Après with Art

Après with Art

Get your culture on at the Third Thursday Art Walks. And then grab dinner in town.

Après with Art

Get your culture on at the Third Thursday Art Walks. And then grab dinner in town.


Après with Art
The Third Thursday Art Walks are free and set for December 27, February 19, and March 19 this winter. Photo by Bradly J. Boner

I PRACTICALLY DIVE into Altamira Fine Art, less than a block away from downtown Jackson’s Town Square, to escape the bone-chilling cold chasing me from every direction. Big, bold canvases greet me as forcefully as the cold I fled. But this greeting is much more pleasant. In addition to art, it includes a table of prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, cheese and crackers, crudités, fruit, and a wine bar.

But it’s John Nieto’s luminous acrylics that hold my attention. Nieto, an American contemporary artist whom Altamira regularly features, was raised in New Mexico near an Apache reservation; the subjects of his work reflect his Hispanic and American Indian ancestry. It turns out that tonight the gallery isn’t just featuring his work, though. It’s a celebration of the opening of an entire exhibit dedicated to Nieto’s paintings.

Après with Art
Up to twenty-six galleries spanning a variety of genres participate in the Third Thursday Art Walks. Photo by Bradly J. Boner

That it was the opening of Nieto’s exhibit isn’t the sole reason this winter night is different than others. It’s the third Thursday of the month, which means the Third Thursday Art Walk is happening. On the third Thursday of (almost) every month, the Jackson Hole Gallery Association’s member galleries host an art walk from 5 to 8 p.m. It’s free, and you can hit as many or as few galleries as you like. Not every gallery on the art walk has an opening or special exhibit during the event, but, “We definitely think about timing openings and exhibitions with Third Thursdays,” says Kimberly Fletcher, marketing and communications director at Trailside Galleries, which has been open in downtown Jackson for more than fifty years. “It doesn’t always work—if we’re doing a group show, corralling artists to be here on one night can be like herding cats—but it’s something we always think of.”

Twenty-six of Jackson Hole’s galleries are members of the Jackson Hole Gallery Association, whose mission is “to support the artistic and cultural heritage of the greater Jackson Hole area.” The goal of the association’s Third Thursday Art Walks is simple: to spread the word about the local art scene by exposing locals and visitors to it, while plying them with wine and yummy snacks. “The Art Walks are a great way for clients and shoppers to see what each gallery here has and how each is unique,” says Amy Morton, the president of the Gallery Association. “Winter Art Walks are especially fun because it’s quieter; you can really have the chance to visit and chat.”

Après with Art
Kate Hunt’s newspaper and steel Davidson Flag was shown at Chicago’s SOFA. Locally, her work can be found at Diehl Gallery.

JACKSON IS STEREOTYPED as an outdoor adventure town, which isn’t exactly inaccurate, but neither is it wholly accurate. Our outdoors are only part of the story. In addition to drawing skiers, climbers, mountain bikers, and fishermen from around the world, Jackson Hole also attracts artists and collectors. This valley, which is home to more than thirty galleries, is an internationally recognized art destination. The Jackson Hole Gallery Association says we’re the “art center of the Rockies.” While we started as a center for western and wildlife art, today the scene is expanded. You can still find work by the country’s western and wildlife artists, of course, but you can also find Frida Kahlo-influenced portraits by Charlie Emmert and Kira Fercho’s modern impressionistic oil paintings (both at RARE Gallery). At Diehl Gallery, you can find object-oriented pieces by Kate Hunt and mixed media work inspired by planetary science by Monica Petty Aiello.

At Horizon Fine Art Gallery, proprietor Barbara Nowak represents artists creating everything from furnishings to jewelry, paintings, and sculpture. One Horizon sculptor, Pete Zaluzec, makes pieces mixing bronze and river stones. From a distance, a Zaluzec piece looks like a bronze bugling elk. Once closer, though, you see the elk’s body is four river stones bound together within a framework of bronze—a wild creature made partially from a wild material. “There’s no one else doing what Pete is doing,” Nowak says. Horizon also has paintings by the Spanish impressionist Giner Bueno and by American tonalist Charles Philip Brooks. “Walking around from gallery to gallery now, you get to see a much greater variety of work and styles than you could even five years ago,” Nowak says.

WE LOVE THE Art Walks as an après-ski (or après-snowmobiling or après-snowshoeing) and pre-dinner activity. In fact, Diehl Gallery, one of the galleries most responsible for bringing more modern work into the valley’s art scene—representing artists from Hull to Ashley Collins and Gwynn Murrill—had the idea of art for après-ski even before the Art Walks were an official winter event.

For six years, on Friday evenings—not just third Fridays, but every Friday—during the ski season, Diehl has been hosting Après-Ski & Art. “Jackson, nor anywhere in Wyoming, isn’t really easy winter walking. We like to give people a special reason to brave the elements. We decided Fridays are a good opportunity for us to offer a glass of wine and a festive environment for both guests and locals to stop in after a day of work or skiing, or before dinner in town. But we don’t do our Après-Ski & Art nights at the expense of the Third Thursdays. We make those evenings an event, too. We’re excited to get people out as many nights as we can to see the great art we have.” The wine and snacks—and warmth—are never bad, either.

Après with Art
See Pete Zaluzec’s work mixing river stones and bronze at Horizon Fine Art Gallery.



Nuts & Bolts

Third Thursday Art Walks are December 27, February 19, and March 19 this winter. Visit the Jackson Hole Gallery Association website, jacksonholegalleries.com, for details. On the same website you can find a map of the valley’s galleries. All downtown galleries participate. The Art Walks are free and from 5 to 8 p.m.

Restaurants we recommend to pair with your Art Walk:
RARE Gallery is only a few feet from the Snake River Grill, whose executive chef, Jeff Drew, was nominated for the James Beard Award “Best Chef: Northwest” in 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Trio, which serves elegantly rustic American bistro fare (including a s’more baked in a wood-fired oven) is convenient to both Diehl Gallery and Tayloe Piggott Gallery, which together represent some of the most modern artists in the valley.

Trailside Galleries and Horizon Fine Art Gallery have both been around for some time. A snowball’s throw away, King Sushi opened late last summer in a historic cabin on King Street, almost directly across from Horizon.

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