University Relations and Communications

Northcutt Steele Gallery presents ‘Flow’ exhibition and related community events

Flowing Streams, Falling Water, and Cascades. 

Three works from Sherri Cornett’s Grottoes series from left to right: Flowing Streams, Falling Water, and Cascades. All mixed media, variable dimensions, 2015. 



January 19, 2016



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


Exhibition from Jan. 28 through March 18 in the Northcutt Steele Gallery; special community events to be held Feb. 11, Feb. 18 and Feb. 25


MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — Northcutt Steele Gallery at MSU Billings presents “Flow,” an interactive exhibition, complemented by community events that are centered around water rights and conservation.


“Flow”is a socially-engaged project where the exhibition of art and interdisciplinary installations set the framework and jumping off point for community conversations about water issues, rights and usage through interactive events, said gallery director Leanne Gilbertson.


Through the project, Gilbertson and MSUB alumna Sherri Cornett have created opportunities for community interaction, where the gallery has been treated as a laboratory—a space for experimentation, dialogue and collaboration.


The installation highlights Cornett’s “Grottoes” series—13 wall-mounted, mixed media, sculptures and video mediations. The exhibition includes additional works juried from submissions from the MSU Billings and Rocky Mountain College communities.


In addition to Cornett’s installation, several community events will encourage water-themed dialogue.


"This form of art incorporates concepts used in social sciences— community, society, empowerment, agency, and/or political philosophy—and can be described as social practice art, dialogic art, participatory art, research-based or collaborative art,” Gilbertson says. “It goes beyond the traditional experience of art to create an environment where viewers, participants, artists and civic leaders are encouraged to think outside their own understanding and establish a more comprehensive and informed perspective about how water affects our lives and livelihoods.” 


Community events include:


Readings and Musical Improvisation
Tami Haaland, MSUB English, Philosophy & Modern Languages professor and John Roberts, music professor, and their students will present a series of water-related readings and musical improvisation related to the exhibition. Free & open to public. Light reception, provided by MSU Billings library, follows.  


Thursday, Feb. 11, 5 to 7 p.m. at Northcutt Steele Gallery, MSU Billings


Film Screening/Discussion
"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. 


Thursday, Feb. 18, 5 to7 p.m. Northcutt Steele Gallery and Library Room 148.


“Voice of the River” Symposium and Community Conversation
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:

  • Susan J. Gilbertz, Ph.D., Director, Environmental Studies Program. Montana State University Billings; Director, Yellowstone River Cultural Inventory (2006)
  • Warren Kellogg, Chair, Technical Advisory Group, Yellowstone River Cumulative Effects Analysis
  • Carrie La Seur, Ph.D., J.D., Attorney for energy and environmental issues on behalf of farmers, ranchers, and Native Americans
  • Kayhan Ostevar, Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science, Rocky Mountain College
  • 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

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


Thursday, Feb. 25, 4:30 p.m. to 8.30 p.m., Northcutt Steele Gallery and Library Room 148.


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

For more project information: