2021 FAF - Public Art

Danny Filice, Miles Filice and Maysie Bell climb on the new troll installation, officially named “Mama Mimi,” by artist Thomas Dambo in Rendezvous Park. Jackson Hole Public Art helped facilitate bringing Dambo’s work to town. The nonprofit has an operating budget of roughly $240,000 and receives about 24% of that total from government grants, including from the town of Jackson and Teton County. It spends about 7% of its time on town and county projects.

Some public art projects in Jackson are large and imposing. Thomas Dambo’s newly installed troll sculpture, “Mama Mimi,” in R Park is one of them.

But others are somewhat innocuous: Town of Jackson utility boxes adorned with furry creatures from the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem, downtown trash cans and benches molded in the style of the elk antler arches, and pathway underpasses decorated with images of wolves and pronghorn going bipedal — to pedal bikes.

Those Jackson Hole Public Art projects blend into Jackson Hole’s community infrastructure. And, unlike Dambo’s troll, cash for those projects came in part from contracts with the town of Jackson, and the Jackson Hole Community Pathways department, which answers to and is funded by both the town and Teton County. Some also receive other funding that Public Art raises.

But local public funding is a relatively small portion of Jackson Hole Public Art’s budget.

The vast majority of money for public art projects in Jackson comes from other sources: private philanthropy, foundations and grants from larger public entities like the National Endowment for the Arts.

Carrie Geraci, executive director of Jackson Hole Public Art, hopes her organization — and public art, more generally — can play a larger role in town and county projects.

She’s advocating for two art-centric policy changes to make that happen.

“It’s trying to get a commitment to invest in the arts when we invest in infrastructure,” Geraci said.

Read more about public art in Jackson, how public art works are funded, and how Geraci would like to see that shift in the Fall Arts Festival special section that ran in this week's News&Guide. 

You can also read online at JHNewsAndGuide.com.

Contact Billy Arnold at 732-7063 or barnold@jhnewsandguide.com.

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(1) comment

Judd Grossman

Better to fundraise from the private sector and leave the taxpayers out of it.

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