Monday, June 30, 2008

ARK Creative Arts Center joins UW project

This news comes from the University of Wyoming Art Museum's blog:

The artists at the Creative Arts Center of ARK Regional Services are working on a large-scale sculpture made of sheet metal for the University of Wyoming Art Museum's major exhibition of public art, "Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational."

Inspired by Alexander Calder's large, colorful and whimsical stabiles and guided by visual arts coordinator Debbie Garner and local artist Alison Arnold, ARK artists are creating their own interior designs for the yet-to-be-named sculpture. People will be able to walk both around and inside the sculpture, which will be placed in front of the Creative Art Center at 1174 N. 4th St.

"This project is an exciting artistic experience for the participants," says Mary Arnold, manager of the Creative Arts Center. "They are learning about Alexander Calder, a renowned American artist, as well as three-dimensional design, group cohesiveness and the process and production of public sculpture.

"The Creative Arts Center provides opportunities for adults with intellectual disabilities to explore and express their creativity and learn and grow in an integrated and enriched community environment.

"We are thrilled that ARK agreed to participate in this community-wide celebration of art," says Susan Moldenhauer, director and chief curator of the UW Art Museum. "The efforts ARK's administration, teachers, and residents to create a special work or this exhibition are remarkable."

The ARK Creative Arts Center won a 2006 Wyoming Governor's Arts Award for its innovative arts programs for adults with intellectual disabilities.

"Greater Tuna" at Centennial Theatre

The Centennial Community Theatre in Centennial launches its new season with performances of "Greater Tuna" on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays July 11-13, 18-20, 25-27, and Aug. 2 and 3 (no Aug. 1 show). Performances will be at the Trading Post Dinner House. Dinner will not be served as part of this show. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students.

The Dinner Theatre shows this season will be "Arsenic and Old Lace" Oct. 31-Nov. 16; "An Evening of One Acts" Jan. 8-21, 2009; and a comedy to be announced May 29-June 14. Dinner theatre tickets are $27 for adults and $25 for seniors and students.

The Centennial Community Theatre season is partially funded by a $3,500 grant from the Wyoming Arts Council.

FMI: 307-399-7226.

New roster artist: Jenny Dowd

Jenny Dowd, Jackson, visual artist

Jenny’s professional training lies in ceramics and fibers, although she draws, sculpts with metal, as well as does printmaking, papermaking and collage work. Currently the administrative assistant and volunteer coordinator at the Art Association of Jackson Hole, she also instructs beginning and intermediate wheel-throwing ceramics and beginning drawing and fiber classes. She assists with youth classes and has taught outreach clay and mixed media classes to local school children through the Journey School, part of the Teton Science School in Jackson. In 2004, she received a studio assistantship at the Penland School of Crafts. Her work was included in the 2008 Governor's Capitol Art Exhibition at the Wyoming State Museum.

Contact: (307) 413-5399 or;

New WAC artists' roster available online

The online version of the new Wyoming Arts Council artists' roster is available for your perusal at

WAC added eight new artists to the 2008-2009 roster, adding up to 57 talented Wyoming musicians, poets, storytellers, visual artists, dancers, and performing groups. You can choose an artist, and then bring him/her/them to your community through the WAC's Arts Across Wyoming grant category. Go here to apply.

The print version of the roster will be mailed with the August issue of Wyoming Artscapes, the WAC's quarterly newsletter.

FMI: 307-777-7742.

Yellowstone Jazz Festival July 11-12

The schedule has been announced for the 21st Annual Yellowstone Jazz Festival in Cody:
Friday July 11:
Free admission: Sheets Family, 6-8 p.m. in the Cody City Park
Admission $10, Walt Andrus, jazz singer, 8-11 p.m., Holiday Inn in Cody

Saturday July 12, admission $15 for adults and $30 per family (kids 12 & under free), noon-6 p.m. food is available. Saturday Jazz on the Lawn at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody:

Noon, Buffalo High School Jazz Combo
1 p.m., Ruth Ahlers
2 p.m., Tribute to Frank Sinatra featuring Walt Andrus
3 p.m., Yellowstone Big Band (18 piece big band directed by Neil Hansen and pictured above)
4 p.m., Alex Nauman, guitarist
5 p.m., Tribute to Frank Sinatra featuring Walt Andrus

Tickets will be available at the door and at The Thistle in Cody and Chambers of Commerce in Cody and Powell.

No Fog West presents "Talking to Terrorists"

Information from the No Fog West Theater Company in Sheridan:

In keeping with many of the themes and theories we developed from our experiences working on "The Laramie Project", we chose "Talking to Terrorists" by Robin Soans for our summer 2008 tour (July 31-Aug. 16).

The verbatim play is compiled from interviews with terrorists from around the world, foreign service workers, hostages and others whose lives have been affected by terrorism.

The play’s candid but tactful approach to a complicated and salient issue provides an ideal platform for a discussion on wider-ranging issues. as actors and students, we are particularly interested in the simultaneous vagueness and persistence of the term terrorism and the universality of the issue. to further stimulate conversation, we plan on hosting a community discussion on terrorism in conjunction with our performances in each community we visit.

Of the many exciting opportunities "The Laramie Project" has given us, perhaps most exciting is the offer of a residency at the Ucross Foundation, an artists’ community outside of Sheridan. After a three-week residency there in July, we will tour for three weeks with an eight-actor cast, stopping in Sheridan, Salt Lake City and McCall, Idaho (click here for tour dates).

Friday, June 27, 2008

New Roster Artist: Christopher Amend

Christopher Amend, Gillette, visual artist

Now a self-employed artist, Chris (pictured at right) taught art for thirty-two years at the elementary, high school and college levels. His strong belief that material and technique should serve idea rather than the other way around has led him to hold numerous workshops on that topic. He has worked on several projects with Advocacy for Visual Arts (AVA) in Gillette, including adult classes in life drawing, beginning drawing, and archival matting techniques. He has also served as a guest artist for the “Arts and Leadership” summer youth program at AVA, and has conducted weekly life drawing sessions there since 2003.

Contact: (307) 299-0659 or; To bring Christopher to your community through an Arts Across Wyoming grant, go to the WAC web site and click on the applications link.

Nine Wyoming artists receive purchase awards at 2008 Governor's Capitol Art Exhibition

Ginny Butcher,"Winter Sage," Oil, 18"x24"

Nine Wyoming artists received purchase awards totaling more than $12,500 during the Governor’s Capitol Art Exhibition reception held at the Wyoming State Museum on June 26.

Gov. Dave Freudenthal presented purchase awards at the event to Bunny Connell of Sheridan, Dan Hayward and Travis Ivey of Laramie, Rom Hinz of Douglas, Claire Leon of Story, Mike McClure of Lander, Lynn Newman and Do Palma of Cheyenne and Edie Reno of Gillette.

Additionally, Palma received the People’s Choice Award, a selection made through voting of those in attendance at the reception. Ginny Butcher of Evansville (her work is pictured above) received the Bobby Hathaway Juror’s Choice Award from Juror Constance Mohrman, exhibits manager of the Wildlife Experience Museum in Parker, Colo.

The pieces receiving purchase awards will be included in the Capitol Art Collection and be eligible for display in the offices of the state’s five elected officials. The governor, first lady, secretary of state, state auditor, state treasurer, state superintendent of public instruction and representatives from the Division of Travel and Tourism selected the purchase award recipients.

The Capitol Art Exhibition is on display at the Wyoming State Museum, located at 2301 Central Ave. in Cheyenne now through Aug. 30. Remaining pieces are available for purchase. The entire collection can be seen online at Call 307-777-7022 for more information.

WAC makes changes in grant programs

Just in time for the new fiscal year, the Wyoming Arts Council has announced an increase in funding for most of its Ongoing Grants.

These grants are for arts projects or events taking place between July 1, 2008 and June 30, 2009. Applicants may receive funding from each WAC grant category once per year (July 1-June 30).

The WAC Board recently approved an increase in funding limits for these Ongoing Grant programs:

  • Arts Access project grants increase from $1,000 to $1,500
  • Arts Across Wyoming project grants increase from $500 to $600
  • Folk Arts project grants increase from $1,000 to $1,500
  • Folk Arts festival grants increase from $2,000 to $2,500
  • Open Door project grants increase from $750 to $1,000
  • Technology in the Arts project grants increase from $2,500 to $3,000
  • Arts Access festival grants have been added, with funding to $2,500

Before now, each of these Ongoing Grants required a one-to-one cash match to be eligible for the above listed grants. While the one-to-one cash match is still preferred, the WAC Board specified that 50 percent of the match can now be through in-kind donations, either merchandise or time. This change applies to all Ongoing Grant programs listed above except Technology in the Arts.

Applications in the Ongoing Grant categories will be accepted online only, unless special arrangements are made.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Firefighters help kids with reading

Join Raising Readers in Wyoming and the Casper Fire Department for an hour of reading fun at Fire Station 3 in Casper on Monday, June 30, at 9 a.m. After the reading session, Casper Fire Department personnel will lead the children on a tour of the station. All are welcome to attend this free event. FMI: Jennifer at Raising Readers, 307-577-9748.

Snowy Range Fest offers "Rounding Third"

The final theatre production in the University of Wyoming's 2008 Snowy Range Summer Theatre and Dance Festival, "Rounding Third" runs July 8-12 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fine Arts Center studio theatre in Laramie. Tickets cost $10 for the public, $8 for senior citizens and $5 for students. For tickets call (307) 766-6666 or go online at

Directed by UW Professor Leigh Selting, the play follows Don and Michael, two mismatched coaches and fathers who are stuck together leading a team for the duration of the Little League season.

"This is a perfect summer show. Extremely funny and topical, it speaks to anyone who has ever had a child involved in competition, or played themselves," says Selting.

This production of "Rounding Third" features Brandon Taylor and Michael Legg, both members of the Actors' Equity Association, the labor union representing American actors and stage managers in the professional theatre.

Taylor is a 2005 UW alumnus whose recent credits include: "Tango" (UCSD/La Jolla Playhouse) and "The Deception" (La Jolla Playhouse).

Legg is the director of the Apprentice/Intern Company at the prestigious Actors Theatre of Louisville whose recent credits include "Our Town" (Triad Stage), the film "February One," (official selection for the 2003 Telluride IndieFest) and appearances on television's "Law & Order: SVU."

Capitol Art Exhibition reception today

This reminder comes from Milward Simpson, director of Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources:

I'd like to invite you all to attend the annual Governor's Capitol Art Exhibition Reception taking place this evening from 5-7 p.m. in the State Museum in Cheyenne.

True to form, there's some fantastic art this year, great live music, an appearance by the Governor and First Lady and several of our elected officials, the chance to vote for a "People's Choice Award" and the naming of this year's purchase awards.

This is one of our more high-profile annual agency events and it's a chance to support the work of our colleagues in the State Museum.

Hope to see you there!

New Roster Artist: Bryan Ragsdale

As noted in a June 13 post, the Wyoming Arts Council has added eight new artists to its roster. The WAC now has 57 artists, writers, performers and folk artists eligible to be brought into Wyoming communities through its Arts Across Wyoming grants.

The new roster will be up on the web site early in July. You can view it -- and find details about grants -- on the WAC web site. The printed version of the roster will be inserted in the August issue of the newsletter.

Over the new few weeks, wyomingarts blog will highlight the new roster artists. Bryan Ragsdale (shown in accompanying photo by Linda Coatney) was one of the performers at last week's NIC Fest in Casper. Here's his info:

Bryan J. Ragsdale
Green River – singer/songwriter
Born in Wyoming’s high desert, Bryan comes from a long line of cowpokes and Wyoming heroes. He writes and sings songs about all things Wyoming, and is proud to be an outdoorsman, conservationist, husband, father and veteran. His performance on KTWO TV in February 2008 enabled him and his sponsors to send his CD, "Wyoming Melodies," to hundreds of troops serving overseas. His song, Wyoming Melody, will debut in June as the theme song for the television show, “All Girl Getaways,” on Lifetime channel’s “Fine Living” series. He earns high praise for his presentation on composing songs, and his performances “leave a piece of Wyoming in everyone” that hears him. FMI: 307-871-0851;;;

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

NPR's Stamberg to speak in Jackson

Press release from the University of Wyoming

National Public Radio's special correspondent Susan Stamberg will speak Tuesday, Aug. 12, at 6 p.m. at Spring Creek Ranch, 1800 Spirit Dance Road in Jackson.

Reservations for the event, sponsored by Wyoming Public Radio and the University of Wyoming Libraries, are due by Aug. 1. The cost is $100 per person, which includes dinner and a reception. To make reservations, call 1-800-729-5897 or visit

Broadcast journalist Stamberg was the first woman to anchor a national nightly news program, NPR's "All Things Considered," for 14 years. She hosted "Weekend Edition Sunday," and now serves as guest host of NPR's "Morning Edition" and "Weekend Edition Saturday," in addition to reporting on cultural issues for all the NPR programs.

She has received many honors, including the Edward R. Murrow and duPont Awards. She has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Radio Hall of Fame.

Stamberg is the author of two books including, "Every Night at Five: Susan Stamberg's 'All Things Considered Book'" and co-edited "The Wedding Cake in the Middle of the Road."
One of the pioneers of NPR, Stamberg has worked at the network since 1971.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Local musicians make good in Seattle

One-time Laramie County Community College students Chad Siebken and Quintin Musgrove will be taking their music to the Internet this week. The two Cheyennites are members of a music trio, Crimes in Modern Architecture. They'll be performing on a streaming radio show on Wednesday, June 25, 3 p.m., and Saturday, June 28, 5 p.m. Go to

UW takes vertical dance to Greenland

Two University of Wyoming faculty members recently presented a vertical dance performance at the Katuaq Culture House in Nuuk, Greenland.

The performance by Margaret Wilson, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance, and Neil Humphrey, professor in the Department of Geology and Geophysics, included three solo works and two duets augmented by video of the Greenland landscape and choreographed for the Greenland venue. While in residency in Nuuk, Wilson and Humphrey also discussed long-term collaborative planning with the Nordic Institute of Greenland and met with high school students to discuss UW and vertical dance.

The professors' visit to Greenland was partially sponsored by the Office of International Programs at UW and was intended to seed interest in future projects involving university students and faculty.

Wyo. Cultural Trust Fund grants announced

The Equality State Book Festival sponsored by Casper College is one of 30 Wyoming cultural and heritage projects and sponsoring organizations to benefit from more than $400,000 in grants from the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

Casper College will receive $10,000 from the WCTF to support the second Equality State Book Festival Sept. 18-20 at the college, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, Fort Caspar Museum, and other Casper venues.

In all, $400,198 in grants was awarded to support the 30 projects by nonprofit organizations and governmental agencies throughout the state. The awards were approved by the five-member Cultural Trust Fund board at a recent meeting in Evanston. In all, the agency received 46 applications from 13 Wyoming communities and 12 counties. The requests totaled more than $1.2 million.

These requests were for a variety of projects including historic preservation, facility plans, outreach programming, archaeological site interpretation, cultural celebrations, long-range planning, staff and infrastructure development and enhanced seasonal performances.

This round’s grant awards were present to:
  • UW Art Museum, Laramie, "Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational," $15,000
  • Office of the Wyoming State Archaeologist, Laramie; "Archaeology with an Altitude" -- Interpreting a prehistoric alpine village at 10,700 feet in the Wind River Range, Wyoming; $20,000
  • ARK Regional Services, Laramie, music program for people with intellectual and physical disabilities, $5,000
  • Wyoming Humanities Council, Laramie, Wyoming Humanities Council & Community Colleges Humanities Festival, $14,107
  • Wyoming Territorial Park Historic Association, Laramie, Horse Barn Theatre season, $4,000
  • UW American Heritage Center, Laramie, duplicating and digitizing the Ludwig Photographic Collection, $20,000
  • Wyoming Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Laramie, Wyoming Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial activities, $5,000
  • CAM-PLEX Heritage Center, Gillette, Robert Bluestone community outreach, $4,000
  • Carbon County Museum Foundation, Inc., Rawlins, community capacity building using cultural entities for economic development, $10,000
  • Promoting Arts in Lander Schools, Lander; "Reach Out, Reach Up!;" $3,000
  • City of Lander, Lander, Mount Hope Cemetery historical and cultural records access program, $4,000
  • Lander Area Chamber of Commerce, Lander, Heart of the West Invitational Art Show & Sale, $4,000
  • Wyoming PBS, Riverton, "Artists in Yellowstone" documentary, $25,000
  • Fremont County Library, Lander, Carnegie Library arts and performance space project, $6,000
  • Lander Art Center, Lander, Lander Art Center capacity building plan, $8,000
  • City of Cheyenne, Cheyenne, Cheyenne Heritage Education/Heritage Tourism Marker Project, $20,000
  • Laramie County Community College Foundation, Cheyenne, renovation of LCCC Playhouse Theater, $10,000
  • Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Foundation, Cheyenne, The Secret Garden Wall and Puppet Theater, $15,000
  • Original Oystergrass, Inc., Kemmerer, Oyster Ridge Music Festival stage, $20,000
  • Alliance for Historic Wyoming, Casper, building the alliance and campaign for South Pass, $9,190
  • Citizens for a Civic Auditorium, Casper, Casper Civic Auditorium architectural services, $25,000
  • Nicolaysen Art Museum and Discovery Center, Casper, endowment campaign, $30,000
  • Casper College, Equality State Book Festival, $10,000
  • Wyoming Arts Alliance, Casper, Statewide tour to meet with rural and municipal arts advocates, $9,401
  • Heart Mountain, Wyoming Foundation, Powell, Interpretive Learning Center Architectural & Engineering Services, $50,000
  • The WYO Theater, Inc., Sheridan, capital campaign planning and implementation, $20,000
  • Wyoming Community Foundation, Laramie, Powell centennial book, $6,000
  • Western Wyoming College Art Gallery, Rock Springs; Storage, care and presentation of Art Gallery gift from Andy Warhol Foundation, $8,000
  • Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum, Jackson, "Voices in Print" – Transcribing oral histories of Teton County, $12,500
  • Young Musicians, Inc., Evanston, sound equipment purchase, $8,000
FMI: Renee Bovee, WCTF, 307-777-6312.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Plein Air class on the plains this weekend

"Refugium" rises at UW beginning June 26

From a UW press release:

Artist Linda Fleming's large-scale, laser-cut steel sculpture will be the next addition to "Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational."

Fleming will begin installation of "Refugium," the centerpiece of her most recent New York exhibition, Thursday, June 26, in the plaza on the west side of the University of Wyoming Classroom Building. She says "Refugium" beckons the viewer to enter, sit and contemplate.

"My works hint at the co-existence of the mundane and the cosmological to create a place where two realities simultaneously exist," Fleming says. "The structures are diagrams of thought that provide a glimpse of the strangeness beyond the world to which we cling, opening a place where thought becomes tangible, history leaves a trace and information exhales form."

A teacher at the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, Fleming has a rich national exhibition history, including recent solo exhibits at Lemmons Contemporary in New York, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art and Brian Gross Fine Art in California and Linda Durham Contemporary in New Mexico.

Also, Fleming has earned awards from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc., the Pollock-Krasner Foundation and the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Sculptures in "Sculpture: A Wyoming Invitational" will be placed or created on location through July. The exhibition will be on view from Aug. 1 through July 31, 2009.

"The exhibition will offer extraordinary educational opportunities for students of all ages to learn about the artists, their creative process, and the behind-the-scenes view of just how these large-scale works are created and placed," says Susan Moldenhauer, the art museum's director and chief curator.

FMI: Check out the UW Art Museum blog at

Friday, June 20, 2008

Human vines walk Casper streets!

At the NIC Fest in Casper....

Concerts kicked off last night at the NIC Fest in downtown Casper with Wyoming favorites (and Wyoming Arts Council roster artists) Fireants from Johnson County. They performed some old stuff, some new stuff, and we listened, eating barbecue and sipping soda and/or beer (take your pick). The vendor fair was up and running, displaying artwork from 70-some artists from Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Utah, Oklahoma and others. I bought some hummingbird art from Pam Sharp out of Utah. So much great stuff... didn't have time for it all.

But today was another day. First up on the Casper Star-Tribune stage was new WAC roster artist Bryan Ragsdale from Green River. He's a song-writer and musician, playing mostly his own songs accompanied on guitar, with a few old faves thrown in, such as "Ghost Riders in the Sky" and the Marty Robbins tune, "Strawberry Roan."

At 11 a.m., human plants in the form of "Vine to Vine" walked the streets. Uncanny, really, to see these two women on stilts, wrapped in fabric flora, stretching their extra-long legs along Casper's sidewalks. They are giving six performances during the festival, according to Nicolaysen Art Museum Director Holly Turner. At one point, the two walking vines stretched their many legs and created arches for the kids to walk through. This was fun to watch, and I knew that these two performers must be sweltering as they worked swathed in flora under the June midday sun.

After another perusal of the art offerings, I viewed the incredible quilts in the NIC lobby (and voted for my favorite), grabbed lunch and was back to the CST stage for the Winters-Pfau Duo performing jazz by Ornette Coleman and some of their own compositions. The Pfau part of the combo is Tracy Pfau, music prof at Casper College and former WAC board member.

I'm in the computer center now at the Natrona County Public Library. A display in this lobby showed the architect's rendering of the proposed new library. Looks impressive, almost as nice as the new library in Cheyenne. The proposed site is in the Yellowstone Historic District west of downtown and along the Platte River. Probably a bit too far from downtown, but former mayor Guy Padgett told me last night that it will be a 15-minute walk from the city center. That's fine for us walkers, but what about the elderly and disabled? A stop on the bus route is proposed.

But back to the music. WAC roster artist Jeff Troxel performs next. There's still another afternoon and evening today (Jalan Crossland on stage tonight), and another day tomorrow for NIC Fest. Don't miss it!

PHOTO: One of the "Vine to Vine" performers wraps herself around a light pole above Nicolaysen Art Museum Director Holly Turner. Photo by Linda Coatney.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Videos wanted for ABC's "Earth 2100"

From an ABC News press release:

In an unprecedented television and internet event, ABC News is asking you to help answer perhaps the most important question of our time — What will our world be like over the next one hundred years if we don’t act now to save our troubled planet?

The world’s brightest minds agree that the “perfect storm” of population growth, resource depletion and climate change could converge with catastrophic results.

We need you to bring this story to life — to use your imagination to create short videos about what it would be like to live through the next century if we stay on our current path. Using predictions from top experts, we will feed you detailed briefings from the years 2015, 2050, 2070 and 2100 — and you will report back about the dangers that are unfolding before your eyes.

Your videos will be combined with the projections of top scientists, historians, and economists to form a powerful web–based narrative about the perils of our future. We will also select the most compelling reports to form the backbone of our two–hour primetime ABC News broadcast: "Earth 2100," airing this fall.

Submit your video at

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Kerouac lecture June 21 in Cheyenne

From a Wyoming Humanities Council press release:

Audrey Sprenger, a national authority on Jack Kerouac, will give a free public lecture at 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 21, in the Wind River Room at the Plains Hotel.

Sprenger is the director of Arts and Educational Programming for the Denver Public Library and was recently selected to write the authorized biography of novelist Jack Kerouac together with John Sampas. She has created artistic and cultural programming on the life and times of Jack Kerouac, Jane Austen, Amelia Earhart, Rabindranath Tagore and Oscar Wilde for the Denver Public Library, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, PBS’ Masterpiece Theater, the Denver Art Museum and Rocky Mountain PBS.

Entitled "Jack Kerouac Wore Khakis and Other Lessons of Beatnik Chic," Sprenger’ s lecture will focus on the socio-cultural context of "On the Road" and flesh out the biographical details of Kerouac’s life and work.

This event is part of "On the Road: 50 Years of the Beatniks," a summer program from the Wyoming Humanities Council about American counterculture in the 1950s and early 1960s.

"The beatniks belong to the history of our region," said humanities council staff member Jenny Ingram. "Thirty pages into ‘On the Road,’ Jack Kerouac visits Cheyenne Frontier Days."

FMI: Jenny Ingram at (307) 721-9247 or,

Poets 4 Change 08

The Ohio Spoken Word Poetry Community has put together
a small grassroots movement, "Pass The Word For Change" in 2008, reaching out to all of the poets/communities that are based on the I75 interstate from Michigan to Florida. Creative artists everywhere in the U.S. are welcome to join this movement. It is hoped that five major cities in every state will host a creative arts open mic on the same date and time--in support of

"Poets/Creative Artists 4 Change '08."
The Grassroots Open Mic event is set for Friday August 15, 2008.

If you would like for your City and/or Poetry community to participate, contact:

Sweet Wednesday tours Wyoming in June

Massachusetts folk-rockers Sweet Wednesday will be touring Wyoming in June.

They’ll appear live on Wyoming Public Radio on Tuesday, June 24, at 11 a.m. To listen online, go to The group will perform at the Natrona County Public Library, 307 E. Second St., Casper, on Wednesday, June 25, 6:30 p.m. FMI:

Sweet Wednesday will be at Coal Creek Coffee, 110 E. Grand Ave., Laramie, on Friday, June 27, 8 p.m. (307-745-7737) and at Folklore Coffeehouse, 329 Main St., in Lander on Sunday, June 29, 7 p.m. FMI:

Slammin' on a Saturday night in Cheyenne

Over at the Laramie County Public Library on Saturday, June 14, our own Mike Shay was slammin’. Poetry slammin' that is. The following information (reworked some) comes from his blog.

Two performance poets from Denver’s 2006 national champion Poetry Slam team – Ken Arkind and Panama Soweto – took turns on stage with two of Laramie’s finest – Craig Arnold, a poetry professor at the University of Wyoming and winner of the Rome Prize Fellowship in literature, and Luke Stricker, a recent graduate of the UW MFA program and organizer of poetry slams in Laramie. Saturday's event was part of the Wyoming Humanities Council’s summer program paying tribute to the beatniks. Cheyenne was the final stop on a Wyoming mini-tour for the Arkind/Soweto team that also included Casper and Lusk. Arkind and Soweto have been performing together for several years. The two perform as a duo (they have a CD, "The Dynamic Duo") and separately. The evening really caught fire when they launched into their performance piece "Uhuru," which they’ve performed at Red Rocks and on Denver radio. It was a call and response, with "Stand up" as the refrain. By the end of the piece, "they had us all standing up," Mike said. Arkind and Soweto describe themselves as nerds, guys who spent their youth not getting dates and playing video games. Arkind had a poem, "Life is Like Mario Brothers," which received big cheers from the teens and twenty-somethings. The duo performed together on another gamer piece.

The haiku slam was next. Participants were asked to write haiku based on a random ideas shouted from the audience, remisicent of "Whose Line is It, Anyway?" The five competitors had five minutes to write a poem. Scoring came from the five judges. Round 1's theme was "Wood." Second was "Circus." Third was "Arnold Schwarzenegger." At the end of the second round, Mike held the lead through the second and third round, winning first prize -- a plastic horse with a Farah Fawcett mane (traded to Amanda for the 1970s manual on sandal making) and a collection of work by the Nuyorican Poets Café. Mike comments, "It was a strange sort of slam, more improv than the standard variety of writing and memorizing and performing your own poems. That said, I shall treasure my prizes."

To view a performance by Ken Arkind, go to

Gillette gets melodramatic

Gillette Community Theatre presents summer melodramas at 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. on Sunday in the WPA Building at Cam-Plex Park, 1635 Reata Drive. Tickets are available at the Gillette Chamber of Commerce, 314 South Gillette Ave. FMI: 307-689-4341.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Theatre Academy kids on stage

Rose Wagner at the Cheyenne Little Theatre Players sent this invitation:

Two shows by the CLTP's Youth Theatre Academy will be held on Friday, June 20, 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at the Mary Godfrey Playhouse in Cheyenne.

The performances will be presented by students in Act I (completed K-1st grade) and Act II (completed 2nd-4th grade) classes. The students work hard (and have a great time) in class to perform for family and friends.

FMI: Rose Wagner, Marketing/Outreach Coordinator, Cheyenne Little Theatre Players, 307-638-6543.

Arts, music and fun at 2008 NIC Fest

NIC Fest will be held at the Nicolaysen Art Museum and surroundings in Casper on June 19-21. Festivities get underway on Thursday, 6-8 p.m., with "Preview Night." It includes music by The Fireants, one of the most popular bands in Wyoming and a staple on the Wyoming Arts Council roster. Also included are a barbecue dinner by Wyoming Smokehouse of Riverton, and a chance to get first crack of the wares exhibited by more than 70 artists from across the nation.

Tickets for "Preview Night" are $25 for museum members and $35 for non-members. They are available in advance at the NIC or at the door.

Last year more than 8,000 people attended NIC Fest, and the Nicolaysen expects more than 10,000 to attend the 2008 festival.

Also featured at the NIC Fest: full line-up of regional bands, including the Jalan Crossland Band and Jeff Troxel; a family area; an "Art of Living" area; an "art car" show; quilt exhibition; a city art exhibition; chalk art competition; and a variety of Wyoming food vendors.

Her are some links for more info:

Governor reappoints three board members

Governor Dave Freudenthal has reappointed all three Wyoming Arts Council board members whose terms were due to expire at the end of June. Serving their second terms on the board will be Richard Olveda, an artist and photographer from Douglas; pianist Susan Stubson of Casper; and Jo Crandall, director of the Pinedale Fine Arts Council.

According to WAC Manager Rita Basom: "This is exciting news, and will provide a lot of continuity on the WAC Board as we move forward with things like the WAC statutes revisions, advocacy work, and planning for the second Wyoming Arts Summit in the fall of 2009, to name just a few things."

For photos and contact information about all ten WAC board members, go to

Jewelry workshop June 20-21 at AVA

Monday, June 16, 2008

Are artists taking over?

A study by the National Endowment for the arts provides the first look at 21st century labor trends among working artists. Today, the NEA announced the release of "Artists in the Workforce: 1990-2005," the first nationwide look at artists' demographic and employment patterns in the 21st century. "Artists in the Workforce" analyzes working artist trends, gathering new statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to provide a comprehensive overview of this workforce segment, its maturation over the past 30 years, along with detailed information on specific artist occupations.

For the entire press release, visit:

Friday, June 13, 2008

Morton wins award for best indie novel

Independent Publisher has awarded its gold medal in the Best Regional Fiction West-Mountain category to Where the Rivers Run North, by Sam Morton. The book was published by the Sheridan County Historical Society Press, Sheridan, Wyo.

Here’s a description of the book from the Sheridan County Historical Society web site:

For the millions of our earth's people who love horses, western history, or just a great read, Sam Morton's epic novel Where Rivers Run North is just the ticket! It is the story of horses, the colorful and widely diverse people who raised, used, and sold them, and the land that shaped them all.

Author Sam Morton has taken on a theme which he knows and loves. He is no outsider to the people he depicts. He could fit, easily, as a character in his own book. The book skillfully weaves together history of the horse with that of the people, beginning in the mid 1800s with the young Indian boy Curly, who would grow up to be the legendary Lakota Warrior, Crazy Horse. Morton takes us from the Indian warriors and the U.S. Cavalry, to the Remount, providing tens of thousands of horses for overseas wars. His characters are warriors, soldiers, cowboys, and ranchers. They also include horse breeders, trainers and traders; polo players, and a myriad of others, as diverse in their origins as an Indian warrior may be from a learned and sophisticated Easterner and even to English nobility, sharing a common bond growing from their love of the animal and the land.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sam Morton, a native of Southern Pines, North Carolina, has worked as a horse trainer in northern Wyoming and southern Florida for over thirty years. He received a B.A. in history from Guilford College in 1981 and has written for several publications, including American Cowboy, Polo Players Edition, Sidelines, and Pine Straw Magazine. He resides in Big Horn, Wyoming, during the summer and Wellington, Florida, during the winter.

Make plans now to attend the Equality State Book Festival in Casper

Laurie Lye, primo events organizer for Casper College, sent us this press release:

Casper College and ARTCORE's Equality State Book Festival emerges again in Casper Sept. 18-20, 2008!

Join memoirist Alexandra Fuller, nature writer Gary Ferguson, children's author Jack Gantos, trout writer John Gierach, and thirty more authors for three days of talks, readings, panels, writing workshops, a banquet, a poetry slam, a workshop on oral histories, and a day-long book fair.

Alexandra Fuller lives in Wilson. Her latest book is The Legend of Colton H Bryant (Penguin Press, May, 2008), about the life of a young Mormon man from southwestern Wyoming who was killed on the gas rigs. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a latter-day Silkwood [story], quiet and understated, beautifully written, speaking volumes about the priorities of the age." For an exclusive peek at the first two chapters visit Fuller will read from her work and talk about it Thursday evening Sept. 18 at Durham Hall at Casper College. For more on Fuller and her books, go to

Gary Ferguson, of Red Lodge, Mont., has written fifteen books on nature and science. Gary’s award winning May 2003 National Geographic title, Hawks Rest: A Season in the Remote Heart of Yellowstone, profiles critical environmental issues in the most remote place in the lower 48. It won both the 2004 Pacific Northwest and 2004 Mountains and Plains Booksellers Awards. In 2004 W.W. Norton released his critically acclaimed title, The Great Divide: The Rocky Mountains in the American Mind. In April 2005 he co-authored Decade of the Wolf: Returning the Wild to Yellowstone with Doug Smith. Ferguson will give the keynote speech at the bookfest banquet at the Petroleum Club in Casper Friday evening Sept. 19. For more on Ferguson check out

Children's writer Jack Gantos, of Boston, will visit Casper schools, and offer a free workshop for children's-book writers Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18, and give a public talk Friday afternoon Sept. 19. Gantos is the author of dozens of books for children, including the Rotten Ralph Rotten Readers, the Joey Pizga books and the Jack Henry series, and books for young adults, including Hole in My Life, (Farrar Straus, 2002), a memoir of crime, prison, and his emergence as a writer. For more on Jack and his books, see Gantos will visit Casper schools Thursday and Friday, and offer a free workshop on children's-book writing Thursday afternoon, Sept. 18 at Casper College, and will give a free public talk Friday afternoon, also at the college.

John Gierach lives in northern Colorado and has written eighteen books including Trout Bum, Sex, Death and Flyfishing, Another Lousy Day in Paradise and Standing in a River Waving a Stick -- some of which have also been published in Norway, Japan and France - as well as numerous magazine articles, essays and columns. He is a regular columnist for Fly Rod & Reel and Redstone Review and has been the outdoor correspondent for the Longmont Daily Times-Call newspaper in Longmont, Colorado for the last twenty years. Gierach will head a panel of fly-fishing writers Saturday morning Sept. 20, at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper.

For details, see All events are open to the public without charge except for the workshops offeredby the UW MFA faculty and the banquet. Soon, you'll be able to register on-line for the banquet and the workshops; all other events do not require registration. Our registration link should be added in the next few weeks.

If you have any questions that the web site doesn't answer, call (307) 268-2639 or send an e-mail to Laurie:

"Last Train to Nibroc" at UW

The University of Wyoming Theatre in Laramie presents "Last Train to Nibroc" from Tuesday, June 24, though Saturday, June 28, 7:30 p.m., in the Fine Arts Studio Theatre. Tickets are $5 for students, $8 for seniors and $10 for general admission. FMI:

New Annie Proulx story in The New Yorker

Wyoming's Annie Proulx leads a stellar list of short story writers in The New Yorker's Summer Fiction Issue.

Joining Annie is the late Vladimir Nabokov with a story published in English for the first time. Nabokov, as you probably know, spent many summers in Wyoming writing and chasing butterflies. The issue features other stories by Haruki Murakami, winner of the 2006 Franz Kafka Prize; Mary Gaitskill; George Saunders; Zimbabwe writer Uwem Akpan; and American short-fiction master Tobias Wolff, who recently published "Our Story Begins: New and Selected Stories."

Annie Proulx's new collection, "Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3," will be released in September. Annie lives near Saratoga.

The New Yorker has a web site where it features writers reading their stories, thousands of book and film reviews, and animated cartoons. Go to

New WAC roster artists named

Eight new applicants have been accepted onto the Wyoming Arts Council’s 2008-2009 artists roster:

  • Christopher Amend, Gillette, painter
  • Carolee Bowen, Evanston, musician (oboist)
  • Matt Daly, Jackson, poet
  • Jenny Dowd, Jackson, sculptor and book artist
  • Rod McQueary, Recluse, cowboy poet
  • Andy Nelson, Pinedale, cowboy poet and performer
  • Bryan J. Ragsdale, Green River, singer and songwriter
  • Sue Wallis, Recluse, essayist and poet

This is the first year that the WAC has received applications (two, no less) from Recluse in northwest Campbell County. No surprise that they came from talented husband-wife duo Sue Wallis and Rod McQueary. They’ve been active participants in the cowboy poetry scene for decades, appearing often at the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada. You may also recognize Sue’s name as a state legislator from House District 52. Rod and fellow cowboy poet Bill Jones collaborated on an acclaimed healing series of poems about their Vietnam experiences in the book “Blood Trails.”

Fellow Campbell County resident Christopher Amend is best-known for his three decades of teaching in the elementary, high school and college levels. Along the way he’s been perfecting his own craft in painting and drawing. His abstract work is drawn for experience as well as classical and religious images. He’s exhibited his work at Gillette’s AVA Center and, most recently, at a one-man show at the Cam-Plex Heritage Center.

Carolee Bowen lives in the opposite end of the state. A long-time activist on the Uinta County arts scene, the Evanston resident plays the oboe with various regional symphonies and also is part of Trio Dolce, a chamber music group that’s also on the WAC roster.

You’ll be able to see bios and contact info for all 57 WAC roster artists when the new roster goes up on the web site by July 1. It also will be available in printed form in August. Feel free to browse the listings and find an artist, performer or writer that you can bring to your community through the Arts Across Wyoming grants program.

FMI: Karen Merklin, WAC grants specialist, 307-777-7742.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bo Ross & Bill Broyles on stage in Jackson

From Tim Sandlin, Jackson Hole Writers Conference:

On Wednesday, June 25, 7 p.m., Alexandra Fuller (known locally as Bo Ross) will read from her latest book, The Legend of Colton H. Bryant as part of a free community event hosted by the Wildlife Film Festival, the Jackson Hole Writers Conference and the Center for the Arts. With an introduction from Oscar-nominated writer and producer William Broyles, Jr., the evening will also include a slide show of the recent RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) conducted by the International League of Conservation Photographers in Sublette County. Held at the downtown Center Theater, community members are invited to participate in this remarkable evening of reading, and discussion.

The Legend of Colton H. Bryant (May 2008 by Penguin Press), tells the story of a Wyoming boy who died in an oil-field accident. In prose that was described by the New York Times review with, "sentences that are as beautiful as anything you’ll read in contemporary fiction," Fuller explores the impact of the oil industry and paints a gripping portrait of Wyoming. Fuller’s debut book, Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood (Random House, 2001), was a New York Times Notable Book for 2002, the 2002 Booksense Best Non-fiction book, a finalist for the Guardian’s First Book Award and the winner of the 2002 Winifred Holtby Memorial Prize. Her 2004 Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier (Penguin Press) won the Ulysses Prize for Art of Reportage.

William (Bill) Broyles, Jr. wrote the book Brothers in Arms, and was the co-creator of the television series China Beach. He also wrote the original screenplay for Castaway and the screenplay for Jarhead. He has co-authored six other screenplays including Apollo 13, Unfaithful, The Polar Express and Flags of Our Fathers. Broyles has lectured and taught at UCLA, USC, Rice, NYU, Columbia University, the U.S. Naval Academy, the Smithsonia, and the University of Texas at Austin.

An International League of Conservation Photographer’s RAVE (Rapid Assessment Visual Expedition) is a photo-documentary expedition led by members of ILCP to areas that need immediate conservation actions, shedding light on pressing conservation issues and bringing them to the attention of the media in the form of compelling images. They converged on Sublette County in May to document the impact of resource extraction in the region.

With both the topic of the book reading and the photography slide show focusing on Wyoming’s unique natural resources and changing landscapes, the opportunity for meaningful, targeted discussion is rich. Valley Books will have copies available for purchase and signing, at the event.

FMI: Tim Sandlin, 307-413-3331,

Celtic Music Fest June 27-29 in Cheyenne

The third annual Cheyenne Celtic Musical Festival will be held at the Depot Plaza downtown on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, June 27-29. Free admission. Celtic bands, authentic culture performances and vendors at Historic Depot Plaza.

Wyoming Tribune-Eagle's Friday Night on the plaza will be from 5:30-8 p.m. Immediately following, Gobs O'Phun will play until midnight with a break at 9 p.m. for the Calling of the Clans on the Plaza.

On Saturday, vendors will be in the Depot lobby starting at 9 a.m. The pipe band procession down Capitol Avenue to the Depot plaza will begin at 10 a.m. Musical Chairs will perform at 4 p.m. and The Prodigals will begin at 8 p.m.

Sunday morning will begin with a Kirking of the Tartans at 10 a.m. The headliners include Skean Dubh, a band that uses a wide variety of musical instruments. There will be vendors in the lobby starting at 11 a.m.

FMI: 307-632-3905 or

U.S. House subcommittee votes to increase NEA funding to $160 M

This good news comes to us from Thomas L. Birch, Legislative Counsel for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies:

The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee on June 11 voted to increase funding to $160 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) for the 2009 fiscal year, the same level proposed by the House last year. The current appropriation for the arts endowment in 2008 is $144.7 million.

Subcommittee chair Rep. Norm Dicks (D-WA) maintained his commitment to return the arts agency's funding to its high budget mark at $176 million of sixteen years ago by proposing the increase of $15.3 million over the 2008 funding level. The resident's budget had proposed funds for the NEA at $128.4 million in the coming year, the same level of support requested in the administration's proposal a year ago for FY08.

In increasing the budget for the NEA, the House panel voted to raise the funding for direct grants from $49.2 million in FY08 to $56 million in FY09, and for Challenge America grants from $9.3 million to $10.4 million. Funds for the American Masterpieces program would remain at the current level of $13.3 million. Support for state and regional partnerships would increase from $47.8 million to $53 million, and administration funds from $25.1 million to $27.3 million.

At a hearing before his subcommittee earlier this year, Dicks expressed the wish to take the NEA budget back to a higher level to address the shortfall suffered when the arts endowment's funds were slashed over a decade ago.

The Interior Appropriations Bill next goes to the full Appropriations Committee for approval, with House floor action possible before the August break. It remains uncertain whether the Senate will choose to act this year on its version of the Interior spending bill. Congress may simply defer the final funding decisions by passing a continuing resolution which would carry federal spending into the next year, preferring to defer budget issues until after the elections.

The Wyoming Arts Council receives its funding from the NEA, the Wyoming State Legislature, and a small amount from private sources. While the WAC once recived more than 60 percent of its budget from the NEA, that amount is now below 40 percent, due mainly to increases the past three years from the State Legislature.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

"Speaking of Writing" airs writers conference

This comes from Julianne Couch in Laramie:

Over the weekend, I attended the Wyoming Writers, Inc., 34th annual conference in Casper. I was able to record the opening night event featuring readings from each presenter. I'll play that recording this week on "Speaking of Writing." The literary radio show airs each Thursday from 4-5 p.m., on KOCA LP FM 93.5, Laramie's bilingual community radio station. Thanks to the creative writing MFA program in UW's English department for underwriting the show.


P.S.: Wyomingarts also covered the opening night festivities at the WWI conference. See June 7 posts.

Greater Yellowstone Music Camp June 22-27

From a press release:

Mike Dowling’s rootsy, bluesy, jazzy Greater Yellowstone Music Camp, held in the beautiful Grand Teton Mountains June 22-27, offers the finest in acoustic blues and swing instruction for guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and bass.

Instructors for 2008 include Mike Dowling, John Miller, Orville Johnson, Roger Bellow, Dix Bruce, Randy Sabien, Liz Masterson, Suze Spencer Marshall, Cary Black and Jeff Newsom.

To request a brochure with complete information, including lodging and registration form, send Mike Dowling an email with your name and mailing address. Don’t delay, space is limited.

FMI: Mike Dowling, 307-455-3748, Check out the web site at

Blogs focus on western history & folk music

Oklahoma historian and musician Sue Schrems has been blogging a lot longer than they rest of us. Her Western Americana blog is a compendium of insightful posts on Montana gold-mining ghost towns, “womenless” weddings, Butch Cassidy lore, Missouri River riverboats, etc. Her most recent post on June 5 documented her trips to Montana ghost towns for the past 50 years, beginning when she was a kid. She contrasts photos from earlier trips with those taken this year to show the need for preservation of historic sites in Meade, Coloma, Virginia City and assorted other towns. Check out the blog at

Sue just announced the launch of a new blog, “Wasn’t That a Time.” With it, she hopes to combine her “interest in music and history intersect to provide look at the musicians and songwriters who documented their life and history in song.”

Her first post on June 9 focuses on The Weavers, probably one of the most influential of all folks groups. Its members were Pete Seeger, Ronnie Gilbert, Lee Hayes and Fred Hellerman. Although many of their songs were about union issues and social justice, they’re perhaps best known for a ballad by Leadbelly, “Goodnight Irene.”

The Weavers learned a lot from Leadbelly, but unfortunately, he died a month before the Weavers played the Village Vanguard [their first big concert in 1949]. They dedicated the last song of their concert to Leadbelly by playing his song, “Goodnight Irene.” It became the signature closing at every Weaver’s concert thereafter.

“Goodnight Irene” is the first song I can ever remember hearing as a child. I didn’t pay much attention to the song as an adult, until I started listening to early Weaver recordings. Besides the songs deep roots in the early folk culture, it is a good example of the end of one musical era and the beginning of another. The early Weaver songs incorporated the big band sound of swing and jazz, which was popular in the 1940s and early 1950s.

Great stuff for history and music and folklore buffs!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

On the road in WYO with Denver slam poets

From a press release from the Wyoming Humanities Council:

Ken Arkind and Panama Soweto, members of the 2006 Denver team that won the National Poetry Slam in Austin, Texas, will perform in Casper, Cheyenne and Lusk as part of the Wyoming Humanities Council’s summer program paying tribute to the beatniks.

Joining them are Craig Arnold, a poetry professor at the University of Wyoming and winner of the Rome PrizeFellowship in literature, and Luke Stricker, a recent graduate of the University of Wyoming MFA program and organizer of poetry slams in Laramie.

Slams take place at the Metro in Casper on June 13 at 7 p.m., at the Niobrara County Library in Lusk on June 14 at 1 p.m., and at the Laramie County Library in Cheyenne at 7 p.m. on June 14. All programs are free and open to the public and are sponsored by the We the People initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

FMI: Jenn Koiter at (307) 721-9243 or

Jim Gatchell's "Living History Day" June 28

On Saturday, June 28, the Jim Gatchell Memorial Museum in Buffalo holds its “Living History Day,” 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Free admission, refreshments, activities, and presentations by historical re-enactors.

According to its web site, “the museum is dedicated to following the late Jim Gatchell's vision of preserving the history of Johnson County, with emphasis on its Frontier Era, through the collection and conservation of related art, archives and artifacts. In the interest of educating museum visitors, the staff will continue to develop projects including interpretive exhibits, publications and programs which focus on the Powder River Country of Johnson County.”

The museum’s open April 19-October 31 at 100 Fort Street, Buffalo.

FMI: (307) 684-9331 or

Ricki Klages: The Slide Show

Here is the third installment of slide shows featuring the work of the 2008 Wyoming Arts Council visual arts fellowship recipients. This shows the paintings of Ricki Klages of Laramie. Titles are listed at the tail end of the presentation.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Fort Caspar Museum kicks off reading series

On Saturday, June 14, the Fort Caspar Museum in Casper hosts a kickoff event for its Summer Reading Series. Wyoming authors Ken Thomasma and Eugene Gagliano (a WAC roster artist) will share their love of Wyoming history. Thomasma from Jackson will read portions of his book, Naya Nuki and Gagliano, a writer from Buffalo, will read from C is for Cowboy, A Wyoming Alphabet and Four Wheels West, A Wyoming Number Book.

Here’s the schedule:
10:30 a.m.-noon, Eugene Gagliano
1-1:45 p.m., hands-on activity
2-4 p.m., Ken Thomasma

Children must be accompanied by an adult. All programs are free. Admission fee charged for Museum gallery.

"Journeys through Wyoming’s Past: A Summer Reading Series Kick-Off Event" is funded by a grant from the Wyoming Humanities Council.


"Blanket Stories" exhibit at Arts Center

An exhibit by Marie Watt, "Blanket Stories," will be on display in the ArtSpace Main Gallery at the Jackson Hole Center for the Arts, 240 S. Glenwood, Jackson, from Friday, June 13 through Thursday Aug. 21. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Here's a description from the JH Center for the Arts web site:

On a wall, a blanket functions as a tapestry. On a body it functions as a robe and living art object. In Marie Watt's work, stacks of blankets form columns 20 feet in height that reference structures as linen closets, memorials and sculpture reminiscent of Northwest Coast house posts, forests, architectural elements and modern art. The surrounding walls will feature related lithographs, photographs and blanket banners.

Watt will attend an artist reception starting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, June 19, when she also will give an informal talk about the exhibit. Watt also will lead a sewing circle 9 a.m.-noon on Saturday, June 21. All ages and experience levels are invited to help Watt stitch recycled wool blankets into an intricate design. Participants are encouraged to bring fabrics and recycled clothes to integrate into their work, or they may share in a community box of fabric. Finally, Watt will be collecting and stacking an array of colorful blankets, donated by the public, in the Center Lobby. Printed tags attached to the blankets identify their provenance, including stories of their significance. Donations can beginning June 1.

Those who participate in The Sewing Circle or donate blankets to the Community Blanket Stack receive a Marie Watt silk-screen print, courtesy of the artist.

Where do artichokes come from?

From a press release from Jennifer Heath, editor at Baksun Books:

Seeking contributions to a new anthology: FOODLORE, wherein writers invent origin myths for their favorite foods. 3,000 words minimum; 5,000 words tops. So far, twenty established and emerging writers are doing foods from peanut butter to mudpies to artichokes and primordial soup to the vanilla bean to gooseberries to oysters to peanut butter to manna to Oreos, Starlight Mints and burritos and more. There are plenty more to consider, especially in these times of food shortages, when many societies have lost connection with the sources of real nourishment. Open to all kinds of interpretations, experimental and traditional, not necessarily fairy tales, fantasy or sci-fi, unless these genres strike your creative fancy. Deadline: August 10, 2008 for a complete working draft. Send submissions to Jennifer Heath Collom,

Creative writing applications due June 20

Postmark deadline for the 2009 Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowships in fiction is June 20, 2008. This competition is open to Wyoming residents only. You have 11 days to get that manuscript in the mail to the WAC.

As a reminder, here are the basic guidelines. For more details and the application, go to the WAC web site:

  • You may submit a fiction piece of no more than 25 printed pages typed double-spaced using a 12-point standard font. For a book excerpt, you may provide a synopsis, but it will be included in the 25-page limit.
  • Submit two copies of your manuscript on standard white paper (photocopies O.K.). It may be double-sided to save on paper and postage.
  • Do not staple manuscripts or use any manuscript cover or binder.
  • Writing may have been previously published, but don’t submit reprints; published work must be retyped to conform to the rest of the manuscript.
  • Pages must be numbered; include title of work and page number on each page.
  • Your name must not appear anywhere on the manuscript.
  • If you submit more than the allowable page limits, extra pages will be removed.
  • Do not send supplementary materials (letters, resumes, etc.).
  • You may enter the competition only once, by June 20, 2008. Mail to Michael Shay, Wyoming Arts Council, 2320 Capitol Ave., Cheyenne, WY 82002, ATTN: 2009 Creative Writing Fellowships.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wyoming Writers, Inc., announces awards

Award winners were announced today at the 34th annual Wyoming Writers, Inc., conference in Casper.

At the conference luncheon, results were announced for the fiction writing contest:
First Place: Tom Bass, Budapest, Hungary, and Torrington, Wyo., for "Live the Legend," an excerpt from a novel, "Pleasure and Progress."
Second Place: Tom Bass, "Raskalnikov's American Dream," an excerpt from an adaptation of "Crime and Punishment" for the 125th anniversary of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's death.
Third Place: Gretchen Dawn Yost, Philipsburg, Mont., "Pumpkin Carving."
Honorable mentions: Jerry Sanders, Rawlins, "Cat's Cradle;" and Mary Beth Baptiste, Laramie, "Yellow-Haired Boys Scaling Lemon Trees."

Results for the free-verse poetry contest:
First Place: Robert E. Druchniak, Evanston, "My Wife Bird Watching."
Second Place: Cameron Byrne, Riverton, "a strong desire for something filling."
Third Place: Cameron Byrne, "We Are What We Piece Together."
Honorable Mentions: Pat Frolander, Sundance, "Prairie Reclamation;" "Robert E. Druchniak, "Walking to Work;" Cameron Byrne, "Moment;" Aaron E. Holst, Sheridan, "First Day of Autumn;" A. Rose Hill, Sheridan, "Chemo;" and Cameron Byrne, "Near the Oyster Beds at Marennes."

Results for the traditional poetry category:
First Place: Shelagh Wulff-Wisdom, Douglas, "Giving Wishes."
Second Place: Fred Savage, Rawlins, "Bronco Fred."
Third Place: Shelagh Wulff-Wisdom, "Fences."

Action begins at writers conference in Casper

The 34th annual Wyoming Writers, Inc., annual conference kicked off last night in Casper with readings from each of the presenters.

Masha Hamilton read an excerpt from her novel “The Camel Bookmobile,” which concerns an idealistic American librarian from Brooklyn who goes to Kenya to establish a camel library. These libraries do exist and are exactly as they sound – books packed on camels and transported from one nomadic settlement to another in Kenya’s arid northeastern region which abuts Somalia.

Masha was at her local library with her kids when she heard about the camel version. The libraries are important because the illiteracy rate is around 85 percent and schools are few and far between. The rules are strict too. If a book is not returned, the camel library will stop coming to a settlement. That detail, Masha said, piqued her curiosity and fired up her imagination. On the way home from the library, she started making up a story about the camel library and telling it to her kids. She created some intriguing characters and realized that this could be her next novel. Much to her kids’ dismay, the on-the-spot version of the story ended and the novelistic process began. Such is the way of the novelist.

Ray Gonzalez then read poetry from his recently published volume of collected works. Ray’s no stranger to Wyoming and the West. He was born and raised in El Paso, lived in Denver for 12 years, and once judged the Wyoming Arts Council creative writing fellowships. The landscapes and the people of the West regularly appear in his poems, such as “Runaway Train” and “Ascending.”

Robert Ben Garant, who plays the dark-haired cop with a mustache the the TV show “Reno 911,” next read an excerpt from a screenplay. Ben said that he enjoyed hearing the work of talented writers read aloud. “I tell jokes,” he said. He then launched into an excerpt of his script for the feature film “Night at the Museum 2: Escape from the Smithsonian.” This is a follow-up to “Night at the Museum,” which he also scripted. He also writes the ”Reno 911” material, which he described as “filthy, filthy, filthy,” which is why Comedy Central has to bleep some of the dialogue.

In “Night at the Museum 2,” the main character (which I assume is again played by Ben Stiller) is trapped in the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art. His companion is Amelia Earhart, played by Amy Adams from “Enchanted,” who has popped out of one of the museum’s photographs. They are being pursued by a legion of hawk-headed ancient Egyptians who have been summoned by an ancient stone tablet. As the main characters are chased through the museum, the artworks come alive. The Stiller character borrows the pitchfork from “American Gothic” and uses it as a weapon against his pursuers. They all end up in the famous photograph from V-J Day in Times Square where a jubilant sailor is kissing a girl. Ben employed his acting skills as he read, moving from the gruff voice of a Brooklyn sailor to the determined (but confused) voice of Amelia Earhart.

Ben said that the movie’s being filmed now. He hopes that it has the same effect on the National Gallery of Art D.C. as the first movie had on New York’s Natural History Museum. “The museum saw a 20 percent rise in attendance,” said, quipping that "I can use my evil skills for good.”

Next to read was New York City literary agent Katherine Sands. She read excerpts from her book “Making the Perfect Pitch: How to Catch a Literary Agent’s Eye.”

“We’ve seen such great creativity up here,” she said. “Now comes the cold bath of reality.” Katherine noted that she’s always on the outlook for the next good book. When she reads fiction, she wants to be “compelled and propelled” and searches for writing that makes her want to turn the page.

The evening’s final presenter was Rita Rosenkranz who founded her own literary agency after a career as editor with major New York City publishing houses. She’s represented several books on the West, including "Guns of the Wild West" with the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. She loves to travel. “In Wyoming, you see the world horizontally instead of vertically,” she said, which gives you a different perspective. She read an excerpt of a book she represented, “A Survival Guide to Landlocked Mermaids.” The title, she said, “seized my imagination.”

All of these talented people will be conducting talks and workshops as the conference moves into Saturday and Sunday. There also will be award ceremonies and a Saturday night open mike reading, which may last until the cows come home. All events are at the Ramada Riverside in Casper.

--Michael Shay, June 7, Casper

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Film celebrates Wyoming's women & girls

Matt Flint paintings at Jackson gallery

The Lyndsay McCandless Contemporary Gallery in Jackson presents its monthly “First Friday” event on June 6, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Meet Lander painter Matt Flint, winner of a 2008 Wyoming Arts Council visual arts fellowship. Also joining in will be photographer Richard Speedy and his backcountry guide Santiago from the Copper Canyon region of Mexico. At 6 p.m., Richard and Santiago will share their experiences over the last twenty years with the Taramuhara of Mexico.


Casper bookfest features fly-fishing panel

This press release comes from writer Tom Rea, coordinator of the 2008 Equality State Book Festival in Casper:

A panel of nationally known fly-fishing writers will top the attractions of the Equality State Book Festival Sept. 18-20 in Casper.

Anglers, readers, and the generally curious won’t want to miss the public conversation Saturday morning, Sept. 20 at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, among four writers who know their streams, fish, flies, and people so well. Leading the discussion will be Casper’s own book-readin’ fisherman, Bill Mixer.

Join Mixer along with John Gierach, Ted Leeson, Mallory Burton, and Chad Hanson for an hour and a half of talk, tips, half-truths, and questions.

Gierach, of northern Colorado, is the longtime columnist for Fly Rod and Reel magazine and author of Standing in the River Waving a Stick, Dances with Trout, Sex Death and Fly-fishing, Trout Bum, and fourteen more. Gierach writes book after book filled with fish and good humor, and makes both look easy.

Oregon angler Leeson’s approach to fly fishing is sometimes more how-to than Gierach’s, for example The Benchside Introduction to Fly Tying, and other times more meditative, as The Habit of Rivers: Reflections on Trout Streams and Fly Fishing and Jerusalem Creek: Fly Fishing through Driftless Country.

Mallory Burton has worked as a fishing guide in Wyoming and Montana and lives in Prince Rupert, British Columbia where, when not fishing, she works in the provincial schools. The stories in her book Green River Virgins and other Passionate Anglers often star women coping with men who think girls can't fish.

Casper College sociology instructor Hanson’s new book of nearly true fishing stories, Swimming With Trout, featuring a narrator named Chad and his wife named Lynn, came out last year and has been winning him some riparian fame outside the classroom.

The panel will start at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 20 at the Nic, and is just one of several panels, readings, and a daylong book fair at the same place that day. For details on the authors and the three days of readings, talks, panels, banquet, poetry slam, book fair, workshops and more at Casper College and around town, check out or contact the festival organizers listed above

Salman Rushdie on UW fall schedule

From a UW press release:

Salman Rushdie, renowned novelist and human rights activist, will visit Laramie this fall as a guest of the University of Wyoming Department of English L.L. Smith Lecture Series.

The internationally-acclaimed writer will speak and answer audience questions at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25, in the UW College of Arts and Sciences auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. On Friday, Sept. 26, from 9-10:30 a.m at the Albany County Public Library (ACPL), Rushdie will lead a breakfast conversation about his writing. Attendance is free, but seating is limited. To reserve tickets, contact 307-721-2580 ext. 5456 or The event is sponsored by the Albany County Public Library Foundation.

Other events planned for Rushdie's visit include book discussions of "The Satanic Verses" in September, hosted by the ACPL. The University of Wyoming Libraries will provide a limited number of free copies of the novel to the public. Further details about the book discussions will be announced later.

"Salman Rushdie is one of the most successful, controversial and celebrated authors of our time," says Peter Parolin, head of the UW Department of English. "His work has won critical acclaim and widespread commercial success, while his ideas have stimulated, galvanized and provoked."

Rushdie is best known for the worldwide storm surrounding his novel "The Satanic Verses," which led to a standing death sentence from the Islamic regime of Iran. Since then, he has been an outspoken advocate for freedom of expression and mutual tolerance.

Rushdie is currently distinguished writer in residence at Emory University near Atlanta. His tenth novel, "The Enchantress of Florence," was published this spring.

The English department's L.L. Smith Lecture Series, named in honor of a former department head, brings distinguished authors to Wyoming. Recent L.L. Smith speakers include Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka and Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje.

Hands in Harmony presents free concert

The Wyoming Arts Council invites you to attend a special event at 7:00 p.m. on June 14, 2008 at the Cheyenne Civic Center. On that date, Hands in Harmony will present its Thank You Cheyenne, a free performance in appreciation for financial support received from the community. Representative Amy Edmonds will present a $5,000 check to Hands in Harmony that evening on behalf of the Wyoming Arts Council, the Wyoming State Legislators, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hands in Harmony was victimized by a theft earlier this year. All of its operating funds disappeared, except for $100, jeopardizing the group’s summer tour. Since then, local organizations and individuals have contributed towards the budget shortfall and for the trip to New York City where the young people will perform at the United Nations headquarters and Saint Paul ’s Chapel at Ground Zero. The tour will include 14 performances, with stops in Omaha, the Lake George area in Upstate New York, at the Civil War Reenactment and in the Lower Marsh Presbyterian Church in Gettysburg, Penn., and in Hershey, Penn.

A recipient of the Governor’s Arts Award, Hands in Harmony is a dedicated group of young people who speak and sing with their hands for those who hear with their eyes. The organization has been a vital and active part of the Cheyenne and Wyoming communities for over 20 years.

Opportunites: American Academy in Rome

From the American Academy in Rome:

The American Academy in Rome invites applications for the Rome Prize competition. One of the leading overseas centers for independent study and advanced research in the arts and the humanities, the Academy offers up to thirty fellowships for periods ranging from six months to two years.

Rome Prize winners reside at the Academy's eleven-acre center in Rome and receive room and board, a study or studio, and a stipend. Stipends for six-month fellowships are $12,500 and stipends for eleven-month fellowships are $25,000.

Fellowships are awarded in the following related fields:
- Architecture
- Design (including graphic, fashion, industrial, interior, lighting, set, and sound design, engineering, urban planning, and other related design fields)
- Historic Preservation and Conservation (including architectural design, public policy, and the conservation of works of art)
- Landscape Architecture

Fellowships are also awarded in: Literature (by nomination through the American Academy of Arts and Letters); Musical Composition; Visual Arts. In the field of humanities we award fellowships in Ancient Studies; Medieval Studies; Renaissance and Early Modern Studies; and Modern Italian Studies.

Competition deadline is Nov. 1, 2008.

For further info or to download guidelines and applications, visit the Academy's website at or contact the American Academy in Rome, 7 East 60 Street, New York, NY 10022-1001, Attn. Programs. (212) 751-7200, ext. 47; F: (212) 751-7220; E: Please state specific field of interest when requesting information.

June 6 "Artist Talk" opens Sowada exhibit

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Fiber artists featured at Lincoln Center

Phillippa Lack of Cheyenne is one of the artists featured in the Northern Colorado Weavers Guild Fiber Celebration 2008 through June 24 at the Lincoln Center Galleries, 417 W. Magnolia St., Fort Collins, Colo.

This juried exhibition features national and international fibers artists. This year, 56 works of art are being featured in all fiber media including spinning, weaving, dyeing, basketry, sculpture, felting, garments, furniture, beading, knitting, and embroidery. The juror for this year's exhibit is Nebraska artist and teacher, Layna Bentley.

FMI: 970-221-6733

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

NOWOODSTOCK VIII Aug. 8-10 in Ten Sleep

NOWOODSTOCK VIII: The Ten Sleep Music Festival will be held August 8-10 at Vista Park in Ten Sleep.

Performers include Desert Flyers, Steve Thorpe, Special Consensus, T-Bird Huck and MVP Band, Cosmic Connection, Jalan Crossland Band, Street Smart, Danny Many Horses Rael, and Dan Haley.

Admission is $15 for Friday and Sunday, $20 for Saturday, and $30 for a weekend pass. Military personnel serving from 2000-present show your DD214 or Military ID to receive two free weekend passes. Senior citizens get in for half price on Sunday and kids 12-and-younger are free.

FMI: Pat O'Brien at 307.431.2022.

Women's Photography Show reception June 6

Terry Reid from Laramie sent this dispatch:

You are invited to a reception for the third annual Women's Photography Show on Friday, June 6, 6-8 p.m. (held during the First Friday Gallery Walk) at Night Heron Books, 107 E. Ivinson Ave., Laramie. The show runs through the end of June.

With 22 participating photographers, the Women's Photography Exhibit is the most successful to date. Participants include: Stormy Apgar, Beth Buskirk, Angela Campbell, Susan Davis, Enja, Carolyn Gordon, Doreen Granke, Heather Hamilton, Joann Hillman, Bonnie Johnson, Deborah Kratzer-Reid, Nicole Lucas, Ginnie Madsen, Sigrid Mayer, Joyce Nelson, Polina Novikova, Carol Ostrom, Gail Otto, Michelle Stark, Sheanna Steingass, Sandy Tracy, and Mary Williams.

Sponsored by Gallery of the Northern Front in conjunction with Night Heron Books.

These photographers have websites featuring their work and invite you to check them out: T.D. Granke, Beth Buskirk, Deborah Kratzer-Reid, Polina Novikova, Mary Williams, Nicole Lucas, and Stormy Apgar