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GREAT FALLS, Mont. – In what could be a credit union first, Montana Federal Credit Union has sparked an arts movement here. According to Montana FCU President/CEO Wally Berry, playing host to an art exhibit was a matter of luck and timing. A member who represented various local artists approached Berry about displaying artwork in one of the credit union’s branches and Berry says there was space for it in a recently built facility. “It’s a win-win for everyone involved. Local artists get more recognition and hopefully generate interest in the community as far as the arts are concerned and it allows our credit union to get some exposure in the community as a main supporter of the arts.” According to the member who started the ball rolling – Caroleen Vaughan – she hopes the move will build the town’s growing reputation as an arts mecca. Every 90 days a new artist’s work will be featured at the credit union. Currently Big Sandy, Montana’s self-taught artist Brenda Yirsa’s work is on display. “I’ve lived in Montana more than 20 years, so I like to paint oils and pastels of the West,” said Yirsa. “Every day, I’m still delighted by what I see when I look out my window.” Yirsa is also a quilter and is working on a series of area landscape and people paintings. She hopes to paint what she calls Montana’s Natural Treasures – the 43 State parks and many of the 320 fishing access sites. Berry says members have really been enjoying the exhibit. This isn’t the first time Montana FCU has given a boost to the arts. Earlier this year the credit union teamed up with Great Falls Credit Union to sponsor Shakespeare in the Park. “Supporting the arts just seems like a natural fit for us. The artwork also helps dress up the credit union a little and gives people in the community here not just members a different perspective on our credit union,” said Berry. “But we were clear that this was something to get recognition for artist more than the credit union.” [email protected]

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