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Ucross Art Exhibit Features Women Artists

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On June 1, after the Ucross Founders Day Celebration, the Ucross Art Gallery opened the new traveling exhibit, “Wyoming Women to Watch.

The exhibit is a partnership between the Wyoming Committee of National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) in Washington, D.C., and the Ucross Art Gallery. The gallery is honored to present the five Wyoming artists who were shortlisted for New Worlds: Women to Watch 2024, a biennial exhibition that shines a light on underrepresented regional artists.

The National Museum of Women in the Arts (NMWA) is the first museum in the world that is dedicated to championing women artists. It opened in 1987, and is located in Washington, D.C.

Of the five artists selected for the exhibit, four were present at Ucross for the opening of the exhibit.

One of the artists attending Sarah Ortegon HighWalking (Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho), whose work combines painting, beadwork, and performance to retell narratives of modern Indigenous women.

Ortegon HighWalking said she started doing art when she was four or five years old as a way to express herself in a large family. She talked about the exhibit at Ucross, and some of the other places she had exhibited her artwork.

“The artwork that I do relates back to my heritage, she added, “No matter what I do, because I’m Native American, it is going to have an impact on what I create.” She will come to Ucross as a fellow in February of 2025.

At the end of the event, Ortegon HighWalking performed a Native American jingle dress dance under black-light.

Jennifer Rife of Cheyenne had a display in the projection room, as well as several photos on one wall. She describes what she does with her unique blend of art and photography. She finds the objects in various places.

When asked about her art being chosen for in this exhibit, Rife said, “Its been an incredible opportunity. To have my work recognized. It’s a valuation of me as an artist.”

Ucross alumna Bronwyn Minton of Jackson had an undulating ceramic installation on one wall of the gallery. She was a fellow in Ucross in 2002 She talked about the exhibit and her installation.

Katy Ann Fox of Jackson displayed several of her oil paintings. She said her mother felt she had always been an artist. When looking for a place to live and do her art, she wanted somewhere that appreciated art but was rooted in the wild, and found Jackson.

“There was a better community for artists in Jackson,” she added. She talked about her artwork, and the exhibit at Ucross.

Leah Hardy could not attend, and her exhibit consisted of miniature anthropomorphize insects.

The artists in attendance gave a brief panel talk, and Ortegon Highwalking performed a black-light Jingle Dress Dance. The dance was done to Native American drums and chanting, and the jingle dress is sewn with multiple rows of metal that create a jingling sound as the dancer moves.

The exhibit will be at the Ucross Art Gallery through July 10. Gallery Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. There is also the Ucross Cafe inside the gallery, serving beverages featuring espresso by Snake River Roasting Co., a women-run specialty coffee roaster in Jackson, Wyoming, and freshly baked pastries by the Ucross artist residency program chef.

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