HIGH ART: Caring about cairns

By on September 10, 2013

Map of Public Art by Emma Hazlett

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – They are meant to lead the way, to guide and memorialize.

In the mountains few things are as welcome as a well-defined cairn when you think you’ve lost your way.

Jackson artist Bronwyn Minton has created a six-foot cairn that will stand at the Center for the Arts for a year. Smaller, more mobile cairns will surround the large installation. The small ones are meant to engage the imagination of those who pass by. People are encouraged to rebuild the smaller stack as they wish, allowing for an ever-shifting design, said Carrie Geraci, director of Jackson Hole Public Art.

Minton always has been drawn to stacking objects in her work. She has often created pieces like cairns and likes the interaction and idea of balance. There’s something meditative about getting objects to fit together in an unexpected way, and they are mysterious. Who built the cairn, when and why?

Minton’s piece is made of wood and concrete that’s been carved and molded. It weighs about 1,200 pounds. The smaller pieces were carved by community members from balsa wood and stained for weatherproofing. They are light enough for a child to stack and not injure anyone if they fall, but heavy enough that the pieces won’t blow away, Minton said.

The project is a community undertaking, Geraci said. Artist Owen Ashley has screen-printed cairn project t-shirts for sale at the Public Art Office in the Center for the Arts. Jorgensen Associates donated engineering services to help review the structural design of the major installation.

Public art installation by Bronwyn Minton. A large Cairn on display at the Center for the Arts. COURTESY CARRIE GERACI

Public art installation by Bronwyn Minton. A large Cairn on display at the Center for the Arts.

After a call for proposals, Minton was picked unanimously by the JH Public Art panel to create a public art project. The panel awarded Minton $5,000 for the project, funded by grants from the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, Wyoming Arts Council, Cultural Council of Jackson Hole, C3 and private donations. She raised additional funds needed to complete and support the project by selling miniature cairn sets featuring five handmade forms sculpted from porcelain, stoneware, elm and pine.

Cost of the miniature sets is $400. To purchase one contact Geraci at 307-413-1474.

About Kelsey Dayton

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