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Enjoying Arts and Chocolate

The Artists’ Atelier in Great Falls hosts ‘Flowers and Chocolate’ show.

"Tea Lady" Laurie Bell talks to attendees as she demonstrates how to pair various types of chocolates and teas on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10.

"Tea Lady" Laurie Bell talks to attendees as she demonstrates how to pair various types of chocolates and teas on Sunday afternoon, Feb. 10. Jennifer Benitz

An eventful weekend filled with sweet delights for both the taste buds and the eyes at the Artists’ Atelier Studio reception proved to be a popular outing among Great Falls residents and art enthusiasts alike. On Saturday, Feb. 9, and Sunday, Feb. 10, the Artists’ Atelier in Great Falls opened its studio to the public for its show, “Flowers and Chocolate”—a theme inspired by Valentine’s Day.

During the two-day reception, visitors were able to check out paintings, collages and photography on display by the studio’s 13 artists while tasting chocolate samples and talking to many of the artists who were present.

“I always enjoy the interaction between the artists and visitors,” said photographer Terri Parent who organized the weekend’s show. “Some people come to see specific artists, others come to see everything and some people just come to socialize. It’s just fun to see people enjoying themselves.”

The reception also included a presentation by “tea lady” Laurie Bell on Sunday afternoon. Twelve visitors listened to Bell as she demonstrated how to pair various types of chocolates and teas while getting a taste for themselves.

While Saturday afternoon was busier than Sunday, the studio remained buzzing with chatter and visitors throughout the weekend, with about 50 visitors coming through in all.

“We had both existing customers come by and new people, not necessarily just Great Falls [residents] which was nice,” said painter and long-time Great Falls resident Judith St. Ledger-Roty as the show wrapped up.

Also in the studio was photographer Walt Lawrence with many of his photos on display, particularly from his series “Images of Great Falls.” The other artists, some of whom were working on various pieces while visitors walked around, include Jill Banks, Michela Mansuino, Mollie Vardell, Chris Rollins, John Francis McCabe, Elaine Elinksy, Roberta Pruett Beasley, Jennifer Duncan, Tina Learned and Brenda Drake.

“My expectation isn’t that they come and buy,” said St. Ledger-Roty, “but that they come and enjoy themselves. [The show] is a social outlet as well.”

With various shows occurring throughout the year, the Artists’ Atelier welcomes the public to enjoy art among talented artists of differing interests and skills. The Artists’ Atelier’s next reception will be for Tina Learned’s solo exhibit, “Botanical Gardens,” on Friday, March 8.