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Inspired By Yellowstone

Inspired By Yellowstone

Written by: , May 16th, 2023
Categories: General

As many of you know, art is essential to culture, society, and the human experience. Art can help you process your emotions and understand your surroundings better. It allows you to see life from a different perspective and makes you feel alive. Art has the power to stimulate the imagination, open the heart and mind to possibilities, fuel your imagination, and make you more observant (a great skill to hone as a Yellowstone resident!). Yellowstone National Park has been bringing local artists into the park and showcasing their talents for decades. To say that Yellowstone has inspired artists is an understatement. In many ways, the park owes its existence to the artists who found inspiration here.

In 1870, Wyoming was a territory and Yellowstone’s marvels were a mystery to Congress and most of the U.S. population. Back then — long before selfies, digital images, and Instagram — artists depicted the world’s wonders for a curious public. And in the case of Yellowstone, the photographers, illustrators, and painters who portrayed the area proved instrumental in its establishment as a national park. Artist Thomas Moran, and photographers William Henry Jackson and Frank J. Haynes played a seminal role in Yellowstone’s preservation.

Thomas Moran - Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone

More recently, artists-in-residence programs at Old Faithful were fortunate to have the talents of people like Carl Sheehan (Firehole Pottery) and Earl J. Cacho, a western painter to name just a few. In the park for over four decades, visitors could watch Carl molding mugs, bowls, and ornate vessels and then purchase his fine wares at the local retail shops. James Reed spent two decades in the lobby of the Old Faithful Inn selling his western wildlife paintings.

An artist program dubbed the Yellowstone Stage brought artists of various mediums into the park. It was subsequently rebranded and expanded over five years and is now called our Inspired by Yellowstone program. Each year more than twenty-five artists, including writers, are brought in from all around the region and beyond. Some are even former and current park staff. Photographers Lisa Culpepper, Steve Hinch, and Cody Brundidge, along with DG House, a renowned contemporary painter – all worked in our lodges at one time as housekeepers, guides, ski shop staff, or front desk agents.

Karen Tryman, Director of Retail, has been instrumental in growing this program into the exceptional showcase of talent it is today. Along with expanding the program’s depth, scope, and size, Karen, most notably, has made it more diverse. In 2019, we hosted its first Native American Marketplace. This summer, there will be three marketplaces at Old Faithful, Lake, and Mammoth, with approximately four indigenous artists at each. Traci Rabbit, Scott Frazier, DG House, Peter Ray James, Joanne Brings Thunder, and John Potter, as well as other Indigenous artists (to be announced later), will all exhibit their work.

Alongside the Native American Marketplace are artists who come in by invitation only. Each Inspired by Yellowstone representative shares a unique perspective of Yellowstone in their work. The participants range from painters to artisans to photographers, authors, and sculptors. They are eager to share their background and vision of the interface of creativity and Yellowstone. They set up in one of the hotel lobbies and share their work with the thousands of visitors that pass by daily. When asked how artists are “discovered,” so to speak, Karen points to getting out and about in the community along with opening herself up to new people and experiences. It involves a lot of networking with locals as we aim to source “Made in MT”, Wyoming, and regional products as much as possible. Current artists include Kathy Burk, glass artist; Paul and Patricia Gates with Yellowstone Agate Jewelry; author Elizabeth Watry, and Gangbusters Pottery.

Even for those who don’t consider themselves connoisseurs of art, the Inspired by Yellowstone program has something for everyone. It’s an enriching way to elevate your Yellowstone experience, expand your horizons, and make meaningful connections with the artists who share our passion for the park.