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State-wide call for Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds mural artist

Jackson Hole Public Art
A wall inside the Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds recently renovated community building will be the site of a new mural celebrating Western heritage and the building's legacy of farming, ranching, and connection.

Ever dreamed about creating a big painting? A really, really big painting? For artists across the state, now’s their chance – the Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds and Jackson Hole Public Art are looking for an artist to brighten up one long wall inside the fairgrounds’ recently renovated community building.

The wall in question is roughly three school buses in length and serves as the backdrop for a large gathering space that will be available to be used and rented by local organizations and tourists alike throughout the year. The theme for the new mural is “Western heritage,” in an effort to recognize and honor the Teton County Fair and Fairgrounds’ long history as a hub for farming, ranching, horseback riding, crafting and creating.

Carrie Geraci, the executive director of Jackson Hole Public Art, said the prompt for the mural intentionally leaves lots of room for artistic interpretation.

“Maybe it's the youngest ages of the 4-H community that's depicted in this mural, maybe it’s ranching and farming and growing your own food and produce,” she said. “It could even be about textiles and quilting.”

The mural press release cast the net of possibilities for the creation even wider, including “mountain men and fur trapping, wildlife, animal husbandry, horseback training, riding, and showing, outfitting and hunting, traditional homemaking activities like quilting, sewing, baking, gardening and canning.”

From the initial pool of applicants, up to three artists will be chosen by a selection panel of local residents in fields related to the theme and will then receive $500 to develop a site-specific concept for the mural. One artist will be chosen for the final project and will receive a $10,000 commission. Painting for the project is scheduled to take place between next January and March.

Geraci said the mural selection panel isn’t necessarily looking for wall-to-wall coverage for the project – just an iconic design that speaks to the building’s character. She said the mural is about bridging the past and the future.

“Public art is really great at capturing moments in time to share with future generations so we don't lose that little bit of history,” she said.

Geraci said that while previous experience with painting murals is helpful, applicants certainly don’t need to have created one before. She said Jackson Hole Public Art can provide mentorship and support on how to successfully work on such a large scale.

“We all have a great love of the Teton County Fair for different reasons, whether you're in 4-H, you love the rides, or you’re a rodeo buff – I think we'll be able to find an artist that can express our love of all those things in this mural,” she said.

Applications are due on November 15th and need to include a resume, references, images of previously created art, and a one-page letter of interest describing the artist’s work and past experience. Any artist living in Wyoming is invited to apply.

Hannah Habermann is the rural and tribal reporter for Wyoming Public Radio. She has a degree in Environmental Studies and Non-Fiction Writing from Middlebury College and was the co-creator of the podcast Yonder Lies: Unpacking the Myths of Jackson Hole. Hannah also received the Pattie Layser Greater Yellowstone Creative Writing & Journalism Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council in 2021 and has taught backpacking and climbing courses throughout the West.
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