Buzz Aldrin award

Moonshot’s Buzz Aldrin Award winner, Tenley Thompson, proposes to put slices of fallen tree trunks in public art space with notes linking the rings to human history.

Six artists shot for the moon Thursday, hoping to earn votes for their public art proposals.

Jackson Hole Public Art livestreamed its Moonshot 5x5 event from the Center for the Arts. Ideas presented ranged from murals — both physical and virtual — to textile recycling on a grand scale.

At the end of the night, Tenley Thompson was named the winner of the “Buzz Aldrin Award” for garnering the most votes, receiving $1,000 for her idea “Tree Time,” which would bring slices of fallen tree trunks into public art space. Specific rings would be marked with notes about what people were doing at that time in the tree’s growth.

“Whitebark pines can live 1,000 years,” Thompson said. “A Douglas fir can be 500 to 800 years old.”

In five minutes, she showed five slides (hence “5x5”), she showed images of stumps with arrows pointing to rings noting the arrival of Snow King’s first chairlift, Jackson’s 1920 all-women Town Council and the founding of the Aerial Tram at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

“It will help humans know their place in the natural world,” she said. “It puts human history in the context of natural history.”

Winning the big prize does not mean Thompson’s proposal will be realized. Jackson Hole Public Art hosts the Moonshot to give artists the chance to present ideas to art boosters, who might then help develop them.

“Moonshot is the launching pad, and public art is about the community,” Public Art Executive Director Carrie Geraci said.

People are encouraged to get in touch with Public Art to see how they can help any of the ideas move forward.

Hosted by Jeff Moran wearing an astronaut suit, the 2021 Moonshot was a rapid-fire pitch night. Other presenters were Suzanne Morlock, who proposed giving textiles from the recycling center new life by transforming them into art. She has done so already with her famed Charlie Brown sweater, knitted from Mylar by-product in 2010 for the ArtSpot on Broadway, and with a recycled newspaper creation called “Magic Carpet Ride.”

Fernando Jauregui, a local architect, presented from Peru. He offered to bring art to some of Jackson’s unnamed alleys by having local artists paint murals, creating an “artistic atmosphere” for locals and visitors.

“To bring art to the street is to give people the possibility to connect with themselves,” he said.

Artist Borbay, from Victor, Idaho, gave energy to the idea of creating an “Exquisite Corpse.”

“It’s not that kind of corpse,” he said.

Instead, it’s where one artist begins a design on a wall and another artist picks up where the previous one left off. No one sees the whole mural until the final segment is finished and the surrealist assembly is revealed.

Kika MacFarlane noted how people’s connection to personal spaces have suffered with the rise of Zoom and online communications. Her “Wonderment” proposed taking a series of virtual murals linked up with social media filters around Jackson. Designed to “spark artful play and interacting,” MacFarlene said, the murals would be part of an “augmented reality” to bring virtual connection through virtual art.

Giving a tailwind to the teens in the community, Blanca Moya proposed “CreaTeen Fest,” a creation initiative to let people ages 13-19 connect with the community.

“When you create, there’s always a reason behind that,” she said.

Allowing teens to show their work also would let them show the community who they are. She proposed letting teens create with every medium — spoken word, drama, fiber art, woodworking, sculpture, photography and more.

Now that the six have launched their big ideas out into the universe, it’s the universe’s time to help make them real.

“This is what thinking outside the box looks like,” host Moran said. 

Contact Whitney Royster via 732-7078 or

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