This summer, NPR's Destination Art series went off the beaten path to visit small to midsized North American cities that have cultivated lively arts scenes. We asked you, our NPR audience, to tell us about your favorite art towns. Several visitors and residents wrote in to recommend Livingston, Mont.
What's it like in Livingston?
"It's the better version of Jackson Hole, Wyo.! ... Dramatic scenery, beautiful summer, potentially harsh winters. Everything you need to love and hate life to the max. Art doesn't come easy!" — Calvin Fehrenkamp, student, Tucson, Ariz.
"An eclectic artist hangout where writers and artists mix with ranchers, fishermen and Hollywood castaways — an authentic Old West town with a stunning mountain backdrop and lots of great food, galleries, live theater and music. ... A diverse population, a nice blend of old and new Montana." — Brad Bunkers, Livingston, Mont.
"Originally settled as a railroad stop, it is situated just east of the Rockies, where the land begins to flatten into Midwest plains. A gorgeous setting for a thriving, multi-medium arts scene. ... Writers, artists, sculptors and actors, mixed all up in a big stew pot with ranchers and the rest of us common folk." — Stewart Parker, CEO, Infectious Disease Research Institute, Seattle, Wash.
"The views are breathtaking. The wind is outrageous and blows away the feeble folks. It also steers the pretentious toward other places. The residents are eclectic and hardy." — Mira Trafton, waitstaff, Chico Hot Springs Resort, Livingston, Mont.
"Once a year — usually late August/early September — there's a Park County Studio Tour. ... Participating artists open up their studios (often their own homes) and welcome you in to view how they create their art." — Janice Jerrells, editorial consultant, Livingston, Mont.
A perfect day in Livingston?
"1. Coffee at the Coffee Crossing. 2. A float (with or without fly rods) down the Yellowstone River with your brown-bag lunch and your camera. 3. Happy hour at the Murray Bar. 4. Every [fourth] Friday in the summer is the downtown Art Walk. ... Stroll along and catch some street food, wine and local art. 5. By the time you finally make it to bed, you lay there for a time thinking about the river, the Absaroka mountains, the people and the art. You are formulating your next visit. The only unfortunate thing is that you might be slightly sunburned." — Mira Trafton, waitstaff, Chico Hot Springs Resort, Livingston, Mont.
"The perfect day starts off with breakfast at Pinky's Cafe to fill up for a long day of fly fishing on the Yellowstone. ... After a long day on the river ... I would head to the [2nd Street] Bistro in the historic Murray Hotel. The Bistro is well-known for its locally grown and raised prepared meals and infused vodkas. From there I would seek out any live music in town and listen the night away." — Shannan Piccolo, civil deputy attorney for Park County, board member for Park County Friends of the Arts and the Danforth Gallery Board of Directors, Livingston, Mont.