First art baby born to Jackson, Wyoming in the New Year: Art Spot ! The installation site is out of guarded condition and ready to roll in 2020.
According to press sources, 75 backers pitched in and resuscitated Art Spot’s funding. The Karns family contributed a starting gift, and a Kickstarter campaign raised $10,000 to meet the Art Spot’s needs. A new concrete foundation is planned, and the structure is currently in storage for the winter.
The Art Spot does bring an artist’s work to the attention of the public. It’s almost kind of a person now, with its own name, waving to passers by as they enter downtown. Most memorable and successful installations include its first, Suzanne Morlock’s shiny gold-knitted Charlie Brown sweater; that creative incarnation was notably followed by Sam Dowd’s awesome rocking canoe, John Frechette’s multi-colored glass, Mike Piggott’s Jenny Lake painting and Ryan Stolp’s tiny house. Inspired by his childhood treehouse, Stolp’s structure perhaps inadvertently connoted Jackson’s housing crisis.
Metallic, weathered, prickly and twisted, Art Spot’s frame looks like an old barbed wire fence. This is Wyoming, so that’s perfect. www.jhpublicart.org.
2019’s zeitgeist had to be the Jackson Hole Fine Art Fair (JHFAF) and the controversy surrounding its presence in Jackson. Though it’s not clear whether JHFAF will be returning during Fall Arts or at another time of year, artists are cogitating about what they can do to make themselves stand apart and reach a larger audience.
And that often entails taking their art someplace else. The “Jackson 5,” comprised of women artists September Vhay, Kathryn Mapes Turner, Kathy Wipfler, Amy Ringholz and Amy Lay, have packaged themselves together and will show as a group later this spring at Georgia’s Booth Museum. A Buckrail article invited readers to “meet the artists,” perhaps five of the most well-known women artists in Jackson. …. Wait, make that THE five most well-known women artists in Jackson.
The Booth chose these artists to spotlight in large part because of their sustained work ethic and history. A divide between those championing abstraction and those firmly in the representational art camp has been partially closed with this exhibition. Although, as Kathryn Turner points out, the artists’ styles differ they hold much in common; all are inspired by landscape they have called home.
“For decades,” says Turner, “We have each held a dedicated focus working hard as professional artists striving for our highest level of excellence and expression that we can achieve. This is why we are grateful to the Booth for recognizing that in this small town in Wyoming, great art is being made. Perhaps there is something in the water, because Jackson Hole is a hotbed of creativity and is recognized as the one of the top art centers in the country. Why is this? I believe it is because of the inspiration we receive from the natural world, the collective creative energy found in this community and the enterprising individuality that shaped the imagination of the West.”
Vhay notes that inspiration for the Jackson 5 sprung in part from an inquiry from the Booth.
“(There’s an interest) about the quality of artwork born from a small community in Wyoming,” says Vhay. “The common theme that the five of us bring to our artwork is our love of nature’s flora and fauna, which is abundant in this part of the West.”
Indeed, although Jackson is the Intermountain West’s gravitational arts center, it has proven difficult for many artists to get their work to markets outside our region. Though arts enthusiasts may often visit museums and galleries outside Wyoming that seem tailor made for both subject matter and the level of art Jackson artists execute, regional artists often can’t break intermountain isolation. Doing so requires persistent effort, mobility, financial ability, connections and no small degree of bravery. As a movement to include more women in national and international shows builds, we should look for ways to help women artists who aren’t yet able to make a full living with their art get noticed. In this Booth Museum exhibition, sights are set for a dialog between five very different artists working today. As a group they represent a shift in and greater acceptance of a future Western art aesthetic.
The great Impressionist school founder Claude Monet noted that he wished to capture the atmosphere surrounding him. As Daniel Zamani writes in “Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature,” Monet viewed his subject as insignificant. What he wanted to reproduce was the thing between him and his chosen motif. For Monet, a subject “barely” existed, because its appearance constantly changes. And aren’t artists interpreting what they see rather than simply copying? It must be so, otherwise arts would all sound the same note.
We know the Jackson 5, but the good folks of Georgia may not. Fasten your seatbelts, Georgia! www.boothmuseum.org
The Ninth Annual Driggs Snowscapes and Snow Ball happen January 14 – 18th, 2020, in Downtown Driggs, Idaho. Approximately ten professional and amateur snow sculpture artists converge on the city plaza to sculpt huge snow blocks into incredible public art sculptures. Viewers and participants can stomp the snow, volunteer, try their hand at sculpting, vote for their favorite snow sculpture and attend the January 18th Snow Ball! SO many opportunities in this one fun event that celebrates winter in Teton Valley. Presented by the Downtown Driggs Association. Check out all the dates and activities at www.driggssnowscapes.org
After 15 years at the Wyoming Business Council, Shawn Reese has been named Chief Operating Officer at Wyoming Humanities.
Headquartered in Laramie, Wyoming Humanities maintains an office at Jackson’s Center for the Arts.
The Wyoming Business Council’s website highlighted Reese’s ability to find funding and see the big picture. Reese developed the Business Ready Community Grant and Loan program for publicly owned infrastructure “in response to feedback from existing Wyoming businesses and potential business recruitment targets that the state lacked the infrastructure necessary for expansion and recruitment.” The program helped create business parks and enhance quality of life around the state.
“We were delighted when Shawn expressed his interest in our humanities council,” said Rev. Dr. Bernadine Craft, chair of Wyoming Humanities’ Board of Directors. “Obviously, his expertise in leading community and economic development is an invaluable gift to our organization, but what really resonated with me is his ability to describe the value of culture, art, and humanities in shaping a vibrant and resilient society.” www.thinkwy.org