Tag Archives: Jackson Hole Arts

“Conservation Gallery”; Pipe Up on Public Art; Global Photography at Intencions


Some press materials are simply so perfect and complete, it’s hard to up their message. That’s the case today! Here’s some information on the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s new exhibition, “Conservation Gallery,” which explores conservation themes by comparing and contrasting those themes as explored through artwork created from the 1800’s to today. The show opened November 16th, and will remain on display through April 13, 2014.

“American wildlife artists have helped to capture the positive and negative results of humanity’s interactions with wildlife still found today, as well as those that are simply a memory. In some instances, paintings and illustrations are the only record of certain species that we have,” says the museum’s Petersen Curator of Art and Research Adam Duncan Harris. Harris notes that artists’ interpretations of wildlife run the gamut from that of early American artist William Jacob Hays, who, says Harris, depicted the animals he saw on exploratory expeditions to the American West, visually preserving them for future generations—-to more conscious conservation messages, such as Steve Kestrel’s “Silent Messenger” (2005), that, in the artist’s own words, “mourn[s] the destruction and degradation of ecosystems worldwide and the tragic loss of unique animal species.”

Steve Kestrel - Silent Messenger - 2005. Courtesy www.stevekestrel.com

Steve Kestrel – Silent Messenger – 2005. Courtesy www.stevekestrel.com

Natural histories such as the rebound of bison populations lead to “tales of wildlife across the globe.” The tiger is well represented, and displays engage viewers with information that’s often revelatory. For instance, did you know that in the U.S. more tigers are currently owned by private individuals, not zoos, than exist in the wild? Approximately 5,000 tigers are in the U.S., according to the World Wildlife Foundation. 

“Artworks depicting endangered species, whether historical or contemporary, raise pointed questions about humanity’s role in species survival or extinction. We hope that Conservation Gallery will help spark some of those discussions with our visitors,” says Harris.

Images, top of page:  From “Conservation Gallery”: Wilhelm Kuhnert, Resting Tiger, 1912. JKM Collection©, National Museum of Wildlife Art (left), and Gwynn Murrill (United States, b. 1942), Tiger 2, 2012 -2013. Bronze. 42 x 62 x 31 inches. Dr. Lee W. Lenz, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Gwynn Murrill (right)

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Surveying Arts Surveys; Frechette’s “Stocking Bar”

800px-Survey_Research_BooksRecently dozens of Jacksonites responded to an anonymous survey circulated by the organizers of a creative leadership workshop. The survey posed questioned on trends, people we perceived as arts dynamos and current arts initiatives, and was submitted a couple of weeks before the workshop. The workshop was fun. The session had us exploring decision making processes and identifying leadership patterns using PlayDough, string, spaghetti, marshmallows, scissors, crayons, colored paper, tinfoil…..lots of toys, lots of laughter, energy and engagement. There was Powerpoint. I enjoyed the evening, as I think most everyone did.

Survey responders were asked if they were interested in meeting individually  and privately with the workshop’s creator—I was, but ultimately I was not scheduled for an individual meet. I was offered a group meet, but I declined  as I wished to keep my project private.


Survey results—trends, data, perceptions—were not referenced during the workshop. I wondered what happened to the information. I sent a query to the workshop’s leaders, and here is their paraphrased response:

“[We are] planning to compile a report based on the information…gleaned from both the surveys and from…interactions here in Jackson. [We are] also co-authoring a series of essays on creative communities and how to tailor programming for different types of communities, including rural micropolitans like ours. As soon as we have an ETA on all of those, [we’ll] let you know.”

Teton County, in its entirety, is estimated at 21,000. A micropolitan area contains an urban population core of at least 10,000, but less than 50,000. The latest census indicates the Town of Jackson’s population approaches 10,000; it’s safe to say our population fluctuates, can be seasonal and is transient. If a micropolitan area was what was important, and not all of Teton County, then the workshop was applicable. It does assume that Jackson stands apart from the rest of its own county—and our county stands apart from the rest of the state.


Whatever the survey results, in the interest of full disclosure all survey responders should have been notified that their answers may be used in the manner its organizers described to me. Published essays and research potentially raise professional profiles for the authors, and I would have preferred knowing that our input may be partially responsible. I’ve taken part in surveys and focus sessions, and they are rich in content, rewarding and often superb chances to exchange ideas and brainstorm. Until now I’ve always been aware of why I was part of a focus session or the goals of a survey.

Surveys can be an attempt to obtain free consulting services. If an idea is put into practice as a result of a survey, at the very least survey participants should be publicly credited.


Jackson Hole arts purveyor and entrepreneur John Frechette, a person I identify as one of our arts movers and shakers, will expand his hip, Western contemporary shop for the holiday season. Frechette’s MADE will open a holiday-themed store next door to Valley Books in Gaslight Alley.

The Stocking Bar will feature some fan favorite MADE artists in a new light, as well as carry over 30 new artists’ handmade work, with a focus on the holidays and the stocking!” says Frechette. The Stocking Bar is scheduled to be open this December. www.madejacksonhole.com

Blank Pages – Women & the Unspoken; Arts Connected; Art Solidarity


“A crucial part of a healthy community is having a sense of belonging to that community and experiencing a sense of control over your own life.”  ~ Toolbox.

Joseph Artero-Cameron, President of Chamorro Affairs, leads that island’s initiatives to preserve and promote its root culture, heritage and language. I met Artero-Cameron at 2013’s National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) Leadership Institute that took place earlier this month in Jackson, Wyoming. Whenever I observed Artero-Cameron he confidently offered up insights regarding strategy, arts and cultural tradition. He has a knack for getting to the heart of a matter, providing fresh perspective with a twinkle in his eyes.

Artero-Cameron was attending his first NASAA meeting, but he runs several government agencies in Guam, an unincorporated territory of the United States. Artero-Cameron oversees conservation of corals, fisheries and other ocean matters; he runs the island’s television station, is actively involved with building a new $30 million museum and a new 15,000 square foot art gallery. And those, says Artero-Cameron, are just a few of his duties.

Rendering of Guam's Chamorro Educational Facility & Museum

Rendering of Guam’s Chamorro Educational Facility & Museum

We spoke of the role of women have traditionally taken in forming Guam’s culture; Artero-Cameron had made an observation about plenary speaker Terry Tempest Williams’ mother’s legacy of dozens of blank journals.

“We’ve noticed over the years that it’s not so much what is written or spoken, but the unspoken,” said Artero-Cameron. “And we define the soul on what is NOT said. It’s a very active voice, the soul.”

Historically, women are Guam’s heart and soul.

“My mother and grandmother live with me. This meeting is a wonderful experience, and it’s often said that it’s not what people say, but what they don’t say that matters most. What they do. Coming from a matrilineal society 4,000 years old the Chammurans (Guam’s indigenous people) were basically non-verbal until the Americans came in; then, writing things down was encouraged,” recounted the President of Chamorro Affairs.

How does the unspoken manifest itself?

Guam's Joseph Artero-Cameron

Guam’s Joseph Artero-Cameron

It manifests via non-verbal cues. Artero-Cameron practiced psychotherapy for years and found that it was not so much what his patients said, but their physical cues, movements and words left unsaid that proved most revealing. Non-verbal cues divulge human behavior, why any behavior exists or doesn’t exist.

“It’s not so much what a community as a group thinks of as “normal,” says Artero-Cameron. “It’s quite okay to be neurotic, as long as you know that 2 + 2 = 4!  You may not like the answer, but nonetheless it’s real.”

And what could shelves of blank journals have to tell us? Or any blank surface? Everything has the potential to be a canvas for words or imagery. Women, said Artero-Cameron, hold the key, even though Guam’s male population is attempting to “diversify” culture by defining womens’ roles for them and “making a mess of it.”

In our culture, a matrilineal society, the women have a lot of voice, simply through their actions. Through their actions, they  keep our language, culture and families together. Our spoken language is only one or two words, and those few words create just a phrase, but they communicate volumes.

My grandmother and mother were always communicating silently when I was growing up; the unspoken. But those were the white pages—-they were the most important pages in my life. They are what a woman is truly trying to say.  A woman’s voice, her greatest asset, is her soul.”  www.dca.guam.gov

Jonathan Katz presents a Shakespeare doll to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. Courtesy NEA.

Jonathan Katz presents a Shakespeare doll to NEA Chairman Dana Gioia. Courtesy National Endowment for the Arts.

My conversation NASAA’s Jonathan Katz extended a bit further. I was curious as to how an entire country of states’ arts representatives stay connected…how they interact out of session, throughout any given year. How do they influence each other, if at all?

“They connect in a number of ways. There are networks used quite often by the executive directors, the chair and council members, the arts education managers; we have webinars and get suggestions from the members about topics they are interested in,” responded Katz.

images“We discuss different aspects of grant making, different kinds of partnerships with the military, programming, policy issues; somebody has a great project that they want to share—-we have three states doing that—-or someone’s great advocacy success, we talk about how we can see that success replicated. In essence, we’re a year-round learning network; that’s just one thing an association does. I really am an association executive, even though my members are government agencies, and we’re in the arts. What an association does is make leadership and learning possible. The website is an important focus of communication, a lot of our resources go there. Most of our staff are researchers, so it’s really about collecting answers to the questions that our members have.”

Katz went on to explain that if there’s a success in one state, it’s a success for all because the organization learns from it. On the flip side, if a state experiences a challenge or failure, the whole field advances because something is learned from the experience NOT to do, a particular strategy doesn’t work. That conversation, Katz said, will go on all year.  www.nasaa-arts.org.

Landscape - Mixed Media on Paper by Mark Nowlin

Landscape – Mixed Media on Paper by Mark Nowlin

Speaking of “connections,” though last weekend’s closure of Master’s Studio felt surreal, the number of people turning out to help was reaffirming. What love and support! What acknowledgement! Despite the day’s circumstances I felt such closeness, community and solidarity; everyone performed a public service. The art gods willing, one day a beautiful new arts supply shop will open in Jackson, and wouldn’t it be wonderful if Master’s Studio’s master was at the helm?

Happily, we can still avail ourselves of Nowlin’s custom framing and matting services. His present East Jackson location is 85 McKean Lane. Phone: 307.733.9387.  



Jackson in Wonderland; Awards for Creativity; Mystery Artist!

lwtis17lAn extraordinary exhibition of vintage 1871 William Henry Jackson albertypes, the first printed depictions the territory that would become Yellowstone National Park, are now on exhibition at the Teton County Library. Albertypes are an engraving process invented in 1868, notable for their distinctive, gentle gray tones. They were, says the Library, hailed as “closely approaching the fidelity of a silver-based albumen photograph.” Jackson was the official photographer for Ferdinand Hayden’s heralded 1871 exploration of the Yellowstone Plateau.

Edward Bierstadt (brother of Albert Bierstadt), was entrusted with nearly half of Jackson’s valuable negatives, which were produced in quantity, and used in the congressional effort to establish Yellowstone as our first national park.

“However, for unknown reasons Hayden abandoned using the alberttype process and had Mr. Jackson continue to make his albumen photographs instead,” says the Library. “The total number of sets produced in Bierstadt’s project is not definitively known, but a Jackson scholar knows of only seven experimental sets in existence. This exhibit’s sequential views begin at the railhead in Utah, progress north into Montana, document numerous features in Yellowstone, and then conclude with the return to Utah.”


Lee Silliman, a large format photographer of Yellowstone National Park, curated the exhibit. Silliman is a true Yellowstone scholar, and he will give a talk on this rare and special collection on Monday, July 15th, 6-7:30 pm, at the library’s Ordway Auditorium. This event is free. For information contact Adult Humanities Coordinator, Oona Doherty, 733-2164 ext. 135, odoherty@tclib.org.

I’m writing this post with one  hand, and making a note in my calendar with the other!

oscar_059It’s time to nominate your favorite arts supporter for 2013’s “Award for Creativity.” Presented by the Cultural Council of Jackson Hole, the award recognizes individuals enhancing Jackson’s creativity. Nominees can be, and have included, professionals, volunteers, artists, writers, non-profit staffers, and arts patrons.

“The Award for Creativity is a heartfelt award given to those that exhibit dedication and extraordinary contributions to our artistic and cultural community,” says the Cultural Council.

Two awards are given. The “Creative Legacy Award” goes to an individual who has shown a life-long dedication to the arts in our community, “one whose impact has resonated repeatedly through the years.”  The “Creative Pulse Award” recognizes an “inspirational and invigorating trendsetter, introducing fresh programs and projects.”

NOTE: The nomination process has changed. Phone interviews will now be conducted with recommending individuals. Submit your nomination by Friday, June 28 to culturalcounciljh@gmail.com. Include your name, phone number, email, and the name of the person you are nominating. The Cultural Council of Jackson Hole Coordinator will contact you to obtain more information. www.culturalcounciljh.org

Artist: Unknown!

Artist: Unknown!

I have this work on Facebook, and quizzed my connections as to who painted it—by the time this post goes up, the artist’s identity may have been revealed. The artist is from Jackson, and this work deviates VERY much from the painter’s usual style. Even so, the work was sold while I was visiting with the artist.

This abstract scene, created near Mt. Moran, was painted by plein air painter and Trio Fine Art artist Bill Sawczuck!  Very cool, Bill!  You really stumped them!   www.triofineart.com 



Musings: Jackson Hole’s Creative Journeys

“Life is a journey, not a destination.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Beginning with the end in mind is about examining why life is worth living and being true to your own values and dreams,” says Acton’s MBA Entrepreneurship. “If you have trouble uncovering these fundamental goals and values, it is time to go back to your basic foundations. Query people you trust and admire. Read great literary works and books on philosophy. Spend time alone in a quiet place. If you are religious, reexamine the fundamentals of your religion. Question, examine assumptions, reflect, and question again.”

In recent weeks I’ve listened as artists and non-artists spoke on the subject of embracing failure as it relates to success; the conversation began at last month’s Culture Front forum. It’s so in the air!  How do we stay afloat? It’s so easy, even comfortable, to allow our values and true wishes to take a back seat to daily demands. We want the public to invest in us, yet we often avoid digging in to the very problems we must solve in order for that to happen. It’s a conscious effort every day, and it’s a tough go. I’m reading a wonderful book that says the typical mindset of “success” is about “getting.” And “getting” is a fight.

A friend recently said that Jackson is full of wonderful people, and she’s right. We’re a persistent, well-meaning, cause-driven population. In all things creative, we’re on the hunt for that “groove,” and the unknowns are…unknown.

A positive development: Vertical Harvest was unanimously supported by Jackson’s Town Council!  The next step is sending that proposal to Teton County’s Wyoming Business Council Representative Roger Bower, Wyoming’s West Central Region Representative. Bower’s office is in Riverton, Wyoming. Word is, he does not like the project. However, he’s the man who will approve appropriations. I’ve emailed Mr. Bower a question or two; if he responds, you’ll see it here. If not, assume “no comment” by post time.

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