Category Archives: Jobs

Public Arts Department; Africa at NMWA; Hood is Back

musical_notesAn opening note: Many visual arts events are posted on Facebook; I love seeing those, but if you would like to submit your project or event to the Jackson Hole Art Blog, emailing me directly works MUCH better. I’ll definitely see your announcement, and it won’t get lost in the Facebook shuffle. I’ll remember it. Don’t be shy, email me at: Include all relevant details. I’m a one-person gig, and can’t get every event listed—but I want everyone to have the best chance possible. And don’t forget to send those nice, big images too. Superb.

197If you receive the Community Foundation’s emails via their Listserve, you may have noticed an individual misusing that venue to comment on J.H. Public Art projects. Whatever that person’s goal, he was going at it inappropriately, and that pretty much nulls and voids his input.

There is quite a bit going on in the world of public art here in Jackson. The 5-way project is on, and there are other new projects: the South Cache Street Custom Pavers and Street Painting Project, and another bike-related job.

South Cache first: The project’s total budget is $18,000, to be divided between pavers and painters; $15K for the former, $3,000 for the latter. There are more than a couple of definitions of “paver.” One is a paving vehicle, another is actual concrete used alongside highways and streets. Pavers can also be decorative brick drive and street surfaces. That’s what we’re talkin’ about!

J.H. Public Art writes that “selected artists will fabricate custom pavers designed to integrate into the overall paving pattern. The artist will replicate the theme and key imagery used in the pavers into two, one-color street paintings designed to highlight new crosswalks along the corridor. The budget supports design and fabrication of custom pavers and the street painting.”

Artists will work with Public Works, and Public Works will install what the artist creates. There are several ways it can work, but to make sure you’ve got the drill right, contact J.H. Public Art, or visit their website, where specs are provided.

The “Town Bike Network Education Icons Project” is essentially sign design. Budget: $4,500.

Design an “iconic” sign design series for Jackson’s signposts marking the town’s bike network. Graphics, says J.H. Public Art, “will be designed to print on 12 x 18” standard street signs using 2-4 color process. Final artwork should be submitted as vector files. The artist will design a series of 5-7 bold images that are easy to read from a distance or [while the viewer is] in motion. Graphics should identify safe practices, particular bike routes, unique features of the routes and promote educational messages sponsored by the Pathways department. School children, visitors and residents of all ages use the bike network and imagery should be easy to understand, family-friendly and promote community values.”

In other words, these signs need to be understood immediately by anyone; sign language must be universal.

Applications are due by February 3, 2014.  The web sign-in spot is  Learn more here:


ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

ELEPHANT WITH EXPLODING DUST © Nick Brandt, 2012, Courtesy of Hasted Kraeutler Gallery, New York

“Nick’s exquisite photographs arouse deep emotions. They inspire a sense of awe at the beauty of creation and the sacredness of life. It is almost impossible to look through his work without sensing the personalities of the beings whom he has photographed.” ~ Jane Goodall

Just when you think wildlife photography can’t get any more powerful, along comes an exhibition like “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt, 2001-2008.” Opening at the National Museum of Wildlife Art January 18th, it remains on display through August 10, 2014.

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Rural Arts Realities: An Interview with NASAA’s Jonathan Katz

NASAA Logo.png

This year Jackson Hole, Wyoming was the setting for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies’ (NASAA) 2013 Leadership Institute. Top level executives and leaders from all 56 state and juristictional arts agencies attended. NASAA CEO Jonathan Katz, PhD, noted that this year’s meeting focused on optimizing state arts agency public value; to that end, agency leaders must keep abreast of societal trends and sentiments.

For the second time in a week author-activist Terry Tempest Williams presented a keynote speech to arts advocates and representatives here in Jackson, and Wyoming’s Alan K. Simpson delivered a passionate talk at an evening celebration highlighting Wyoming’s arts at the National Museum of Wildlife Art. For several days Jackson received a diverse cultural injections and multiple opportunities to widen our scope of knowledge with regard to strategies and mission.

In an interview, Katz noted that despite Jackson’s geographical isolation, choosing it as this year’s meeting destination wasn’t an extravagant decision. As the organization is an arm of state government, it’s mindful of expense; per-diem costs matter. Jackson’s season had wound down, group rates were attractive and coming to such a beautiful place proved an excellent return on investment.

Jonathan Katz and Terry Tempest Williams at NASAA's Leadership Institute

Jonathan Katz and Terry Tempest Williams at NASAA’s Leadership Institute

We tend to think of Wyoming as a stand-apart state when it comes to a low percentage of people residing in urban areas; but a quick look at 2010’s government census urbanized population map reveals that a massive portion of our county has NO urbanized population. States, with a few exceptions, are primarily rural. I spoke to Katz about the theory that when urban hubs become especially creatively revitalized, rural communities can be emptied out, making it difficult for rural communities to create their own “vibrancy.”

Tammy Christel: One the topics for this year’s conference is “Rural Myths, Realities and Opportunities,” a conversation about rural America’s being shaped by “numerous social, demographic, economic and technological forces, many of which affect the success of state arts agency programs and policies.” When larger cities become especially revitalized, with a lot of great city planning going on, a lot of public art installed, all kinds of initiatives—what happens to rural communities? Are they sucked into an economic black hole?

Jonathan Katz: I directed the Kansas Art Commission for several years, and mine was a rural state. The challenges of rural life are that there are plenty of things to do to take up your time, but there’s not a lot of diversity of resources because there aren’t that many people in any one concentrated area. There aren’t that many industries in the area, so it’s fragile.

But there are offsetting values. Because when something happens in a rural community, you can get a group of people involved—and it can be a small number—who can really make a difference. It’s not uncommon to have an arts event with more people attending than live in the community. They come from other places. They’ll drive. So they think of their community as a wider space.

UA2010_UA_Pop_MapPart of the challenge of rural living is when kids go away to college and immerse themselves in a learning and cultural experience, and their expectations change. They expect that where they’re going to live will be the kind of place with the plentiful resources they’ve now become familiar with. So as they often do, they go to the theater, opera, the symphony, they see foreign movies with independent presses and they get involved themselves in these creative activities, and they want to live in a place and have a career, raise a family and be in business with these amenities.

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Mark Nowlin’s Masters Studio Forced to Close

Mark Nowlin

Mark Nowlin

A heartbreaker. Masters Studio, long Jackson Hole’s sole artists’ supply store (it’s also a framing shop), is closing its doors. This is the store’s 18th year doing business in Jackson.

Owner Mark Nowlin, an artist himself, has until mid-November to vacate his Powderhorn Mall shop. He’s been in this business a total of  32 years. New owners of the building housing Nowlin’s shop—next door to the former Studio 2000, also kicked out—-have notified him he has to go. Nowlin had hoped to remain in his space; he was willing to pay an affordable rent increase. However, this week Nowlin arrived at his shop to find an envelope stuck to his door containing a hand written letter on blank paper. “Scribbled” is a better description. Nowlin taped the letter to his entrance, alerting friends, customers and supporters of Masters Studio’s status. The letter’s message appears below—underlined and bolded text reflect the same emphasis in the original. It reads:

3 October 2013

Dear Mark,

We are very sorry to tell you that Britt and I have determined that we are going to need the space you currently occupy for our new office. Initially we thought that the salon/spa space was going to work out for us, but after meeting with architects and contractors over the last few weeks we have reached the conclusion that we will also need to occupy your space in order to build the office and medical space to meet our needs. We very much tried to configure an office in the smaller space as we wanted to keep you in the building as a neighbor but we were just unable to do so.  In any case we need to have access to the space as soon as possible after closing (October 16) but understand that you will need time to move out/find new space and will give the formal 30 day notice starting on that date for you to move out no later than 16 NOV. We would prefer to get access before 16 NOV if at all possible but understand if this is not possible for you. Thanks. 

At the bottom of the page are the words “to start the remodel.”  It is signed : Jon and Britt Baker.  (I’ll leave off their phone number, though it is included in the letter.) 

Artwork by Mark Nowlin

Artwork by Mark Nowlin

So there you have it. Another steadfast, beloved and contributing community member displaced (it’s not a business agreement unless an actual choice for both parties exists) and supplanted by a more “lucrative” enterprise…cutting off another slice of Jackson’s “soul.”

Neighborliness, respect, honesty and courage are not marked by stealthily dropped letter bombs; they’re marked by treating people as you would wish to be treated….If, years ago, Walmart had made its way to Jackson, countless local livelihoods would have been eroded. Community disconnect can take the form of a Walmart or it can take the form of individuals taking advantage of others, because they can. The only difference is total elapsed time to accomplish such things.

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The View From From Here


Travis Walker, Abbie Miller, Tony Birkholz, Kelly Halpin and Todd Williams (who divides his time between NYC and Jackson Hole) presented their work and perspectives at March 27th’s Culture Front, hosted by Meg Daly. The evening was fascinating not only because of the art we viewed, but because of the ensuing conversation.

The evening’s topic was interpreting the West. How did  young contemporary Jackson artists experience what it is to live here? How are their observations and emotions materializing in their art? I, in my relatively elder-generation way, expected context—a discussion and comparisons. I wondered how the artists made the leap from absorbing Western representational history to transmitting in a contemporary manner. After Walker, Miller, Birkholz, Halpin and Williams made their presentations, Q&A commenced.

“I’d like the artists to talk about the West,” said one audience member.

westI remember thinking the same thing, but I recognize that “talking about the West,” for this generation entails a different vernacular. As all new art generations do. Culture Front’s format is liquid; discussions can and do “fan out.” In more formal settings a presentation’s format is set, the program specific. Two different flows, both enriching.

Abbie Miller’s art is greatly influenced by her east coast and mid-western art schools; her talk focused on those early projects. Perhaps her most “Western” art product is her giant red vinyl piece, “Squeezed Arch,” which resembles Utah’s desert landscape. But Abbie’s roots here run deep; she is a product of our West.

For some, the West is a little short on milk and honey. It can be frightening and unexpected; buffalo are slaughtered, forests succumb to fire and invasive insects, wolves are shot and moose run over. Wildlife collides with mankind, people plummet from the peaks. Ultimately, this place is indescribably beautiful. Our involvement and caring about injustices and environmental imbalance is part of that. The West is “free” in spirit–we come here to throw off  the shackles from our early lives, from the city, from wherever. We have unmatched space, but overcoming the inevitable struggle to survive is difficult. We’re trying everything we can think of. Three local artists with arts day jobs have opened their own space elsewhere in order to bring messages from non-Western cultural centers to Jackson Hole. Artists share space and split up again.

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Wyoming Arts Job Open; Rockies Arts Incubator

A neat, highly visible and connection-building arts job is posted by the Wyoming Arts Council. The Council’s “Arts Education Programs Specialist” would be based in Cheyenne, and travel around the state is part of the picture. Pay is good; the posting says the job may pay up to a high range of over $4,000 per month. Do the math, that’s $48,000 annually. You could almost live in Jackson on that!  The job description sounds terrific, and as is the case when times are tough, extensive. Qualifying candidates should have a solid general knowledge of the arts, including visual, performing, music and literature. The purpose of the position is to ” develop, support, and advocate for arts education for all Wyoming citizens. Arts education for all ages is a key goal in the Arts Council’s long range plan, and is part of the education and outreach criteria in the Department of State Parks & Cultural Resources strategic plan.”

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