Former Great Falls legislator, longtime art teacher Jean Price dies

Jean Price

(The Electric) Four-term Democratic legislator Jean Price died Monday of pancreatic cancer. She was a beloved longtime art teacher in Great Falls, remembered statewide for her contributions in the Legislature.

The Montana Democratic Party’s executive director, Monica Lindeen, released the following statement:

“Jean’s passing is a reminder to always lend a voice to Montanans who need a champion,” Lindeen said. “Jean encouraged the artist in each of her students and inspired her colleagues in the legislature to never back down when it comes to fighting for those who cannot fight for themselves. A lifelong Democrat, Jean fought for our shared Democratic values and was well-loved by members of all political stripes. Her loss is felt by Montanans in every corner of our state.”

Her illness was announced at a September candidate forum hosted by Great Falls Rising.

She taught art at Great Falls High School for 35 years and founded the Urban Art Project in 2005 when she proposed that the 11 display windows at the city’s south parking garage at the corner of First Avenue South and Fourth Street be used for art installations.

The exhibit opened on Nov. 5, 2005 with art by Jack Fisher Jr., Julia M. Becker, Vickie Meguire, Terry Thall, Rachel Kaiser, MSU-COT Design Students, Grayce Holzheimer, GFHS Sculpture Students, Jean Price, Lisa Easton, and Ruth Franklin.

After the success of the first exhibit, Price made a formal proposal to the Business Improvement District and the Urban Art Project has been in existence since.

Cortni Harant, an art teacher at Great Falls High will be taking over management of the Urban Art Project.

On Monday, Gov. Steve Bullock released a statement about Price, saying:

“Throughout her years, Jean Price was an inspiration to her students and the community of Great Falls. In the legislature, she always led with the care of others in mind – whether it was making playgrounds more accessible for kids with disabilities or supporting key measures that helped veterans, seniors and students. Jean was a good friend and a great servant. Her passion for service and indomitable spirit will be deeply missed.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Tester also issued a statement Monday:

“Jean Price dedicated her entire adult life to public service, both as an enthusiastic educator and an effective legislator. She is someone that the state of Montana, especially folks in Great Falls, will sorely miss.”