Chicago, Chicago—-That city plans to bump up its international arts scene by repeating its successful “Gallery Weekend Chicago” this fall. The event is a compact arts festival, targeted to attract the nation’s highest end art collectors and curators to the city, and expose them in a very pointed way to the best of Chicago’s trending art. Here’s what “Gallery Weekend Chicago” is all about…..
A dozen of Chicago’s best contemporary art galleries participate. Visiting curators and collectors are chauffered to each of the galleries and museums for private tours; tours are led by Chicago’s own curators and arts specialists–arts historians, I would hope, and museum directors. Reservations at the city’s finest restaurants are secured, special menus planned. Private VIP parties happen. Chicago’s own prominent collectors help guide the process, mingle with the weekend’s guests, and sing the praises of local arts.
Chicago throws in a private boat tour. Jackson Hole’s version might arrange a series of educational expeditions into Yellowstone, Grand Teton National Park, and other regions. Jackson Hole’s exclusive dude ranches and collectors could open their doors. Eco-tours, river floats…you get the picture. Chicago has an official hotel for their event; we have so many great lodges that we might be able to rotate them annually. And why stop here? Let’s reach out to our friends in Cody~~~the Buffalo Bill Historical Museum, Simpson-Gallagher Gallery and other arts specialists would be partners. Schedule artists’ studio tours, arrange pack trips. Dubois is pretty cool!
Recruit our best photographers to take these folks out on photographic safaris. Cayuse Western Americana and Fighting Bear Antiques could come up with some very special programming, I’m betting! The Teton Science Schools, the Raptor Center—both terrific conservation destinations. Charlie Craighead, Terry Tempest Williams, Todd Wilkinson, Adam Duncan Harris, Tom Mangelsen…think of the wealth of speakers!
Our “Gallery Weekend Jackson Hole” would differ from Chicago’s—and likely have a much different title—because we have our own unique setting, the most exciting landscapes, and a world of science and conservation knowledge and adventure to offer the world. Make our event 100% linked to environment. The opportunity exists to provide extraordinary out-in-the-field experiences that are the kind of eye-opening, transformative discoveries that bond people to the concept of valuing and preserving wilderness and wildlife. Visitors return home as wildlife and wilderness ambassadors, and we extend our tourism season.
I know what you’re thinking—This is Fall Arts Festival redux. And my feeling is that Jackson’s seasonal tourism activity won’t change seismically. But I see such a series of events happening in late spring or in October, all presenting opportunities to join the arts and the environment together in ever more powerful ways.
Checked out The Rose last week. I and my friend were the only two people in there, a little after 5pm, mid-week. No dinners there, but patrons have their choice of specially designed snacks, and the bar’s angle is that it’s strictly a custom-cocktails lounge. Cocktails there are an art form; I chose a bourbon-based drink. Delicious and dangerous. Our bartender was very friendly, telling us that he and other staffers studied months to learn the special ingredients and mixologies The Rose offers. It’s located upstairs in the Pink Garter Plaza.
Across the way from the bar’s entrance is the old Pink Garter Theatre Lobby. Local artists use the space to exhibit. Ben Roth’s art is immediately recognizable—he doesn’t even have to sign his name. However, other artists’ creations are not as recognizable, and many works are unsigned. There are no identifying tags or prices or ways to contact the artists. The lobby is poorly lighted, and the work is hard to see. It’s nice to have that space utilized for locals, but the lobby’s curator should upgrade the experience for artists and for visitors. In its current state, the space is depressing. Artists, if you hang your work, be proud of your work. Let us know where you are, who you are.