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The luckiest artist ever, and Missoula's thoughts on concerts



Even as you read this, Dudley Dana is proving himself to be the luckiest artist on earth. While you’re sitting there in your living room trying to read this with the TV on, or dripping burrito sauce on the paper at some restaurant, or looking at this over the lip of a lukewarm beer at a neighborhood tavern, Dana is hiking around the quiet, sweet-smelling glades of Glacier National Park, taking pictures. And he’s there by invitation. What a life.

Earlier this summer, Missoula photographer Dudley Dana was tapped to be one of Glacier Park’s artists in residence, one of only a half-dozen to claim the honor this year, and the first photographer ever to be part of the program. Duties of the post include little more than settling in at a park-owned cabin on the north shore of Lake MacDonald, and then doing whatever comes naturally. In return, the Park Service just asks for one of the artworks to come of the two-week stint, to be used in travelling exhibitions, publications, or public programs. Like we said, what a life.

When we spoke to him shortly before he left for Glacier on Aug. 28, Dana seemed appropriately laid-back about his assignment. “I photographed Yellowstone pretty religiously for 20 years, and I’d love to do the same thing with Glacier,” he said. “This will be a great opportunity to do that now, to be completely immersed. So I’ll just keep my eyes open and see what happens.

We said it before, and we’ll say it again: What a life. An exhibit of Dana’s Glacier pictures is planned to show at the Dana Gallery around Christmastime. We’ll keep you posted.

Join us now as we take you on a trip to last summer. Remember that? It actually rained a couple of times. The closest thing we had to a fire emergency was that spark-up on Mount Sentinel. And everybody was up in arms about the noise in Caras Park. Or so we thought. At the time, the spleen that downtown residents were venting—mainly over the Bravo Summer Concert Series—seemed justified. But a year later, everything’s changed. Bravo has bowed out of downtown, residents have settled down, and Caras Park has gone back to being the proving grounds of vagrants and skateboarders. Which is why we took note last week, when the Missoula Downtown Association released its report concerning last year’s flap. By way of a mail-in survey, the MDA set out to get answers to the questions that dogged last year’s concerts. Were they too loud? Were they profane? Did anyone really care as much as the screaming headlines and adenoidal protests wanted us to believe? You decide:

Number of surveys sent to Missoula residents: 2,000

Number of valid surveys that were returned: 561

Number of complaints filed last year about noise in Caras Park: 337

Percentage of all survey respondents who said they were affected by vulgar language from events at Caras Park: 40

Percentage of respondents who live near Caras Park who said they were affected by vulgar language: 30

Percentage of respondents who said they were not affected “at all” by noise from Caras Park: 78

Percentage of respondents who live near Caras Park who said they were not affected “at all:” 68

Percentage of all respondents who said they were affected “a great deal” or “somewhat” by noise: 16

Percentage who wanted the concerts in the park to stop: 7

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