Tag Archives: Economy

New Stratmans at Horizon Fine Art; Business Incubators

Happy Equinox!

Watercolorist Kay Stratman, who describes her work as “Asian influenced,” has posted new work on her newly revamped website. In the letter she sent me, Stratman featured one of her new paintings, Monday Morning Breakfast Group, depicting yellow headed and red winged blackbirds gathered for conversation. Perched on some cattails and set against a liquid blue-green background, these are animated, upbeat birds. It must be Spring; as I write this a flash mob of rosy finches is filling the air with chatter and clamoring around in the trees, while several robins look on, keeping their distance.

“The title came first, before the image, inspired by my husband Paul’s Monday morning breakfast group,” says Stratman. “I think it is lots of fun and hope you do too. [This painting] appears a bit more detailed than many of my looser, more spontaneous paintings. Actually the details are only in the beaks, eyes and feet. The rest is very loosely handled with watery color flowing and blending in the background.”

The artist also plans to teach some art classes later this spring; both involve watercolor technique and one incorporates encaustic wax. Classes take place at the Art Association this May and early June, and to find out more, you should visit the Art Associaton’s website –www.artassociation.org–or call 307.733.6379. Stratman will also take part in the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s June 16th Annual Quickdraw event.

Stratman is also represented by Horizon Fine Art, 30 King Street, in Jackson, Wyoming. Her work is part of a group show there, taking place the week of June 16th. www.horizonfineartgallery.com. Stratman’s website: www.kaystratman.com.

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A Sculptor’s Migration; Giacometti; Town Gags Galleries; Legacy Show

Excellent news that Teton County commissioners approved a contract with Wisconsin sculptor Don Rambadt to design and install a pathways public art project. The work will be part of the pathways system on North Highway 89, adjacent to the National Elk Refuge and National Museum of Wildlife Art. Local sculptor Ben Roth’s design for a series of bicycle racks will complement Rambadt’s installation.

Roth and Rambadt’s styles are similar and should mix extremely well. Both artists are minimalists, both use crisp geometric forms in their portrayals of wildlife and other creatures. Clean, contemporary and realistic enough to be recognizable by all, the art should be broadly appealing.

I visited Rambadt’s website and discovered another one of his projects: Magnetic Migration. Rambadt is placing a series of magnetic nuthatch sculptures on various steel structures he finds around the country. He’s asking the public to keep their eyes peeled for these little metal birds. If you find one, Rambadt asks you to move the sculpture to another steel building or site and take a photo. Post your photo, along with place, time and date.  If Rambadt likes your site and story, he’ll send you your own little bird. Some folks decide to keep the birds they find–which would be tempting–and that’s o.k. with Rambadt. Check out the project here.

A batch of new works at Heather James Fine Art includes new sculptures by Diego Giacometti. The gallery is a little secretive with its art collection backstories; the Giacometti name is world famous, but most people think of Diego’s brother Alberto. Diego and his brother were very close, and for much of his career Diego served as Alberto’s senior assistant. Diego’s artistry manifested as furniture and artful objects and he established himself as a noted artist in his own right. Diego designed the Picasso Museum’s interior, but did not live to see the museum open. It’s a privilege to have Diego Giacometti’s work in Jackson Hole.


The sub-headline in July 13th’s Jackson Hole News & Guide read: “Town mulls restrictions on ground-floor businesses as method to revitalize, generate revenue.”

“Restrictions” and “revitalize.” Opposites. See the problem? It’s not the paper’s fault. Town government thinks a prohibition strategy will help transform our economy. Targeting art galleries, in order to solve Jackson’s dearth of tax revenue is, to put it politely, very poor judgement.

Hello! How many non-profits do we have in Jackson?  Snow King Resort, financed by wealthy, shrewd business leaders, courted being bailed out by a non-profit; the owners have since rejected the non-profit’s offer. I don’t know the mountain’s chances of ever becoming a viable business, but the last thing we should do is bypass testing the market and hurtle towards providing non-profit status to what SHOULD be one of the biggest retail operations in the valley! How will we ever know what the market can bear? Instead of renovating its main facility, Snow King built too many spec units and failed. So put it up for sale. That’s what failed businesses do!  Snow King may sit on the block a long time, but it’s in good company.

Raise the Town’s sales tax. Continue to lobby for a real estate transfer tax. Use some of the revenue to help Wyomingites who are isolated, impoverished, abused, mentally ill, and/or hungry. Use the rest to boost town revenues.

I value and respect the missions of our non-profits, and I support (to the extent of my ability) those I feel are most crucial to the valley. We need them, and so many good people give their hearts 24/7 to causes that make our valley a better place. But we simply cannot figure out our unemployment and sales tax revenue issues in a pro-active way. We give the hospital $11,000,000 without reviewing their accounts! SPET tax rules should be overhauled; I don’t believe the population at large truly understands what they are voting for. We’re economically co-dependent. At the very least, non-profits should have to provide a full accounting of their expenditures to prove they deserve public money.

The Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival spikes Jackson’s lodging stats every year. That means the event brings more visitors, spending money, every year. I’m sure Santa Fe or Scottsdale would welcome our best galleries, if Jackson’s business environment becomes too hostile. This is a grasping-at-straws measure. Shipping works out of state has always been integral to the gallery business. Art is international, and we are a tourist town, counting heavily on out-of-state buyers. We’re damn lucky that Jackson is, truly, becoming an arts destination. It could all change on a dime.

Good to hear from Legacy!

Legacy Gallery in Jackson Hole (there is also a Scottsdale, AZ branch) presents artist Kenny McKenna, in a One Man Show, July 21-August 11, 2011. An opening reception takes place Thursday, July 21, 6-8 pm, at the Jackson gallery.

McKenna is a landscapist. His striking, traditional works present views of some of our most memorable panoramas: Mt. Moran, Taggart Lake, Cascade Canyon, the Cathedral Group, Mormon Row, Sleeping Indian and more.  McKenna also paints the smaller landscapes—check out his gentle portrayals of lily pads, meadows and willows. Summer and Fall views prevail.


Jackson Hole’s Future: What Will Develop? Support Urban Vibrancy!

Since the Town of Jackson’s wide-reaching DRD (Downtown Redevelopment) plans were voted down via public referendum seven years ago—a true, in-your-hands measure of community sentiment expressing its will that we not over-develop our town, not turn it into a playground for mismatched, overbuilt developments, not speculate that we can match Teton Village’s resort destination allure—-we’ve watched development happen. When citizens said “no” to DRD, development rights were simply granted individually, one project at a time.

And here we are, with a fist full of empty commercial space, large quantities of unsold real estate units, and a community that feels ever more transient. Too many citizens wonder if they should stay in the valley or leave it.

Town planners and community have been, for  years, giving their lives over to creating an acceptable plan for this special place. We have been asked to trust our comments are truly heard by our leaders, charged with representing the public’s interest. As a community, we cannot afford to know we’ve all been whistling dixie. We want a logical process of implementation.

Otherwise, for all these years, our community has merely engaged in an exercise.

Preserving environment and quality of place, managing growth, and creating a viable, broad-based economy are Jackson’s great challenges. We need a certain critical population mass to achieve that balance, but most crucial is ensuring we promote and protect our wildlife, its habitat and other environmentally sensitive areas.

We must continue moving towards making the arts a part of the Town of Jackson’s future. We can remind all visitors of our history by including beautiful and lasting public places in our Comprehensive Plan. That sort of planning aids in building tourism and helps us towards finding out what level of economic success we can expect to reach. We should, as Candra Day has said, be strengthening sustainable tourism practices, using cultural assets as tools. Growth should incorporate landscaping, parks, and grace of space. Let’s create space both sacred and fundamental. Without these provocative elements, we forfeit a higher level of urban vibrancy.

Officials must strategize to attract new businesses–businesses offering solid, long-term employment—to Jackson. Attract and establish products and services desired and supported by locals and visitors. Strive to fill all this empty commercial space, rather than plan for more building.

It still appears that developers are feeling encumbered by wildlife.  Our core economic stability lies in protecting and preserving the power of this place. All new projects should be primarily concerned with that goal.  Geography and wildlife are our golden eggs–they will only become more precious.

Keep downtown vibrant, give it an identity separate from Teton Village’s—we cannot match that profile—and use it as a place where families who can’t afford $400 a night lodgings may stay. We want to keep those “families of five from Toledo.”  We want them to be able to come hereand experience the wonders of this place–we want to educate them.  If we do not, why will anyone want to protect this place?

Former Jackson Hole Conservation Alliance Director Franz Camenzind has said, “We come home, there’s a moose in the yard.  We pick up the phone, call our friend in Atlanta, and get them to guess what’s outside our window. It’s not just going to the parks to see these animals, it’s having them right there with us.  Living with them. Nobody has the diversity of wildlife we do, let alone have it as visible as it is, interwoven with community.”

Planning the Intermountain West; McCandless Directs New Gallery; Bad Reviews

“Planning in the West,” the second annual conference on the topic of Intermountain West development, takes place in Boise, Idaho, June 2-3, 2010. The conference is billed as featuring “leading planners, policy-makers, architects, developers, and landscape architects from around the Rockies….to track planning and development trends, showcase best practices, and understand how thoughtful and place-inspired planning can help us shape our region in the most positive possible ways.”

Planning in the West’s keynote speaker is Mark Muro, of the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C. based public policy think tank with a mission to  “conduct high-quality, independent research and, based on that research, to provide innovative, practical recommendations that advance three broad goals:

  • Strengthen American democracy;
  • Foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans and
  • Secure a more open, safe, prosperous and cooperative international system.”

Muro studies intermountain economic trends; you can find “Mountain Monitor – Tracking Economic Recession and Recovery in the Intermountain West’s Metropolitan Areas” when you do a search on the Brookings Institute website.  The study tracks trends through the fourth quarter of 2009.  It looks at large metropolitan regions (Denver, Boise, Las Vegas, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque), and smaller areas (Reno, Fort Collins, Las Cruces, Boulder); but transpose Muro’s larger points on intermountain real estate booms, education, and diversity of economic base to Jackson’s profile, and you will get a pretty good idea of the pace of economic recovery Teton County might expect, and why.

exteriornightSoft Opening for Heather James Gallery

Heather James Fine Art opens its doors at 172 Center Street, Suite 200, next door to Altamira Fine Art, in April.  This month’s opening is soft.  Lyndsay McCandless has been hired as the gallery’s director.

“We welcome our new neighbors, Heather James Fine Art, to the Center Street art district,” says Altamira Executive Director Mark Tarrant. “This is an important addition to the Jackson art market, providing the quality of fine art that people expect when visiting Jackson.  We are working with the gallery’s director, Lyndsay McCandless, and planning cooperative events that will set the pace for the Jackson experience.”

Based in Palm Desert, California, the gallery “represents a world-class spectrum of art-bridging genres including Impressionist and Modern, Classical Post-War and Contemporary, American and Latin American, Old Masters, design, cutting-edge contemporary and photography.”

A partial list of artists the gallery represents includes American artists Marion Kavanagh Wachtel, Oscar Bluemner and Irving Norman; Latin American artists Diego Rivera, Jose Clemente Orozco, Francisco Zuniga, Naum Knop and Marta Minujin; and Impressionist/Modern masters Berthe Morisot and Alberto Giacometti.

lifeinhell2003A friend passed along a recent local art “review” —perhaps “commentary” is a better word — concerning the closing of the Oswald Gallery.

I’ve been criticized for some of my own commentary, and I know the sting of having someone in our close Jackson community express strong negative feelings about what I’ve written.   I also believe that the First Amendment is one of our most precious charges.  Thou shalt not shoot the messenger.

The piece I’m referring to was particularly bizarre.  Is the writer trying to be facetious?  If so, the effort fails.  (Sign up for Satire:101)  Here’s why:   The writer, an artist, should know better than to characterize all art galleries as a whorl of  “…musicians, models, artists, writers, homosexuals, and wealthy patrons milling around in unbearable hipness…….

(Dude.  You have a show about rap artists interpreted as holy gospel singers.   Which isn’t such a stretch, but it’s certainly hip-hoppity.)

If, in fact, he’s pretending not to know about the gallery business, he did a good job.   If he really knew, and his writing was up to par (not saying mine is, I know my limits) we’d read his piece and think, “What a great skewering of the art scene!  Brilliant!”

That didn’t happen, so I’m going forward with this post taking the position he really doesn’t know.  If he does know, he should build himself a much, MUCH bigger platform before venturing out into such territory.   Think Woody Allen.   Or Colbert.  Or Tracy Morgan.   Or Mike Bressler!  Catch the Shouts & Murmurs “Cursing Mommy” column sometime.

The writer goes on:  “There would always be plenty of blow and smack at hand and somehow the entire enterprise makes money and garners international acclaim.”

Are you a kid?  Or are you just brain dead from your early days spent snorting and writhing around on the floor at Studio 54? Stuff happens, but this ain’t the 80’s.  I understand Leya is fond of you, and she may share some of your views, and you are lucky to have someone as professional and savvy as Leya in your corner.    But for those not in on your “inside” stuff, what you write is not cutting it.

If any of you vultures reading this article want to save 25 to 50 percent on some really nice picture frames, now is the time.

How much will your art be worth in a few years?  If your stuff doesn’t sell, by what method will you toss the carrion into the yard? Maybe you’ll go “Ebay.”

We are in a Great Recession.  Not a mild recession, a GREAT RECESSION.   Picassos are selling.  Big stuff.  Because people with that kind of money can buy as much as they like, and are.   Many galleries are having their artists size down their work, to make it more affordable.  And we’re talking about all levels of artists, all genres.   Travis Walker does a great job of coming up with innovative ways for his artists to sell, and new collectors to collect.

There’s quite a bit of information on the art market out there.  Why don’t you read some of it?

I won’t touch the Wilson/butlers in the basement bit.

“Leya looks great in black, and I did not imagine anything beyond that was necessary for success in the art world.”

Perhaps you should apply for a gallery intern job this summer.   You will be lucky to get hired, even for free, but give it a shot.

bison_d“We are still surrounded by landscape paintings, of moose in front of the Tetons or Indians painted by white people.  So obviously Americans prefer art that does not make us think but rather reinforces stereotypes and clichés.”

By that logic, people would be buying landscapes and wildlife art in SoHo.

Why are YOU here in Jackson Hole?  It can’t be because of intense city energy, urban infrastructure and sounds, interstate highways and their traffic, or cultural diversity.

Maybe you’re here to snowboard?    On big mountains, surrounded by wildlife?

Can you name the photographers Oswald has carried since the day they opened?  Lots of landscape shooters……and damn, they’re hip!  One of Leya’s favorite photographers, Nine Francois, is largely about portraits of animals from the wild.  They aren’t in the wild, I don’t believe, when Francois takes her photos, but they are, at their core, wildlife.   I mean, this is the West.  If we were in Key West, what would you see?   Santa Fe?  Cape Cod?  San Antonio?  Art is a reflection of place.

What do you imagine people visiting Jackson Hole and the Parks want to think about while they are here?   What do you think they want to take back with them, and why?  I don’t have statistics, but my experience tells me that wealthy locals, many with several homes and access to all art markets, buy much of Jackson’s contemporary art.   We certainly need our contemporary arts in order to thrive.  I adore them.  I even like your work, but I’ve deleted my story about it because I feel what you are writing for your newspaper is toxic, bitter and scary; it may even foreshadow some violent act.   I hope your newspaper takes heed.

Most visitors buy art here for reasons having to do with the unmatched experiences they have in Wyoming.  And many collectors buy  representational and abstract or contemporary art.    Because it all has value.

Pop quiz: Who was Edward Curtis?

Angie Renfro at Diehl; Goodbye to Center Street Gallery

207Diehl Gallery features works by artist Angie Renfro now through March 6.   As they’ve been doing, Diehl is offering collectors a chance to deduct 10% of the cost of any art work towards a particular non-profit.   This show benefits WomensTrust, an organization providing outreach to Ghana, via microfinancing, education and healthcare.

So who is Angie Renfro?   Why are her works simultaneously so melancholy and strikingly beautiful?   Looking at press images, I’m struck by Renfro’s split subjects.  The birds, bees and spring’s new budding branches are here; so are abandoned industrial landscapes depicting rusted piles of pipeline, muddy fields, flat gray skies and blackened telephone poles.

Blackened telephone poles, crying rivers of red.  Dripping red.

A Texas native now living in California, Renfro says she’s haunted by the vast landscapes of206 her home state.  There’s overlooked beauty in desolate lots, deserted factories.  She’s yet to be carried off by California’s blue tides, its sunshine, undulating mountains and deserts.

Renfro takes long drives across Texas, a state the size of a small planet.  She believes placing the natural world on the same podium with broken down palaces of  industry and farming will help viewers appreciate a shared “quiet, unassuming beauty.”

Along the lonesome Texas highway, there’s little obvious distraction, says Renfro.  But, if you stop and sense the quiet, you’ll find quiet makes its own noise.  Like Pompeii’s ruins, these Texas subjects are frozen in time.

Renfro’s landscapes are works one could live with for a long time.

Diehl Gallery phone:  307.733.0905.

Item #2:

lookingupthelake_web_lgWord has it that Center Street Gallery is closing.  Timeline is unclear.

As long as I’ve lived in Jackson, Center Street Gallery has been there on Town Square’s east side, lighting up the boardwalk with its eclectic collection of contemporary art.

The gallery carries some very noted artists.   That list includes: Thomas Batista, Lynn Berryhill, Kathy Bonnema-Leslie, Bruce Dean, Bill Drum, Robert Deurloo, Jeffrey Jon Gluck, Siri Hollander, E.H. Klink, Marshall Noice, Raymond Nordwall, Andrew Parent, Francine & Neil Prince, Stephen Rolfe Powell, Jean Richardson, Dennis Sohocki, Sari Staggs, Kay Stratman, Louis Von Koelnau, Joy Watson, Don Webster and Elizabeth Wright.

Center Street and the former Martin-Harris Gallery broke the contemporary art ice in Jackson Hole. Center Street’s art references in regional beauty interpreted by new, as well as practiced, modern day artists.    Works are intimate, grand in scale, colorful, tonal, two and three-dimensional.  A couple of decades ago, it was a brave act to open a contemporary gallery space in a traditionally representational Western culture.   As Western art scholar Peter Hassrick has noted, we’ve yet to fully address the impact of humans on the remarkable landscapes and wilderness we inhabit.   Without the continued health of contemporary arts in Jackson, we’ve less of a chance of approaching that still sensitive subject; it’s unmentionable, marketing-wise, to create content pointedly addressing human effect on the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem.

The hope is that a good percentage of these artists will find alternate local gallery venues.   Center Street Gallery, thank you for playing an important role in our arts history.