Artist and art lovers gathered at the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area Visitor Center Saturday morning for an art show and demonstration that was the kickoff to a planned artist in residence program at Bighorn Canyon.
An artist in residence is someone who will come and live in the Bighorn Canyon NRA for a period of time ranging from two weeks to a month, Chief of Interpretation Christy Fleming said. The person can be an artist in photography, sculpting, bead work, writing, poetry or music, as well as painting, she said.
Visiting artists may live at the Ewing-Snell Ranch house, in a self-contained camper at the Caroline Lockhart Ranch, in a camper at the former camp host site on Loop B of the Horseshoe Bend Campground and in a self-contained camper at the Afterbay Campground in the North District of the park.
Slots in the program are available in the spring, summer and fall.
“Artists can focus for that time period on their art, with very little outside interference so they can focus on what they’re doing,” Fleming said. “But the person has to be open enough to share their art. If they’re at the Lockhart Ranch, say, and they’re painting, they need to be willing to take the time to discuss what they’re doing if a visitor approaches them and even be willing to give demonstrations where we can send people into the park to create art with them.”
Currently, all Bighorn Canyon NRA can do is offer a free stay, Fleming said, with no funding in place to pay an artist. She said she is working with the Western National Parks Association to establish a consignment agreement with artists so they can sell their work at the visitor center. She said 60 percent of the sale would go to the artist and 40 percent to the WNPA, 20 percent of which would go into an artist in residence fund, which could be used in the future for supplies, shows or a stipend.
The National Park Service has offered artist in residence programs for years, but “we’re just getting into it (at Bighorn Canyon),” Fleming said.
Fleming said the idea for an artist in residence program at Bighorn Canyon NRA came from Byron artist Denney NeVille, who along with the Friends of Bighorn Lake approached former Supt. Jerry Case about two years ago about setting up a program.
“They were throwing it around, and when I came back that was one of the things Jerry wanted me to get going,” Fleming said. “I contacted Denney, and he became the driving force. He kept me going.
“He’s the one who put the art show (on Saturday) together. He got the others to bring their pieces and volunteered to do a demonstration. It became a lot bigger than it would have been.”
There are currently 11 pieces hanging on the north wall at the visitor center, and the artwork will remain up until Dec. 15. All works are available for purchase by contacting the artist.
Participating in Saturday’s show were artists NeVille, Glen Hopkinson of Byron, Martin Garhart of Powell and Ulrike Opitz of Cody. NeVille gave an interesting demonstration, and Garhart added to the discussion about techniques.
Applications for the artist in residence program are due Jan. 31, 2014. Detailed information about the program is available at the NPS Cal S. Taggart Visitor Center east of Lovell, and the same information and an application form is available online at www.nps.gov/bica. Look for the tab on the right side of the home page.
by David Peck