Lonely Planet Writer

You can explore Montana's epic sculpture park through the pages of a new book

A unique outdoor visitor experience set against the backdrop of Montana’s unmistakable landscape is being celebrated in a beautiful new book, available now. Tippet Rise Art Center, located north of Yellowstone National Park, is an epic, 10,000-acre sculpture park that’s home to some absolutely incredible pieces of art.  

Calder: The pieces are set over 10,000 acres. Image by   2018 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo by Andre Costantini

The centre was founded by husband and wife team, Peter and Cathy Halstead. “Tippet Rise has been our lifelong dream”, they tell Lonely Planet. “Peter is a poet and pianist, and Cathy’s a painter, so music and art were deeply ingrained in us, even before we met. We felt compelled to create a place where music, art and nature could be experienced in harmony with one another. After dreaming of it for so many years and working with an incredibly skilled team of landscape architects, artists, sound designers, engineers, and a whole slew of other talented people, Tippet Rise opened in 2016. The result has been beyond our wildest imaginings.”

Beartooth Portal: ‘Beartooth Portal’ is one of the park’s epic sculptures. Image by Iwan Baan.

The pair knew as soon as they saw this ranch that it was the right setting. “We looked around the world for the perfect site”, they explain. “When we first saw the ranch that would become the core of Tippet Rise, we both instantly knew we’d found the center’s home. The landscape is majestic and awe-inspiring, rolling hills stretch for miles in front of you. The hills became our sourcebook for all of the decisions we made – from where to situate the music barn and our hiking trails so people could experience the rise and fall of the land, to where we placed sculptures, so visitors would crest a hill and spy a work in the distance.”

Domo: A performance takes place in the Domo. Image by Iwan Baan.

Aside from the impressive sculptures that dot the massive park, the center hosts various events, with a busy programme coming up over the next few months. “There’s so much to see and do”, say the Halsteads. “Guests can explore the 10,260-acre working ranch and its sculptures via nine miles of hiking and biking trails, or by shuttle van. As well as that, a summer concert series will take place from 6 July to 8 September, and performances are given primarily in our 150-seat Olivier Music Barn. Pre-concert lectures take place at the Tiara, a 100-seat outdoor, wall-less acoustic shell. Weather permitting, Saturday morning concerts will also take place at the open-air Domo, a 98-foot-long, 16-foot-tall, acoustically rich sculptural structure designed by Ensamble Studio. Concert-goers and center tour guests can also take part in our Friday and Saturday night barbecues, overseen by Cordon Bleu-trained chef Nick Goldman and Wendi Reed of Wild Flower Kitchen.”  

Peter and Cathy are delighted to be able to share center imagery with the world via the new book. “We’re thrilled to have collaborated with Princeton Architectural Press on the creation of a monograph about Tippet Rise”, they say. “Tippet Rise Art Center includes over two hundred stunning color plates, essays about the genesis of the center and our experiences here, statements by the wonderful artists whose work we are proud to have commissioned and displayed, and poems by Peter, inspired by the land at Tippet Rise.”