December, 2020: A new ArtSpot goes up this week on Broadway featuring portraits of local heroes from the Jackson Hole community, nominated and drawn by Jackson Hole High School art students. All 18 portraits are accompanied by responses to the question “what do you love about your community” (see below).
JHHS Art Teacher Shannon Borrego facilitated the project with support from Jackson Hole Public Art to bring a message of gratitude for the many ways members of our community have had an impact during the past year. Portrait subjects include front-line workers Nurse Jasmine Maldonado-Alcantar and County Health Officer Dr. Travis Riddell; non-profit leaders Community Entry Services’ Carolyn Worth and Habitat for Humanity’s Nick Staron; teachers Ryan Allen and Colleen Maestas; as well as student’s family members, inspiring coaches, volunteers, and elected officials. Student artist Jacob Johnson recognized Wiley Olsen, a local student who was lost to a tragic accident this fall.
Florin Piru, a familiar face for many in his role in customer service at Smith’s, was captured by student artist Areli Roldan, and answered the question “what do you love about your community” with: “the kindness within each person and the willingness to come together and help others.”
OCTOBER, 2020: This fall, local artist Natalie Connell has been working with CWC students Alisson Alvarado Villegas and Thibaud Sanchez to create messages of hope and unity for the new ArtSpot on Broadway.
“The thinking behind #SHAREJOY is simply that in a time when human connection is limited and there is a lot of fear going around, choosing to share joy can go a really long way in encouraging your community and those around you.
The thinking behind #GROWINGTOGETHER is that with all the social issues right now, we all need to grow. And though it can feel isolating and scary to not know what to say or do, we are ALL learning and growing together. The important thing is not being perfect, it’s that we grow and truly progress. And that growth is a beautiful and part of all living things.” — Natalie Connell
Have Your Neighbor’s Back: Now more than ever, strong communities are important. Remembering to look after your neighbor and see each other as human regardless of personal views is a significant step to coming together and building unity.
Jackson Hole Public Art’s ArtSpot is back with a message of HOPE for the community. The ArtSpot, both sculpture and rotating art venue, was removed last fall for repairs and has found a new home just across the street. Public Art is grateful for the Karns family and the Town of Jackson Hole, who with over 75 Kickstarter backers and the support of Jorgensen Engineering and Westwood Curtis Construction, banded together to ensure a future for this long-standing, highly-visible art installation.
The ArtSpot is a project of JH Public Art, in which local artists are invited to create site-specific installations that inspire moments of discovery and joy for the more than 30,000 daily drivers that pass by. This fall, the ArtSpot will be filled with messages of hope, community, and togetherness created by emerging local artists mentored by established local artists. Jackson native, Josue Zarate, is creating the first large-scale painting for the reopened ArtSpot.
“A public art project is certainly something I’ve been wanting to do. The unexpected was definitely the source of excitement and drive behind this piece. The inspiration for this, as is for most of my work, is the heart of this valley” – Josue Zarate | Find him on Instagram & Twitter @jozuezarate
Receiving an ArtSpot commission propels the visibility of local artists beyond the walls of their studios. The ArtSpot has hosted memorable installations including Charlie Brown’s Sweater by Suzanne Morlock, colorful glass tiles by John Frechette, gunpowder drawings by Danny Shervin, ravens, rocking boats on waves, and many others.
JH Public Art would like to give special thanks to the Karns family, the Town of Jackson, and to Westwood Curtis for their construction expertise and to Jorgensen Engineering for donating their services. Local business sponsors include The Lexington at Jackson Hole Hotel & Suites, Guild Mortgage, Haagen Dazs and Fine Dining who each generously backed the 2019 Kickstarter campaign along with more than 75 individual donors, the Wyoming Arts Council, and a microgrant from the Community Foundation of JH.
With your generous support, we have met our goal to Save the ArtSpot! Thank you the 75 individuals, businesses, and art enthusiasts that contributed to our Kickstarter Campaign to keep this iconic structure in the community bringing joy and moments of discovery everyday. We will get started with the construction of the new site this spring, as the ground thaws.
Public Art is accessible to all and we thank you for helping us continue to make that possible.
Artist Mike Piggott for the ArtSpot
Eleven years ago, the Center of Wonder funded Bland Hoke in creating the first edition of the ArtSpot, which was a repurposed gas station sign, “It was covered in black plastic and an eyesore” said artist Bland Hoke. He contacted the owner to use it for art installations and began starting to create art installations with his friends Olaus Linn commented on his collaborative installation with Camille Davis in 2008, “It’s such an interesting thing to explore doing work at a scale that is almost too big to fathom when you’re putting brush to canvas. Suddenly individual brushstrokes cease to matter and the work becomes about big blocks of color and line to produce form.” Many artists work on two canvases, one for each side, that are 10 feet by 6 feet wide.
Eventually, the gas station sign left, providing Bland an opportunity to improve upon the ArtSpot design. “I wanted to build a structure that folded over on the side so loading it would be easier and safer” Bland said. “I used a chairlift tower donated from the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort and carved intricate designs on the sides. The hinge needed to be super strong and luckily I found an old bank vault and torched off the hinge. The counter-weights on the arm are snowplow scraper blades and it raises and lowers with a car battery.” Bland said, “At the time I envisioned the ArtSpot as a stepping stone for artists to create public art pieces for the community while building their competitive resumes for public art commissions.” One lesson learned was that while the ArtSpot is a box able to hold art, other artists respond by thinking outside of the frame.
Many in the Jackson Hole community remember the Charlie Brown sweater installation created by Suzanne Morlock. She used large rolls of scrap material from a sequin factory where they were making shiny dots for clothes. The epitome of exotic waste. She knit the rolls onto a form to create her installation, which at one point traveled to the Charles M. Schultz Museum. Over the years, many local artists have created installations, including: Suzanne Morlock, John Frechette, Ben Roth, Doris Florig, Jenny & Sam Dowd, JH Wild – faces of JH, Cal Brackin, Wilson 5th Grade art class, Camille Davis, Olaus Linn, Cary Tijerina, Erin Ashlee Smith, and Wendell Field.
The Director of JH Public Art, Carrie Geraci is excited to develop new opportunities and ways to enhance the ArtSpot. One dream is to work with local businesses who commission large scale artwork for their property, but who are willing to first share it with the public on the ArtSpot. For example, Danny Shervin’s gunpowder art installation, General Sherman, will find a new home on the facade of Mike’s Body Shop. Geraci said, “We are eager to set this trend of rehanging installations after their turn on the ArtSpot, so spread the word that installations are also opportunities to acquire big art!”