Dennis Ziemienski’s featured Fall Arts Festival painting depicts a woman on horseback, her steed drinking from a clear pool of mountain water as she tips her face to the sky.
The work, aptly named “Teton Reflections,” is the perfect theme for the 34th Fall Arts Festival. It’s also the perfect time for reflection on Jackson’s art scene, examining where it’s been, where it is now and where it’s headed.
We start with Ziemienski, whose work provides opportunity to dive into “the new Old West,” an examination of Western art with a twist. When submitting work for consideration in the festival, Ziemienski only picked work that showcased women, a self-described nod to a recent political swelling that has 2018 unofficially dubbed “the year of the woman.”
The piece speaks to inclusion, of an artist seeing a societal blind spot and addressing it head on. It’s a concept friendly to creatives, who have long used their chosen medium as a way to inspire action. This year we reflect upon that tenacity, looking at artists who use their work to spotlight the wild lands and animals of our natural world (see section F).
We also reflect upon a recent accolade, a feather in the town’s artistic cap. “Jackson lands on the map,” a feature found in section B, shares the story of how a small Western town has grown into an community named the second most vibrant arts town, standing behind Edwards, Colorado.
In addition to other themes, Ziemienski’s “Teton Reflections” also showcases the natural beauty of the Teton Range, a place that along with the rest of the Yellowstone region has drawn artists from around the world. The anchoring feature in section C, “Peaks of Inspiration,” examines this place as a spring of inspiration, while the next feature, “Home on the Range,” details the challenges local artists face when making their living and their home in the shadow of the Tetons.
Finally, we turn our reflections to our roots in section D, to the galleries and artists who were creating Western Art before Western Art was a genre. We look to artists who are “redrawing the West,” exploring new themes and mediums, and the statements they’ve made with their work.
We hope you take time to reflect upon what this festival, these artists, this work and this community means to you as you explore 10 days of arts and events. Welcome to the 2018 Fall Arts Festival.
— Melissa Cassutt and Julie Kukral, 2018 Fall Arts Festival Editors