“I’m in a bit of a rush when I see a really beautiful painting and have an eclectic point of view and so it was both progressive and instantaneous,” he said.
In 2003, the gallery organized its first “Paint Out” with the new Montana Painter’s Alliance. Artists spent a week traveling to sites around Missoula to paint outdoor scenes, a tradition the Dana has upheld every summer.
In 2003, Dana started working with one of her renowned artists, Robert Moore. Dana bought one of Moore’s paintings years before she even opened the gallery. Moore, who lives in Burley, Idaho, west of Pocatello, was interested but asked if Dana would be willing to come and pick up the paintings so they didn’t have to ship them.
In his studio, Moore mentors young painters, many of whom have ended up in the Dana stable, such as Meyer, Thompson and Francis Switzer. Overall, Dana has tried to help young artists build their careers. Regardless of his age, he has tried to work with people who are exceptional or who have potential and who are easy to work with.
The gallery has won numerous “Best of Missoula” polls and has hosted a nationwide Oil Painters of America exhibit, an event typically held in cities like Chicago and Seattle.
It has moved to its current location on the corner of Broadway and Higgins, quadrupling its space from the original 1,000 square foot gallery. The Danas own the gallery property and will lease it to Rafferty.