Wyoming Arts Council

Back from Cody

Traveled to Cody with arts council Manager Rita Basom and Folk and Traditional Specialist Anne Hatch for a town meeting and the opening of the Art of the Horse exhibit at the BBHC. No bad weather driving on Thursday last week, just some snow flurries through the Wind River canyon. What a spectacular landscape when shrouded by low snowing clouds.

It was a productive town meeting with many good ideas about promoting the arts and individual artists. Thanks to Steve Schrepferman for setting up the venue, getting the word out and for the refreshments, and to David Neary board vice chair for facilitating an interesting discussion.

The tourist season hasn’t gotten into full swing just yet, but art galleries were beginning to open their doors. We had some free time on Friday and visited a few businesses along Sheridan Ave., Cody’s main street. The merchants on main street have worked hard to give it an integrated look–the awnings are all in good shape, and the visual appeal of the street calls travelers to stop and take a look around.
We stopped at Arlan’s Quality Consignments shop, full of collectibles, antiques, and everything in between. Arlan is a woman who enjoys her occupation immensely. There, I learned about a Cody artist, Olive Fell (1896-1980), engraver, etcher, muralist, sculptor and painter. She drew the most charming bears. Fell was born on Big Timber Creek. She attended the Art Institute of Chicago and the Arts Student League of New Yorkand while there, met and was good friends with Georgia O’Keefe. Her speciality was animals, and her renditions of “Little Bear Cub” were put on postcards, greeting cards and novelties and sold in national parks, not just Yellowstone. Fell did work on postcards and posters for Yellowstone National Park in the 1940s and early 1950s. If you do a search on her name, you can get an idea of her other art work.

We stopped by the Harry Jackson gallery and took a quick look inside. Harry wasn’t there, but we did meet his staff and looked around at the astounding art work that Harry has produced over an almost 75-year career. A couple of portraits done when he was sixteen and a few from his WWII military years hung in the first display room. While in New York, Harry met Jackson Pollack and was highly influenced by his style, and several paintings from that era show this. In the large gallery space, his sculptures of the western lifestyle dominate, possibly what he is best know for in the West. I asked the staffer if Harry was still working, he is eighty-some now, and she kindly took us back to his work area, and showed us five new contemporary paintings, on easels, that Harry had been working on. There was the rolling stool where Harry must sit while working on them. It felt like he worked on them simultaneously. We heard later that Harry had been having some health problems and had been in the hospital and was recovering in a rehab center. Harry was a Governor’s Art Awards winner in 1990, 20 years ago.
We also went by the Sue Simpson Gallagher Gallery and the Big Horn Gallery. Both carry some extrordinary artists. Also stopped by Open Range Images, a gallery operated by a group of photographers who share the operating costs of the space and display their photographs.

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