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The Ucross Foundation is reopening its art gallery after a year-long renovation

The Ucross Foundation has reopened its art gallery to the public after a year-long, $1.6 million renovation. Additional work was also undertaken to construct a dance studio onto the Big Red Barn, which houses the gallery and cost around $1 million. This allows dance artists to be welcomed to the famed artists residency program.

The renovation was intended to allow a better experience for both artists and visitors to Ucross’s main public attraction.

“The gallery that existed before had lower ceilings and it was hard to light, there were obstructions, beams in the way of many walls, so it was limited what we could install in the gallery space itself,” said William Belcher, president of the Ucross Foundation. “The idea of renovating the gallery was to open it up to make it two stories to allow for sculpture and installation and different types of work.”

The renovation was also a necessary step to keep pace with the trends and developments that art can take in the 21st century. This includes space for sculpture, audio, and video technologies that the art world has increasingly utilized.

“It's a good reminder that when our artist residency program began in 1983, the first residents, the first four studios, were in that Big Red Barn,” he said. “[It] has gone through different iterations and renovations to be used as a gallery of course, and now this is that sort of next iteration, a renovated gallery and the connection to a dance performance space. So, it symbolizes our growth and our evolution over the course of four decades.”

A preview was held on Nov. 2 with several attendees coming from the surrounding area and as far away as Casper. The formal opening is Nov. 4 at 6 p.m. One of the first exhibitions in the newly renovated gallery isTime, Mark, Memory: Ucross at 40, which features the work of 15 contemporary visual artists that have spent time at Ucross as fellows and is curated by another Ucross Fellow and arts writer, Leah Ollman.

Beginning Nov. 5, the gallery will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday or by appointment. The reopening is part of Ucross’s40th anniversary fundraising campaign, which is seeking to raise $5 million by the end of 2023.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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