The mind of an artist can be inspired by many things. What is seen either directly or in the periphery feeds the creative mechanism continually. Decisions that are channeled into this inspired work are based on environment, feeling and creative growth. Wyoming serves this artful purpose with its rich beauty and sense of timelessness.
Wyoming Arts Council: The Call of Wyoming
Headquartered in Cheyenne, the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC) is an organization that offers programs in public art, independent music and much more. As a grant-funding entity, WAC seeks to aid with community support, professional development among artists and mentoring within the folk and traditional art genre.
Across the state, you will find the fruits of their labor infusing in local areas. Even as a visitor you can enjoy the annual playlist they produce featuring Wyoming artists’ music. It is the perfect soundtrack while driving across the state.
WyoPoets: Providing a Voice
Celebrating art in Wyoming is not limited to the visual. WyoPoets gives voice to those who write poetry, whether it be as a hobby or for publication. The work of organizations such as this seeks to keep art and culture in the public eye. They inspire those who seek to channel their own creativity.
Founded in 1977, their annual spring workshop is supported by WAC and the National Endowment for the Arts. Held in April, this workshop is provided to a broad spectrum of writers. Wyoming poet laureate Eugene Galgiano attended the 2022 workshop. His words unveil the magic and freedom embodied in the landscape of our state:
We enjoyed fresh air outdoors,
free to roam vast grasslands,
massive mountains carved by nature,
furrowed deep canyons, and valleys
sewn together by icy streams.
We watched herds
of mountain reigning elk
and prairie pronghorn.
Each new day was a gift.
Even the drought and winds
couldn’t dry out our spirit.
An excerpt from “The Blessing of Wyoming” by Eugene Galgiano
Ucross Foundation: Creative Immersion
Artist residencies in Wyoming bring some of the brightest talents into the state. For Ucross Foundation, their mission to provide uninterrupted time to artists who hope to harness the fire of inspiration has been going on for over four decades. William Belcher, President of Ucross, elaborates on the effect:
“Ucross has a national and international reach, and we are honored to play an important role in the nation’s arts and letters.”
Located in Clearmont, Wyoming at the convergence of the High Plains and the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross is situated on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch. This remote location is inviting to native wildlife, and the wide-open feel gives the Wyoming sky and dramatic weather a stage on which to shine. This is true sustenance for an artist.
“For some, a residency here offers their first true experience of the West. Studies have certainly shown that travel or a break in one’s routine can stimulate creativity. So, if you mix that together with an artist’s reliance on observation and sensory detail, as well as the supportive atmosphere we provide, you’ll get something special,” explains Belcher.
Experiencing the charm of Ucross and its sweeping landscapes is not limited to artists. Stop by and enjoy their gallery Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. They encourage visitors to call in advance of arrival (307) 737-2291.
Teton Art Lab: Close to Community
Jackson Hole is a Western town that has a thriving art scene. Within this boots-on-the-boardwalk community, Teton Artlab strives to ensure that struggling artists are given the opportunity to flex their creative muscles. Since 2008, this non-profit has functioned as an artist’s collective, serving to nurture the culture of its community.
For 10 years, Teton Artlab has hosted the Uncommon Artist Residency. Founder and artist Travis Walker speaks to the need for this organization,
“Our residency brings diverse, talented artists from all over the world to live and work in our valley while sharing their experiences and process with our community and beyond. This allows both artists and art lovers to experience world-class educators and artists free of charge while forging friendships and networks with other communities around the world.”
In exchange for the residency, the artist is asked to give a public talk hosted by the Jackson Hole Art Association about their process and inspiration. Explains Walker,
“The talks last 1-2 hours and sometimes have an interactive component. For instance, artist John Roach installed a multi-channel sound piece in the studio and we meditated and listened to his field recordings from the area.”
This is a true, full-circle community experience that involves local businesses, art education resources and a public audience that benefits from a cultural exchange.
Jackson Hole Public Art: Community as Canvas
The role of public art is vital to the cultural tapestry of many communities. Visitors and locals alike can benefit from the opportunities that Jackson Hole Public Art creates. Since 2021, the WildWalls mural project has worked to bring attention to concern for local wildlife. An annual scavenger hunt exposes the artwork to the public, providing a fun opportunity for the community to get to know the details behind the chosen subjects.
The murals are on display from May to September. Each year at least two murals are installed permanently. This adds to the collection of Jackson’s outdoor art scene, which has developed around classic bronze wildlife sculptures surrounding Town Square. The vibe here is both traditional and contemporary, and the variety in the genre is an engaging journey for the art lover.
When seeking the artful side of Wyoming the opportunities are many. The Cowboy State is alive and well, waiting for those who wish to find inspiration in its wide-open spaces and creativity in its communities.