performances’ sounds. The acoustical design for the barn was conceived by Alban Bassuet, acoustician and Tippet Rise director, who envisioned a regionally sensitive building that humbled its inhabitants. The art organization tapped on architect Laura Viklund of Gunnstock Timber Framing, based out of Powell, Wyo., and international engineering firm Arup to realize it. Pianist Nikolai Demidenko will kick off the summer in Olivier Music Barn.
The second venue is the Tiara Acoustic Shell, an open-air, portable edifice that envelops up to 100 audience members with an elevated timber arc. This arc shades performers and audience members, and reflects the musicians’ sounds from a semi-circular stage meeting the edges of the shell’s supporting beams. The open spaces between the buttresses allow for expansive views of the nearby mountains and open fields. It was engineered by Willem Boning of Arup’s Soundlab.
Four installations by five artists were also realized on the site. Large-scale installation pieces include works by Chapel Hill, N.C.-based sculptor Patrick Dougherty; New York structural artist Stephen Talasnik; abstract expressionist Mark di Suvero, also of New York; and Spanish firm Ensamble Studio, led by principals Antón Garcia-Abril and Débora Mesa. Each of their works respond to the surrounding landscape and embraces the bare elements of the Montana prairie.