Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Summer arts events flourish in Wyoming communities

Looking for something to do this summer?

You don't have to look very far.

The Wyoming Arts Council and the Wyoming Humanities Council have teamed up to chronicle "125 Days of Arts and Humanities." Why 125? Because this summer marks the 125th anniversary celebration of Wyoming statehood. The official big day is July 10. On that day, the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site holds a Statehood Celebration Day. That same weekend, you  can view Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei's sculptures in Jackson or groove to sounds of Marty Stuart and His Superlatives at the Big Horn Mountain Festival in Buffalo or ogle the art at Jackson Hole's art fair or talk mountains at the international climbers' festival in Lander or travel to the powwow in Ethete. Everyone should attend at least one powwow, Interesting and instructional, especially for us white folks who think we have all of the answers.

And that's just one WYO weekend.

On any weekend, you are almost certain to find a beerfest. A beer festival addresses the basic necessities of a summer weekend: craft beer, BBQ and music. Craft beer continues to make waves in WYO. We have some award-winners at Melvin Brewing/Thai Me Up in Jackson and Alpine. Snake River Brewery in Jackson has been brewing up Pako's IPA and a whole host of specialty brews for decades. They were among the first in the region to can their output. A new brewpub, Cheyenne Brewing Company, opens in early June in Cheyenne. You can get a more comprehensive list of craft brewers in Wyoming at

The Wyoming Brewers Festival is set for Cheyenne June 19-20. One of the interesting things about this festival is that its proceeds go toward rehabbing our city's historic train depot. The brewfesr culminates with a Saturday night concert by the Taylor Scott Band. Scott grew up in Cheyenne. There was a time when you could see the teen-age Scott and his band perform for free downtown. He's gone on to bigger and better things, his voice and musical skills honed from constant touring with his new band. Don't miss it.

Some final words. I've been working in the arts in Wyoming for 24 years. I continue to be amazed by the scope and variety of summer events. Many of the festivals on the list have arisen in the past 10 years. This is especially true of the brewfests, most of which feature music and some have art exhibits. Local food is a major element. At the Wyoming Arts Council, we joke about the fact that our small staff couldn't possibly attend all of the summer arts offerings. We could try, but who would be left to shuffle the state paperwork? But all of you can get out and support these events. That's what keeps these events going -- the sweat equity of local organizers. And your attendance.  

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