University Relations and Communications

Northcutt Steele Gallery presents ‘Words on Water’ poetry and jazz in concert

Words on Water: Poetry and Jazz in Concert. Readings and improvisational response.



February 3, 2016



Leanne Gilbertson, Ph.D. Northcutt Steele Gallery Director, 657-2903
University Relations & Communications, 657-2266


Concert will be held in the Northcutt Steele Gallery Feb. 11, from 5 to 7 p.m. other related community events to be held Feb. 18 and Feb. 25


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — A series of water-related readings and musical improvisations will be presented Feb. 11, featuring Tami Haaland, professor of English, and John Roberts, professor of music, and their students, as part of MSU Billings Northcutt Steele Gallery’s exhibition “Flow,” a series of community events that are centered on water rights and conversation. 


The performances begin at 5:30 p.m., with a catered reception to follow as part of the “Flow” exhibition, which features artist Sherri Cornett and MSUB students and alumni. The evening is free and open to the public.


Creative writing students Amelia Bacon, Desiree Kling, Thomas Mendenhall, Sierra Parcel and Sarah Williams will read from their written work, all of which are in response to the exhibition as well as poems that address themes of water.


Along with Roberts, music students Tyler Briceno, on drums, Juanilla Chavis, on bass, and Drew McDowell, on guitar, will improvise responses to each reading. Additional jazz selections will also be performed.


“’Flow’ is a socially-engaged art project where the exhibition and installations set the framework and jumping off point for a series of community conversations about water issues, rights and usage,” Gallery Director Leanne Gilbertson said. “The gallery is being treated as a laboratory—a space for experimentation, dialogue and collaboration.”


Community Events:


Film Screening/Discussion
Feb. 18, 5-7 p.m. Northcutt Steele Gallery and Library Room 148.


"Mixing Oil and Water" - filmed and edited by Eric Warren with community discussion about the development of oil and gas and energy systems in relation to water scarcity and quality. Facilitated by Mr. Warren and specialists from Northern Plains Resource Council. 

Free and open to the public. Light reception provided by MSU Billings library. 


“Voice of the River” Symposium and Community Conversation
Feb. 25, 4:30-8.30 p.m., Northcutt Steele Gallery and Library Room 148.


Presentations and audience discussion will focus specifically on the riparian and channel migration zones of the Yellowstone River, which were identified in the Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Analysis and its sub-study, the Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory. The significance of these zones were identified as the least understood aspects of the river, which have major impact on future use of the river by land owners, recreationalists, and agriculturists as well as survival of species. This discussion will seek to broaden understanding and enlighten planning efforts by user groups, civic leaders, and policy makers. 


A dramatization by MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College students of comments and perspectives of user groups collected during the Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory will begin this event. Poster presentations by MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College students will follow the discussion. Panelists include:

  1. Susan J. Gilbertz, Ph.D.,Director, Environmental Studies Program. Montana State University Billings; Director, Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory (2006)
  2. Warren Kellogg, Chair, Technical Advisory Group, Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Analysis
  3. Carrie La Seur, Ph.D., J.D., Attorney for energy and environmental issues on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans
  4. Kayhan Ostevar, Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science, Rocky Mountain College
  5. Burt Williams, Manager, The Nature Conservancy (retired), Member, Technical Advisory Group, Yellowstone River Community Effects Analysis, Prior Member, Resource Advisory Committee, Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Analysis

Light reception provided by MSU Billings library.


Youth Outreach
MSU Billings art education students have been working with regional K-12 students to create water-themed 5 x 7 panels, which will be installed in the Outer Gallery of MSU Billing’s Liberal Arts Building throughout the exhibition, Jan. 28 through March 18.