“There are just so many things to do in Sheridan,” the man sitting next to me at the WYO Theater’s encore performance of “The Addams Family” said enthusiastically. He’d recently moved back to Sheridan after living elsewhere for 20 years. Gesturing at the crowds filling the beautiful art nouveau theater, he added, “You can’t do this in [other cities this size].”
He’s right: there is always something going on here. Sheridan County is indeed a center of arts and culture. As this beautiful fall becomes winter, let’s plan to take advantage of experiences we may have overlooked in the past.
Arts/cultural activities in Sheridan County this winter:
• SAGE Community Arts presents T.A. Lawson’s exhibition, “Hometown.” Reception is tomorrow, Nov. 15, 6:30-8:30 p.m. Lawson is a world-renowned artist, so this prestigious public event is highly anticipated. SAGE (Sheridan Artists Guild, Et al) offers classes and presents regional and national art shows.
• Sheridan College Theater and Dance Departments presents “Nunsense” at the Mars Theater (in the WYO Theater Performing Arts and Education Center) Nov. 15, 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m.
• The Brinton Museum’s Forrest E. Mars, Jr. building befits the world-class collection of western art and Native American artifacts. Three rotating exhibit spaces means there’s always something new. The Brinton 101 annual small works show opens Nov. 18 with a meet-the-artists reception from 3-5 p.m. Winter hours are 9:30-5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
• School programs, art shows, plays and concerts — these events will delight you, especially if your kids are grown. Support art in our schools and encourage a young friend (from pre-school to college) in the arts by watching them perform.
• SHS Drama Club’s “Peter & the Starcatcher,” Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. and Dec. 2 at 2 p.m.
• Civic Theatre Guild — See “Escanaba in the Moonlight” (an Upper Peninsula deer hunter comedy) in the charmingly intimate Carriage House Theater (at the Trail End State Historic Site) on Nov. 29, Dec. 1, 6 and 8 at 7:30 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinées Dec. 2 and 9.
• Jentel Presents The Jentel Foundation’s artist residency participants present their work on Dec. 4, Feb. 5, and March 5, from 5:30- 7 p.m. in the basement of SAGE Community Arts. Q&A sessions follow presentations at this free, open-to-the-public outreach.
• Trail End State Historic Site — If you haven’t toured the John B. Kendrick family’s Flemish Revival mansion, there’s still time this fall. Hours are Monday through Friday 1-4 p.m. through Dec. 14. The annual Holiday Open House is Dec. 7, 8 and 9. Check the website for times.
• The Hub on Smith encourages people of all ages to take part in its classes and events. It hosts Sheridan County Museum’s “Casual Conversations” (Dec. 12, 10:30-11:30 a.m.) where residents can learn and discuss regional history. The Hub also hosts a book club, meeting at 1 p.m. every first and third Wednesday.
• Sheridan County Museum — Tom Warnke’s intricate dioramas provide views of Sheridan County during times of the Acme mines and the Tie Flume operation. Experience the rich and diverse history of Sheridan County. Hours are Thursday through Saturday, 1-5 p.m.
• WYO Performing Arts and Education Center — Long the center of entertainment in Sheridan, the WYO theater greatly expanded its schedule with the new facilities. See the long list of musical and theatrical shows on its website.
• Sign up for an art class through NWCCD, SAGE Community Arts, Red Bison Pottery, Studio Café, Expressions Gallery, The Paint Post, The Hub on Smith or at other businesses or community centers.
• Sign up for a culinary class at the college, or in the newly expanded kitchens at Cottonwood Shop or Verdello’s.
• Tour Tom Balding Bits and Spurs — it’s free! See how artistry and function combine in their world famous workshop. This place was featured on the Discovery Channel.
• Luminous Brewhouse features “Bluegrass Old Timey Jam Performances” on Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. Blacktooth Brewing Company and other venues often host live music or jam sessions. Several local and regional bands tour nationally; hear them in Sheridan and wow your Facebook friends with a photo.
• The Historic Sheridan Inn’s Winter Concert Series hosts live music for your dancing pleasure on Friday nights Jan. 4 through March 29.
• Tour the King’s Museum. If you haven’t been to this hidden gem, it’s directly behind the famous King Ropes store, inside the rope and saddle building (also something to see, as Sheridan is known for its leather workers). This collection of historical items, photos, saddles and Native American artifacts is sure to impress. The volume could fill a huge museum, so it will take several trips to see it all, and admission is free. The perfect place for “I spy,” with (well-behaved) children, there’s even a cow skull that resembles a rhino.
• The Sheridan County Public Library System, besides offering literary escapes from the cold, presents art shows on its mezzanine and Inner Circle. The library’s Wyoming Room is a haunt for history buffs.
• Visit art galleries or ask to see an artist’s studio. Expressions Gallery’s show “Found Metal Finds Fused Glass” runs through Dec 7. Don’t forget galleries outside of town, like the Ucross Foundation or the Edward A. Whitney Gallery at Sheridan College. There are two galleries in Dayton and some in Buffalo, too.
How could anyone get bored? If we make time for new experiences, it will not only enrich our lives during the cold months, but will encourage all those working in the arts, keeping Sheridan County vibrant with cultural and artistic pursuits.