History encourages people to stop repeating past mistakes. It has also inspired timeless stories of war and peace.
In Jackson history has made its mark on nine artists who have created work for a collaboration between the Art Association of Jackson Hole and the Jackson Hole Historical Society and Museum.
Asked to fashion pieces that are inspired by the museum’s collection, the artists made ceramic pots, collages, paintings, prints and other projects.
Their art is now on sale at the museum’s location at 225 N. Cache St. Some of the artists also made work for the museum’s second location, which is at the corner of Glenwood Street and Deloney Avenue.
“The Art Association has blossomed in the last few years,” contributing artist Valerie Seaberg said. “This is one example of how we are starting to realize the dream we had, which was to become more collaborative and have projects that are really synergistic.”
Museum board member Bill Best thought of enlisting the help of the association when he and his wife were discussing the gift items listed in Smithsonian Magazine.
“They have various catalog items based on their collections,” Best said. “We decided it would be fun to get a group of artists together, have them look at our collection and create art that relates to it.”
Interested in Best’s idea, the association’s employees recruited several artists who work in different mediums.
“We asked artists to submit proposals,” said Alison Brush, the association’s director of development and community relations. “The proposals were reviewed and nine artists were selected.”
For her collection of works, Seaberg used American Indian burnishing techniques to make ceramic pots.
“I buried my ceramic pieces,” Seaberg said. “Once they were covered with organic materials, I lit a fire over them and let them smolder until they turned black.”
Once the pieces had a shiny finish, Seaberg used a coil technique to weave horsehair and beads onto each pot’s lip.
“Horses have a long history with Native Americans and cowboys,” Seaberg said.
Like Seaberg, Callie Peet used several materials to make her collages that relate to a door from the Moose Head Ranch that is on display at the museum on Cache Street.
She said her decoupage creations were coincidental. Long before she decided to take part in the art and history collaboration, Peet purchased Moose Head Ranch stationery, letterhead and brochures at an auction.
When she saw the door, she knew she could finally put the Moose Head Ranch items to use.
Peet’s collages also have bottle caps, rulers, advertisements and postcards that were manufactured in the ’50s.
While Peet and Seaberg made multimedia pieces, Katy Fox decided to stick with one medium.
She painted 5-by-7-inch watercolors of photos she found in the museum’s archives.
“I feel like the landscape hasn’t changed that much, but the people have changed a lot,” Fox said. “The way we interact with the landscape has also changed.”
Wanting to show how people have changed over time, Fox used a monochromatic color palette to form images of photos that were taken in the ’30s, ’40s and ’60s.
“I painted a photo that was taken in the ’60s of a guy fishing,” Fox said.“I also painted a 1940s rodeo queen and a woman feeding chickens in the ’30s.”
Brush hopes that Fox’s paintings, and the other works that can be purchased, will get people interested in history.
“It’s unusual to find a project that is a collaboration between nonprofits that have the common desire to share the heritage of Jackson Hole’s culture,” Brush said. “It bridges the past and the present.”
Other pieces for sale include Dave McNally’s limited edition prints of American Indian portraits, Sharon Thomas’ paintings, Lee Naylon’s photographs, Christine Meytras’ paintings, Peet’s jewelry and Sam and Jenny Dowd’s ceramic pieces.