The state of the arts in Jackson Hole is strong.
That is, if the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s new exhibit, “State of the Art: Student Art Show,” is any indication.
After closing for several weeks to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, the wildlife art museum reopened Feb. 16. It is now open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, with plans to resume its normal seven-day schedule May 1.
Currently on exhibit are photographer Noppadol Paothong’s “Sage Grouse: Icons of the West” and a “Living Legacy” tribute to wildlife art master Robert Bateman, along with jazz trumpeter-cum-sculptor Herb Alpert’s “Spirit Totems” on the edge of the museum’s hillside perch.
Most recently, the nationally recognized museum installed more than 300 works of art by student in kindergarten through 12th grade from Jackson Hole and Teton Valley, Idaho.
“The goal of this exhibit,” the museum writes on its website, “is to engage children with art on a higher level and demonstrate the sequential skills students learn through their school art programs.”
The museum regularly hangs art by regional and statewide students — winning entries of the state’s junior duck stamp art contest, for example — providing an uncommon showcase for young artists.
“This year’s theme alludes to this hidden underground network connecting us all,” Associate Curator of Education and Outreach Sari Ann Platt said, “even amidst the pandemic.”
The museum works with art teachers from both sides of the Tetons to make the exhibit happen.
“We really let it be student-directed,” Platt said. “We want the museum to feel like a community space, a community resource that’s a reflection of the vibrant community it serves.”
The “State of the Art: Student Art Show” has been a regular exhibit at the museum since before Platt joined the staff. She emphasized the importance of the light-hearted exhibit in times like these.
“It’s just really special to see that even in the midst of such stress, kids within the valley can find a creative outlet in art,” Platt said. “I’m honored that we can give them a platform to share their work with the community and to give them something positive to look forward to.”
And after weeks of creating and installing, the exhibit is finally ready to be enjoyed by the public. Marvel at the Teton region’s burgeoning artistic talent anytime between now and May 9. Visit WildlifeArt.org for information on the Student Art Show and other collections on display. ￼