With such a rich gallery scene in town, it should come as no surprise that Jackson is home to a vibrant community of artists. In fact, year over year Jackson Hole has been named one of the most vibrant arts communities in the country by the National Center for Arts Research.
And at the center of every great arts community? A great art center.
In Jackson the center of visual arts education is the Art Association of Jackson Hole. Run out of the Center for the Arts among many other arts nonprofits, the Art Association puts on workshops, classes and shows for artists of all ages.
During the Fall Arts Festival the Art Association shows off Jackson’s talents through Takin’ It to the Streets, a locals-only arts and crafts fair that shares a time and Town Square real estate with Taste of the Tetons.
“The local art scene in Jackson Hole is incredibly vibrant with talented artists creating in a wide range of mediums,” said Kirsten Corbett, marketing and communications manager at the Art Association. “We’re so happy to partner with the chamber and showcase unique, Jackson-based artists, who you may not necessarily find in local galleries.”
Corbett is right: Most of what you will find at Takin’ It to the Streets is not hanging in the town’s galleries — or on any walls for that matter.
Take Jackson native Padgett Hoke, who is returning to the fair after a two-year hiatus. Hoke creates simple, timeless jewelry inspired by the scenery, wildlife and lifestyle of the Tetons.
“I really like to have pieces that people, if they’re visiting, can pick up and bring home and have it remind them of their trip here, or — vice versa — if someone from Jackson is traveling and has one of the pieces they’re able to share their love for Jackson with other people,” Hoke said.
This year Hoke is sharing a booth with the sisters behind Iksplor: Kailey Gieck and Karissa Akin. The two women are artists — Gieck is a graphic designer and Akin is a photographer — but in the past year they have joined to start a children’s merino wool clothing and goods company.
“My sister and I had always wanted to work together on a project and start a business together,” Akin said.
Akin was disheartened with the quality of her daughter’s clothing — and the amount of waste she was creating every time she had to throw it away when it inevitably wore out.
Then she and her sister discovered the benefits of merino wool, especially for children: it’s thermo-regulating, less irritating than other fibers, has a longer closet life and composts more easily. The women started by making a blanket before making hats, neck warmers and base layers.
“We’re not a fashion company but we want to create great, functional layers for kids,” Akin said. ￼
This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Karissa Akin's name. — Eds.