Ever wonder “How do they do that?”
A good artist or craftsmen often makes everything look easy. But that ease has probably come with months or years of work and repetition. In some cases, individuals have taught themselves because no one else was around who knew how to do what they wanted to do. When they were lucky, they might find someone with more experience.
For over a decade, Wyoming Arts Council has been facilitating the process through their Mentoring Project — helping match folk and traditional artists as teacher and students and providing funds to create an opportunity to learn. The program is designed to help preserve the masters’ skills and to pass them on to the next generation.
Visitors to the Big Horn Basin Folk Festival in Thermopolis on Aug. 5-6can meet some of these talented folk artists in person. Demonstrators will be in the large Folk Masters tent on the grounds and the performers will be on the Pavilion and Story Circle stages. Festival goers can visit with them, listen to their stories, and see them at work.
Mentoring Project Grant master/apprentice teams slated to demonstrate or perform as part of Folk Masters are Marcus Dewey (Arapahoe), Northern Arapahoe beadwork; Leanne Linnell (Riverton) and Brook Miller (Shoshoni), horsehair hitching; Darrell & Tyson Lonebear (Fort Washakie), making and performing Arapaho hand drums; Tom Lucas (Lander), Bighorn Sheep horn bows; Ernie Marsh, Lovell and James Guyllon (Jeffrey City), silversmithing; Jack Mease (Lander) and Mila Ready (Hudson), rawhide braiding; Von Ringler and Alex Whistler (Powell), leatherwork, and Mt. Sinai Jewish Dancers, Cheyenne.
The Big Horn Basin Folk Festival has become a fixture of summer in Hot Springs State Park. Featuring the best of Wyoming artists, artisans, skilled crafts persons, musicians, and storytellers, it is the only festival of its kind in Wyoming. The event is open to the public without charge. It is sponsored by Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation and Hot Springs State Park with support from Wyoming Arts Council, Wyoming State Legislature and Hot Springs Travel & Tourism. Additional support is from Hot Springs County Education Endowment, Thermopolis Community Fund and Pinnacle Bank. The two-day event also features the Kiwanis Trading Post with other arts and crafts for sale as well as a Food Court. The Festival is held the same weekend as the Gift of the Waters Pageant Days. The Pageant tells how the hot springs were given to the state by the Native Americans on the Wind River Reservation. The Pageant will be performed at 6-7 pm in the area around the Big Spring, Saturday and Sunday evening.
For more information and schedules: www.wyomingfolkfestival.com.
For more information on the Folk Masters, contact Wyoming Arts Council Folk and Tradition Arts Specialist, Anne Hatch at email@example.com or call 307-777-7721.
For more information on the Kiwanis Craft Fair and Trading Post and Food Court, interested vendors should contact Linda Herrin, firstname.lastname@example.org .
Photo Captions, photos courtesy of Wyoming Arts Council):
Western silversmith Ernie Marsh shows his work, a bit and spur.
Marcus Dewey works at home on a pair of moccasins.