Jay Contway: Montana's storyteller in bronze

The cowboy way of life isn't as common in Montana as it used to be almost a century ago. But as times change, one artist continues to cement that lifestyle and legacy, through hand-crafted sculptures featured at the yearly Western Art Week. 

Since the late 1960's, artist Jay Contway has molded hundreds of bronze figures featuring ranchers, Native American and western animals.

After working in a few foundries, Jay decided to start his own in the early 70's near Great Falls with a slab, a vacuum cleaner and the few tools he had.

Jay's wife Lynn says, "He poured into this first furnace that he had to have, he poured raw gas into that. Why he didn't blow himself and the whole country up is beyond any of us."

With time, money and some trial and error, his skills, art career and foundry grew over the years. 

It's since closed, but Jay has two others in Belgrade and Bozeman. And at the age of 84, they continue to help him keep creative control while maintaining his standard for quality. 

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