Alumna donates art to support scholarships

Billings artist and MSU Billings graduate Kira Fercho lives by the philosophy that paying it forward is what keeps a person growing and moving along; once you master a level, make sure that foundation is strong before moving upward.

Fercho’s ties to MSU Billings began during her senior year of high school in Shepherd, Montana, by taking night classes at the university. The academic challenges were just what Fercho needed – plus, MSUB was close to home and affordable. She attributes landing jobs, starting her career, and becoming a successful businesswoman to the connections gained during her time as a student.

Professors are an important influence in a student’s life, and Fercho credits several art professors for their part in her success. Peter Warren guided her to develop her drawing and painting skillset; Connie Landis encouraged her to complement her art degree with an education degree. By sharing her story, Patricia Vettel-Becker inspired Fercho to push past her situation as a young single mother to achieve higher education. In 2000, Fercho graduated with a bachelor’s degree in art and education. Eight years later, she returned to MSU Billings to take night classes while working full time.

“I was full of ambition and low on funds,” said Fercho, adding that she would not have been able to achieve her Master of Science in Clinical Rehab and Mental Health Counseling without the help of family and scholarships. 

True to her mantra, Fercho generously shares her artistic talent. Beginning in 2012, she has donated annually to the Wine & Food Festival live auction. Fercho applies oil paints in the impasto style, creating a three-dimensional effect with thick layers using brushes and painting knives. Her vibrant, energetic works spark emotion in viewers, and her beautiful pieces are a highlight festival guests look forward to each May.

“The most successful and happy people are the ones who give the most,” Fercho said.

With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the cancellation of Wine & Food Festival 2020, Fercho presented an idea to continue her support of MSU Billings student scholarships. An online auction of three of her original pieces results from Fercho’s commitment to pay it forward, and 100 percent of the auction proceeds will benefit the Wine & Food Festival scholarship lot. Bid to own one of her incredible works of art Oct. 17 through Nov. 8, 2020, at, and see the pieces in person at North Acre Real Estate in Billings through October.

Fercho is an outstanding example of dedicated MSU Billings students with ambitions to make a difference in the world as alumni. By joining in this unique show of support, you may be one of the lucky people to enjoy Fercho’s work while assisting MSU Billings students through your purchase.