Wyoming Arts Council Celebrates 50 Years Of Art

Nov 9, 2017

People gather for a drum circle at the Wyoming Art Council Summit
Credit Darrah Perez

The Wyoming Arts Council recently hosted 50 Years of Art in Lander. Director Michael Lange said the summit emphasized that it is looking to the future, by connecting arts from people with different social and cultural backgrounds, giving them the means to learn from each other.

Wyoming artist Robert Martinez is co-founder of the Northern Arapaho Artists Society and the Creative Indigenous Collective, and he is also one of the recipients of the 2018 Art Fellowship for the Wyoming Art Council.

Martinez said, “For half of those 50 years, I’ve been doing professional art trying to communicate ideas and imagery and thoughts and emotions and feelings to everybody in Wyoming.”

Teacher Paul Taylor focuses his teachings on Aboriginal wisdom from his native Australia. He said he came to the United States with no long-term plan, but stayed because he believes art is important in Wyoming. Taylor said, “[Art] creates community and it’s how we learn to live with each other and we need more of it right now.”

Wind River Reservation resident Shawn Ware is a photographer and artist and said he doesn’t plan his work, instead he is guided. His mother used to have a trunk full of photographs and that is how he grew accustom to the art of photography.

His artwork was shown at an art walk which coincided with the Wyoming Summit. It was the Lander Art Center fifth Around Town Native American Art Walk. This year’s show was comprised mostly of art work produced by Wind River Indian Reservation artists, but, also included artists from tribes around the country.

Stacey Stebner, Executive Director of the Lander Art Center, said, “Our community feels like it is important to have a show like this. This is one of the few opportunities where there are Native Americans and white folks out for an event, the same event, particularly in Lander.”