A familiar feature in town might be moving. Or disappearing. Depends on public support.
The ArtSpot, Jackson Hole Public Art’s exhibit space on the south side of Broadway near Karns Meadow Drive, needs to relocate. A new car wash is planned for the lot near Karns Meadow and Public Art said the plans suggest the ArtSpot’s got to go.
That means Public Art needs a new home for its exhibit, which is nearly a decade old, and the funding to move it there.
“I think it does bring joy to people’s everyday to look up and see something fun and interesting and creative out there,” Public Art Executive Director Carrie Geraci said.
Geraci has been involved with the project since the beginning. She was the executive director of the Center of Wonder 11 years ago when the nonprofit helped artist Bland Hoke convert an old, worn-out sign from the Chevron gas station into an art display.
She was also there when Hoke used recycled objects from across town to retrofit the Chevron sign. Snowplow scraper blades, a winch from a bank vault, and a modified chairlift tower from Jackson Hole Mountain Resort all made the cut, ushering in the ArtSpot as it is currently known.
Now, Geraci is still at it, working to find a new home and finance the move.
The first part is in the bag: artist and former Olympian Pete Karns agreed to allow Public Art to install the ArtSpot on his family’s property across the street from its current location.
The second part is in the works. Geraci and the Public Art team have launched a Kickstarter to raise $10,000 to pay for the move, repairs to the structure and stipends for the first few artists who display in the new location.
“It needs a little love before going back up,” Geraci said. “Might as well spruce it up before we put it back out there.”
Some of that “love” includes minor repairs, like switching out the winch to help raise and lower the display. The process of moving isn’t easy, either. Excavating and pouring a concrete base for the structure will require engineering. Jorgensen Engineering is designing the foundation; Nelson Engineering is reviewing plans.
“Public safety is our number one concern,” Geraci said.
But there’s also a possibility that the ArtSpot might disappear.
Public Art’s board will decide what to do if the Kickstarter doesn’t go through, Geraci said.
“There’s a chance we might have to retire the ArtSpot and recycle it,” she said.
That would be a blow for artists like Mike Piggott, who’s shown work at the ArtSpot before, and David Watson, a relatively new artist who’s next on the docket if funding comes through.
As a fairly well known Jackson painter, Piggott said the ArtSpot gave him a rare opportunity to try a public art project for the first time. Though he loves painting, the logistics of a public installation always overwhelmed him. Working with the Public Art team changed that. Geraci and her team took one of Piggott’s digital drawings and elevated it, literally.
He also likes driving through town and seeing new pieces go up.
“I like seeing what our artists are doing,” he said.
If Watson has his time at the spot, he’ll be transforming “Stampede,” a painting that hung in his first-ever show at Snake River Brewing, into a colorful 3D display.
Transitioning from one medium to another won’t be easy and it’ll be a new experience for the artist.
“If your practice is studio-based and you do want to venture out into the public realm, this is a great way to explore that,” Geraci said.
For Watson’s piece the plans are ready and set to be reviewed by engineers. There’s just one thing standing between him and an install: relocation. ￼
The second paragraph in this story was updated to clarify the ArtSpot may need to move. An earlier version suggested it would have to move. — Eds.