The Space to Create and Celebrate

By on June 6, 2018

Outdoor art installations and conservation to be focal points at Emily’s Pond

David Cleeland works on Bland Hoke’s small village of Treepoli. (Lucas Ayoub)

JACKSON HOLE, WY – When Laurie Andrews, executive director of the Jackson Hole Land Trust, asks people about their favorite property that the nonprofit has preserved, no one ever says Emily’s Pond, despite its immense popularity in the community.

“Emily’s Pond is loved and well-used, but people don’t realize it’s part of the work of the Land Trust,” Andrews said.

It’s why the organization selected it for this year’s FoundSpace, an outdoor art exhibit showcasing public access areas made possible by the Land Trust.

The event, in its fourth year, will feature the work of local artists Bland Hoke, Matt Daly, Jenny Dowd, Bronwyn Minton and Brittany Hill.

Hoke, for example, is creating a miniature village with small dwellings and rope bridges and ladders. This week he and volunteers worked on creating the bridges and ladders in Jackson Hole Public Art’s mobile design studio. Those that volunteered might be depicted among the small figures that inhabit the forest village, Hoke said.

FoundSpace was created after the Land Trust hosted several public listening sessions a few years ago. People said they didn’t know what properties the Land Trust preserved. They said they felt disconnected from the organization and its projects, Andrews said. FoundSpace, then, became a way to highlight the organization’s projects and engage the community.

“There’s a side of us all that is creative and when we connect to it, I find that there is a little magic that happens—especially when you are outside,” Andrews said.

The outdoor installations are a way to connect people to the landscape. “We find objects in open space, like when we are hiking and we find an unusual rock—it’s a little treasure,” Andrews said. “The idea is to treasure the spaces, what we find and everyone’s creativity in creating the art.”

But FoundSpace is also a reminder of the history of the land. The Land Trust protected Emily’s Pond in 1991, Andrews said. It’s easy to forget all the projects for which the organization has been responsible.

Explore Treepoli village upon its official unveiling Thursday at Emily’s Pond.

This year Daly is partnering with Dowd to create art for FoundSpace. Emily’s Pond provides interesting nooks and crannies that are “a little bit hidden in plain sight,” he said.

The two artists are creating thaumatropes, discs with images on both sides and string that when twirled, blend the two pictures and create an optical illusion. Dowd and Daly’s discs have short lyrical stories and an illustration. Each side works as its own composition, but when hand cranked to spin, it’s a unique piece. They plan to make 12 that tell the stories about small animals in the area, like cicadas having a graduation party and a little frog struggling to sleep.

Daly has participated in FoundSpace since its first year. It has introduced him to places he didn’t realize were Land Trust projects or offered public access.

“Then there’s this place like Emily’s Pond and anyone with a dog has spent many days there,” he said.

The art installations will compel people to see the environment they frequent in new ways, and it will draw their attention in different directions.

FoundSpace is fun creatively, Daly added, but also a way to pay respect to beloved areas in the valley. “I like to use art to draw attention to these places that are special and important, but also not as grand as others that get a lot of attention,” he said. 

FoundSpace opening, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Emily Stevens Park, with food from Genevieve Catering and music from Jess O’Neil and the Neversweat Players. The art remains in place until August 14.

About Kelsey Dayton

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