Artists Ryan Jolley, Jake Gaedtke, Teresa Garland Warner, Colt Idol, Turner Vinson, and Nate Closson contribute their works to this exhibition to preserve in memory what our waters should look like, inspiring viewers to do their part to restore what might be tainting the picture in reality.



Cassens Fine Art is proud to present, “Whispering Waters,” an exhibition dedicated to preserving in memory what our waters should look like and inspiring viewers to do their part to restore what might be tainting the picture in reality. The exhibition features the works of Ryan Jolley, Jake Gaedtke, Teresa Garland Warner, Colt Idol, Turner Vinson, and Nate Closson.


“We need to have the beautiful upheld as a goal to reach toward, and hopefully someday the ideal and reality come so close that you realize they are one,” says Jolley.


Jolley grew up on the Bitterroot River bottom. “The river was a constant source of pleasure and enjoyment for my family,” he shared. “It seems I was always either walking along the river looking for deer sheds, morel mushrooms, or other treasures. I would ride my horse for miles along the riverbanks, stopping to fish or swim in my favorite secret places. Not only was the river a place for recreation for us, but it was also a critical life source for our farm. My family's 200-acre ranch depended on irrigation water, and my grandfather owned one of the oldest water rights on the Bitterroot River. Every spring we would clean the irrigation ditches and open up the headgates, watching the life-giving water rush to our pastures. That understanding of the critical importance of water to our Valley's livelihood is deeply ingrained in me. Having a chance to paint a river scene, or a creek that will feed into the river, has special meaning in my heart because of it. Water - especially our Bitterroot River, is life.”


For Gaedtke, painting waters of all kinds has been a major subject for his work. “Water brings life to this planet to all living things. To quote Norman McClain in his novelette A River Runs Through It, ‘I am haunted by waters.’” 


Gaedtke, along with Warner, reminds us that our national parks were created because of artists such as Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Carl Rungius, John Henry Twachtman, and Thomas Worthington Whittredge. The work of these artists had a direct influence on Congress to preserve the beauty of the wilderness in America. “Artists bring out the beauty and necessity of our waters and our lands and in turn, have a huge influence on the preservation of these lands and water and the need to be the stewards of the wilderness,” Gaedtke points out. “Art has the power to move people like nothing else,” Warner chimes in.


Michelle Cassens, Owner, Framer, and Curator of Cassens Fine Art shares that in talking with Jolley, Gaedtke, and Warner, you become quick to see where art and conservation collide. “The painting on the wall becomes more than a painting and the artist behind it transforms into an activist, making us all realize that we all have the ability to instigate change and shape the future in our own unique ways.”


Hear more about this exhibition from some of the contributing artists here.


The public is invited to view this collection during its opening reception on February 2nd, 2024 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Cassens Fine Art and throughout the rest of the month. 10% of the proceeds from this exhibit’s sales will be donated to the Bitterroot Water Partnership to support their mission of leading reliable and intentional conservation initiatives that promote and provide clean, ample water for people and healthy habitats by working with key partners and our communities. For more information, visit


For more information about the exhibition, please visit, or contact the gallery at 406-363-4112.

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