Tippet Rise Art Center – Fishtail, Montana - Atlas Obscura

Fishtail, Montana

Tippet Rise Art Center

A working ranch doubles as a sustainable hub for world-renowned classical music and large-scale sculptures. 

Just two hours north of Yellowstone National Park, the Tippet Rise Art Center explores the union of architecture, sculpture, music, and the natural world. This working cattle and sheep ranch is home to a plethora of large-scale artworks and three elegantly designed concert venues, all situated on over 12,000 idyllic acres in Montana.

Inspired by the convergence of nature and art at upstate New York’s Storm King Center, philanthropic founders Cathy and Peter Halstead decided to open Tippet Rise in 2016. Their goal was to showcase some of the world’s best musicians and sculptural artworks, all set against the rustic backdrop of the Beartooth Mountains.

Because Tippet Rise is located within the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness, the founders wanted the site to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. The Halsteads worked closely with the Arup design firm to include various green elements in the site’s construction, including responsibly harvested wood, geothermal systems, energy-efficient lighting, and solar panels. In early 2019, the 150-seat Olivier Music Barn received LEED Gold certification (which is the second highest rating from the U.S. Green Building Council) because of its near-net-zero energy consumption.

Protecting the existing historical Montana ranchland was also a high priority. With the exception of the 10-acre site that houses the performance spaces and large-scale artworks, the majority of the land is used for cattle ranching. Visitors to Tippet Rise can catch glimpses of grazing ewes, lambs, heifers, bulls, and ranch horses, as well as a bucolic display of native flora and fauna during their trip.

There are over nine miles of connecting trails and gravel roads to explore the large-scale artworks, which can be seen either on foot, by mountain bike, or by van (you must make reservations ahead of time). The concert series is currently in its fourth season, with 23 indoor and outdoor recitals and chamber music performances scheduled for 2019.

Know Before You Go

Check the website for directions and be sure to print them out or write them down before you make your trip, as cell phone service is limited near the art center.

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