Just the other day I stumbled on a comment on the meaning of public art by none other than German poet Rainer Maria Rilke: “….even for our grandparents, a house, a well, a familiar tower, were infinitely more intimate. (In these) the hope and meditation of our forefathers once entered. The animated things with which we share our lives are coming to an end.”
As Ronald Lee Fleming noted, Rilke’s words are pretty pessimistic. But they are truthful, as not a day goes by when we aren’t reminded of gargantuan urban sprawls, the de-humanization of cities, horrific oil spills, and even technology’s hold over our daily lives. We plow forward, not minding—in fact not realizing—that the corpulent and complicated systems we build can ruin everyone and everything at any moment. Most of the time, we can’t fix what we broke.
These days, I’m lost in memories, often recalling my family’s years in Southern California. In the 60’s, Los Angeles was still funky and open and fluid. We camped and hiked in Yosemite, going full day without encountering other people, let alone traffic jams. Along Pacific Coast Highway, beaches were clear. We swam with the seals, rode bareback through L.A.’s canyons.
Here in the east, my family’s land is marked by stone walls unlike any I or anyone else has ever seen. This country is open, flowing and calming. But it is the stone walls my great-grandfather built, marking the boundaries of “Tranquillity Farm,” at once anchored and rippling, that landmark this place.
“It is the intimacy of memory that people cherish,” says Fleming.
It is a joy to see the public art movement taking hold in Jackson, thanks to the dreaming and writing and work and vision of our creative community. Executed correctly, our public art initiatives will enrich what is already so special.
The National Museum of Wildlife Art’s new Sculpture Trail will connect the public and the Museum to the valley in a new way. Children and adults will gain valuable adventure and memories as they explore its surprises and messages.
The new ArtSpot, premiering June 21 at 650 West Broadway’s intersection with Highway 89, provides space for local artists–generation to generation—to share their “sense of community by depicting shared themes, valuesand experiences.” (There’s a party/fundraiser that day; glass panels will be for sale and refreshments served on JH Whitewater’s deck.)
A call for artists to submit proposals for public art that will become a part of the Home Ranch Building on North Cache. The work will establish a new dynamic on the north side of Jackson. www.jhpublicart.org
Artist Wendell Field (call me, Wendell, for crying out loud! Or at least email…don’t get shy on me!) is resuming work on what promises to be a magical mural; Field is painting his mural on the Brew Pub’s exterior wall.
Go learn about the preservation of Teton County’s historic barns at “Barn Again!”, a lecture at Teton County Library on Monday, June 21, at 6:00 pm.
Congratulations, Jackson! As we look for ways to salvage and re-energize our community and valley, Jackson’s arts community can be very proud. In this recession, what other local sector can say they’re responding to circumstances as well as Jackson’s arts?