What do a realtor’s office, a popular restaurant, a florist, an airstream trailer, and a vacant lot have in common? They, and many more, served as venues for Laramie’s Popup Artwalk Sept. 8 and 9.
The Popup Artwalk included approximately 50 venues featuring as many as 90 local visual artists, an artist’s village with music, theatre, a community art-making table, an iron pour, a street dance and a costume party. The shindig kicked off Friday evening and continued through Saturday, giving art lovers sufficient time to find and explore all the moving parts.
Seneca Creek Studios featured Celeste Havener’s landscapes alongside owner Allison Pluda’s photographs of the night sky. Havener’s paintings select lovely views, painted in rich greens and blues, of the huge landscape around Laramie and the Snowy Range. Pluda, on the other hand, captures the starry, starry sky with pinpoints of light against a deep blue background. Both artists’ work remind us to look around and take in the rich colors and breathtaking immensity of Wyoming.
The gallery also featured a few pieces of Gary Havener’s furniture, tables with smooth surfaces, imaginative use of wood and metal. Another artist, Meg Thompson, also displayed furniture at The Curiosity Shop. Thompson had a dining table with benches, as well as some smaller pieces, but the highlight was an exquisite slant-top desk, complete with silent drawers and cubbies. Both artists clearly value craftsmanship and design in their thoughtfully created pieces for the home.
The Boarding House Gallery, a newer space above Nu2You, featured Pipeline’s Art to the 5th Power. The airy, open space allowed plenty of room to absorb the combined work of Susan Moldenhauer, Wendy Bredehoft, David Klarén, Sue Sommers and JB Bond. Each featured his or her newest work and it was fascinating to note both the intersections and the diversions.
Both Bredehoft and Sommers are working with plant forms: Sommers in a more realistic manner with quick sketches and etchings; Bredehoft by examining plants through a microscope, then abstracting the shapes into paper cutouts laid on a gleaming, silver background.
Klarén and Moldenhauer are obliquely political in their work with Klarén exploring flag imagery and Moldenhauer using titles referencing current political, and personal, events for her wide black-and-white landscapes of the Laramie prairie.
JB Bond, who lives in Daniel overlooking a vast empty basin, is fascinated by crowded cityscapes. He displays both quick charcoal sketches and pieces forged from metal. These dark, beautifully wrought pieces detail windows and include flashes of polished metals for pinpoints of light.
In the reception area of an accountant’s office Diana Baumbach and Tessa Dallarosa’s art complementarily share space. Both artists use repetitive processes to create their work — cutting, knotting, stitching. It takes time, and contrasts with the Josiah Jindrich’s photographs next door at Coal Creek Coffee, which depend on finding the right moment in time. His black-and-white photos capture the landscapes through which he travels, including Wyoming, Alaska and overseas.
The Laramie Art Quilters took up residence in the Wyoming House for Historic Women. They utilized both indoor and outdoor space, inviting people into the museum. In the lobby, the walls were hung with brightly colored quilts. The tables featured scarves and bags, some with embroidery. They also had hand-dyed fabric for sale. My favorite, though, was a small piece only about 18 square inches, blue batik with brown batik strips along two sides. The artist had carefully bleached just a few lines to suggest a house with a simple roofline and some multipaned windows. The colors, along with the lines, suggested a house in the evening hours.
The Artist Village, conceived of as a creative way to expand the event, grew this year. As the event has grown, the demand for space has become an issue. The Village, held in a vacant lot adjacent to downtown, invited artists to park trailers and create installations. Two photo booths, one by BHP Imaging and another by Bailey Russel featuring tintype images, allowed guests to play with different kinds of photography. A sheep wagon built by Sterling Smith with an installation by Adrienne Vetter was on site. There was a stage with a constant rotation of bands, some live theater, and a local Irish dance group.
The University of Wyoming moved its annual Iron Pour downtown to the park for the public to watch. This is a neat event featuring a lot of hot liquid metal. It includes almost dance-like elements as people work around each other monitoring the metal, readying forms and pouring.
This review mentions only a few of the many venues and artists on display. The Popup Artwalk, organized by Wyoming Art Party in collaboration with Laramie Main Street, is a fun event for all ages now in its third year. Wyoming Art Party co-founder June Glasson says “We want it to change and adapt year to year so it can serve the needs of the community — so it can organically evolve. A big part of the Wyoming Art Party is being responsive and artist-driven, by the community, for the community.”
As a spectator, seeing how it shifts from year to year is one of the most exciting parts of the Artwalk. Organizers continue to explore ways to fulfill their mission of creating an inclusive arts event celebrating Laramie’s creative community while turning downtown Laramie into a dynamic community art space.
To learn more about it, and discover when the next one is scheduled, go to www.wyomingartparty.com.