SHERIDAN- — The Sheridan Public Arts Committee, the WYO Theater and SAGE Community Arts are gearing up to Celebrate the Arts with a downtown collaborative event on Monday, April 24.
“It’s a big, fun event downtown that’s all about the art in the community,” Sheridan Public Arts coordinator Micah Trampe said.
The Sheridan Public Arts Committee will unveil its new permanent addition to the downtown sculptures, titled “Interconnection,” along with 13 new on-loan pieces.
“It’s going to be, since SAGE just moved downtown, going to be all about the interconnection between the arts tied in downtown,” Trampe said.
The Sheridan Public Arts Committee will purchase “The Newborn,” a piece by Chris Petrocci Hershberger of Kansas currently on display in front of Side Street Bed & Bath. The YMCA in conjunction with the arts committee will purchase “Y for All,” the piece by Jane DeDecker out of Colorado on display near Big Goose Creek.
Both Big Horn and Tongue River schools purchased pieces from Sheridan Public Arts this year. Artist David Turner created Big Horn’s piece, “Bighorn Ram Bust” and Chris Navarro created “The Great Eagle’s Power” featured at Tongue River.
Debra Zelenak of Lander and Chris Navarro of Casper will again be featured with two pieces on loan with Sheridan in 2017. Zelenak brings a piece titled “A Feather’s Flight” and Navarro celebrates Native American heritage with “Spirit of the Thunderbird.”
Navarro likes exposing his art to as many people as possible. He appreciates what Sheridan Public Arts does for the community.
“(Sheridan’s) program’s been real successful,” Navarro said. “I think there are some other towns that have tried to do something similar, but I don’t think any has been near as successful as Sheridan.”
Navarro’s exposure in Sheridan led him to sell two of his pieces – “The Great Eagle’s Power” went to Tongue River schools last year and “Broken Just About Everything but my Word” the year before.
“Fortunately, some of my pieces have been purchased the last couple years,” Navarro said. “That’s always a nice benefit of it.”
Navarro created the sculpture in honor of Casper College’s mascot, the Thunderbird. His artist’s statement reflects the history of the mascot.
“Spirit of the Thunderbird depicts the Native American warrior medicine man in his ritual dance. Reverence for the half-man, half-eagle mythological figure was prevalent among all tribes,” it states. “They believed the Thunderbird’s shadow was a storm cloud. The flapping of his wings made the sound of thunder, and the rapid opening and closing of his flashing eyes sent forth lightning. These mystical powers brought the rain that replenished Mother Earth, and they tested man’s belief in the power of the Great Mystery in the sky above the earth.”
Zelenak’s piece is symbolic of the struggle to come to terms with destiny versus the importance of our life’s choices, similar to a feather floating on the breeze.
“The image implies that our destiny is tied to which way the wind blows and what happens to us is purely accidental,” he said.
“I prefer to believe as St. Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) put it that ‘the feather flew, not because of anything in itself but because the air bore it along. Thus am I…A Feather on the Breath of God.’”
A resident of Wyoming, Zelenak appreciates having her art displayed locally and, more specifically, on sculpture walks. She finds seeing people interact with the sculptures proves her favorite aspect of publicly-displayed sculptures.
“When most people go out and see art, it’s most of the time an ‘Oh, don’t touch,’ but a sculpture’s one of those things where you can actually interact with it, which is what I like about it,” Zelenak said.
Spencer Bohren is the featured show at the WYO on the evening of April 24, starting at 7:30 p.m. for a cost of $18. Before the show, community members may visit “The Long Line: Student to Masters in Drawing,” the open house at SAGE from 4-6 p.m. The unveiling of “Interconnection” will take place at 5 p.m. on the corner of Main and Brundage streets.
Throughout the day April 24, Frackelton’s will donate 100 percent of its sales to benefit Sheridan Public Arts Committee, the WYO Theater and SAGE.