Did you know that Hans Kleiber was drawn to Wyoming by the U.S. Forest Service? In the early 1900s, the acclaimed German-born artist worked as a ranger in the Bighorn Mountains, where he was first inspired to write poetry, sketch and teach himself etching and printing. Kleiber spent the rest of his life in Dayton, which he referred to as “My Home Town” in at least one piece.

I recently learned these facts — among many — during the aptly named lecture, “Who Was Hans Kleiber And Why Is He Important?”

The event was the first in The Brinton Museum’s new “Fall Into Art” series. Every Thursday in October, the museum is hosting a free art lecture accompanied by a happy hour from 6-8:30 p.m.

And it is a true happy hour indeed: The Brinton Bistro has curated a small, beautiful dining menu just for the occasion, served alongside one complimentary drink per person. (Shameless plug for my favorite program: Press Pass members get another complimentary drink!)

Sounds too good to be true, right? Trust me, it’s real.

At magic hour on Thursday, my husband and I drove down the long tree-lined road to The Brinton. We watched the mountains deepen from our corner of the Bistro as we sipped our complimentary wine and beer and enjoyed plates of dijon salad with blackberries and avocado.

Shortly after sunset, we headed to the adjoining gallery to listen to the Kleiber lecture by Ken Schuster, The Brinton Museum’s director and chief curator. I knew woefully little about the famed Dayton artist, other than he was a favorite of my childhood best friend’s grandfather, John Patton.

That changed after Schuster’s presentation, which was informative, “short and painless” — his words. I was impressed by the depth of his knowledge on Kleiber’s background, his proffered theories on his work and his emphasis on the artist’s local connections. (In true small-town fashion, Grandpa Patton was a part of the slideshow for the donation of his impressive Kleiber collection to the museum.)

Our fellow guests enhanced the already lovely evening. They listened carefully, then asked just the right number of thoughtful questions that expanded our understanding of the artist. A woman seated in our row had even known Kleiber personally, adding a unique depth to a talk on an artist who died more than 50 years ago.

This was a special event, the type that reminds me how lucky we are to live in this community. Of course, there are more of such opportunities happening all the time throughout Sheridan County. And for the next few weeks, I intend to explore them in my column.

I would love help from you, reader. I will be going to the Brinton’s next “Fall Into Art” event next Thursday — and you should, too — but what other arts-and-culture happenings do I simply have to experience in October?

Email me your suggestions at caitlin.addlesperger@thesheridanpress.com.