FORT LARAMIE – Ahead of last week’s blizzard, art enthusiasts from across the state gathered in Fort Laramie for a different kind of storm – one fueled by conversation and positive thinking to determine how to showcase and sell art in western Goshen County.
Invited speakers included Goshen County Economic Development Corporation Community Development Director Sandy Hoehn; Wyoming Humanities Council Executive Director Shannon Smith; Wyoming Arts Council Executive Director Mike Lange; TravelStorys Director of Sales Wells Howe; Fort Laramie Town Council’s Laura Curtsinger; and Wyoming Business Council Community Development Coordinator Desiree Brothe.
Hoehn spoke on the many ways GCEDC works to promote art and quality of life in the area with Main Street events, hosting the Southeast Wyoming Art Show in the 21st & Main Building, and offering a space for local artists to showcase and sell their work.
She also informed attendees of several programs and grants GCEDC offers for advertising and boosting arts in this community. Visit goshenwyo.com for details.
“The intersection between art and humanities is extensive,” Smith said during her presentation, adding WHC also provides funding to fuel art in Wyoming. “Working artists are 4 to 5 percent of the state’s economy … what would it take to get it to 10 percent?’
Smith said her organization is working with the state legislature and government to secure more public funding for the creative industry. See the WHC website at thinkwy.org.
As with GCEDC and WHC, the Wyoming Arts Council (wyoarts.state.wy.us) also offers grants to artists across the state,
“Our purpose is to try to help support the social and economic development of our state using the arts platform,” he explained, stating the art industry accounts for approximately 12,000 to 15,000 jobs in Wyoming. “We don’t want the barrier of bureaucracy … to slow down the (creative) activity.”
Local town leaders and creative community members were also in attendance at the Fort Laramie Community Center Tuesday.
Following a no-host lunch, attendees participated in group discussions, and later, enjoyed an art show with several local artists’ work on display.