CULTURE FRONT: Look up! Art exhibit surveys ‘Our UpYard’

By on February 17, 2015
The ‘Our UpYard’ exhibit includes photography by Michael Adler.

The ‘Our UpYard’ exhibit includes photography by Michael Adler.

Jackson Hole, Wyoming – “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking

As if channeling the famous cosmologist Stephen Hawking, two local organizations have teamed up to celebrate curiosity about the stars. Center of Wonder and Wyoming Stargazing present an art exhibit and related events that creatively explore the skyscape above. The opening reception is 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday at Center for the Arts Theater Gallery and lobby.

“It’s easy to forget that seeing the stars is a unique experience,” said Lyndsay McCandless, Center of Wonder’s executive director. “In other places, people do not have the luxury of enjoying the stars or a huge blue sky, whether due to light pollution or skyscrapers blocking the view.”

McCandless has curated an art exhibit based on a theme she dubbed “our upyard.” In the way that Jacksonites often refer to the Tetons as being “in our backyard,” McCandless hopes the community will similarly embrace the sky.

Participating “Our UpYard” artists include Michael Adler, Emily Boespflug, Alison Brush, Mike Cavaroc, Scotty Craighead, Alissa Davies, Camille Davis, Jenny Dowd, Sam Dowd, Wendell Field, Pamela Gibson, Dave McNally, Bronwyn Minton, Jeremy Morgan, Abby Paffrath, Ben Roth, Ryan Stafford and Mike Tierney.

The artwork ranges in media and subject. While some artists, like Mike Adler, will present images of actual skyscapes, others use abstraction or illustration to cogitate on looking up. Jenny Dowd’s “Proposed Star Catching Devices” features four drawings: a scoop, a net, a ladder and a long-range net blaster. “The devices are rather fantastic, but I think they might work,” Dowd said, playfully. “Wouldn’t it be awesome to throw a net and get a star?”

The “Our UpYard” reception doubles as a kick-off for Wyoming Stargazing’s “Save Our Night Skies” campaign. According to Wyoming Stargazing, “Light pollution in Jackson has become a problem for the health and safety of people and wildlife, not to mention its draining effects on our economy and our ability to enjoy dark night skies.”

Wyoming Stargazing board member Mike Cavaroc will present his documentary, “Reclaiming the Night: Preserving the Dark Skies of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.” Several hand-painted telescopes will be auctioned as part of the evening events. A portion of proceeds from all art sales will benefit Center of Wonder and Wyoming Stargazing. Weather permitting, Wyoming Stargazing will host stargazing opportunities on the Center lawn.

Once your wonder is piqued at the art reception, join a lunchtime talk from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m., Friday at Center for the Arts. Filmmaker Mike Cavaroc will discuss his “Reclaiming the Night” documentary, Phil Cameron from Energy Conservation Works will give tips on reducing light pollution, and Wyoming Stargazing will lead a solar session.

All events are free. For more information, visit or

Local art initiatives abound

Make a night of it on Thursday and visit Daly Projects grand opening as well as the UpYard exhibit. (See Daly Projects offers new venue, page 18.)

Then on Saturday, from 6 to 9 p.m., drop by Teton Artlab for Open Studios with visiting artists Michelle Ramin and Georgia Rowswell. Ramin makes paintings and drawings of seemingly everyday people engaged in everyday acts, yet her hyper-real color scheme hints at something else going on. Rowswell uses textiles like paint and is working on a series entitled Hot Yellowstone.

And, finally, make sure to order your share of Community Supported Art. A total of $400 gets you nine pieces of art by artists Eleanor Anderson, Scotty Craighead, Sue Fleming, Todd Kosharek, Abbie Miller, Bronwyn Minton, Dustin Nichols, Jenna Reineking and Steven Glass in collaboration, and Ben Roth. For details, visit

About Meg Daly

Meg Daly is a freelance writer and arts instigator. She grew up in Jackson in the 1970s and 80s, when there were fewer fences, but less culture. Follow Meg on Twitter @MegDaly1

You must be logged in to post a comment Login