Sheridan is well known for its cowboy culture and Bighorn Mountain allure. Even before its founding in 1882, Sheridan has awed visitors with its scenic landscapes, towering mountains, and lavish western heritage. The Medicine Wheel, estimated to be over ten thousand years old, served as a sacred site for generations of Native Americans, but today, it’s an aesthetic wonder of the world that has inspired hundreds of artists from around the globe. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Sheridan in 1984, she admired the generosity of the residents and the beauty found in the Bighorns, but she was also fascinated with the Western art on display at the Brinton Museum. Today, Sheridan’s art scene is lively and growing even stronger. April 25th-29th will be a six day celebration of the arts to commemorate the local creators and patrons of both the past and present. So why are residents taking six days to celebrate the arts? Well, take a look at our six reasons why Sheridanites love their art.
Experiences for Everyone
Sheridan has art for all. Experts or stick-figure-pros can come together and create their own masterpieces. Both The Paint Post and Red Bison Studio not only showcase fine creations from oil paintings to clay, but they offer classes for even the most novice of artists increase their skills ten fold. The Paint Post includes a step-by-step walkthrough from instructors of how to paint anything from landscapes to portraits. If you’re nervous about messing up, don’t worry, wine is offered to help you relax and make your painting look like a Picasso, depending how much wine you drink. Classes can be booked here. If ceramics is more your style, get your hands dirty at the Red Bison Studio. Their skilled instructors will teach you how form a lump of clay into a delicate piece of art. Classes are offered weekly and can be booked here.
Endless Sky. Endless Creativity.
Since the first pioneers saddled up and headed west in search of new beginnings, there has always been a mystical presence about the rugged and unchartered territories of the American West. Sheridan is no exception to this mysteriosity and wonder of what life is truly like in the West. Artists like Frederic Remington and Charles Russell were inspired by cowboys, Native Americans, and towering mountains to create some of America’s most iconic western paintings. Today, Sheridan is proud to have such a rich history of prominent artists pass through and even settle here. It isn’t uncommon to take a visit to Sheridan’s countryside to find painters and photographers still admiring the beauty of the West without being bothered by unnatural noise and distractions.
To compliment the scenery, sculptures can be found scattered throughout the city. Historic Downtown and Kendrick Park have upward of 40 sculptures handmade by local and world renowned artists. These statues remind us of what life used to be like when icons and outlaws of the old west roamed the streets. But it’s not just statues or the murals of iconic figures from our western heritage that make Sheridan’s art scene unique. It’s the addition of colorful sculptures crafted from century old trees and the contemporary fine arts found in various exhibits. The buildings of Main Street are art themselves. The architects that built them knew that Sheridan’s vast landscapes needed to be complimented well structurally, thus, leading very detailed and artistic establishments.
Dedication to Art
For a town with a population of only 17,000, you would think that finding art to view or to purchase would be hard to come by. However, that’s not the case. Several businesses on Main Street and the surrounding areas are very dedicated to showcasing work from talented locals and also world famous artists. Main Frame on Grinnelle offers both custom frames and a commission free space for artists to display their work. SAGE Community Arts is a place to inspire and bring the community together through visual arts. The Gallery on Main in Dayton, Wyoming serves as a both a cafe and fine art gallery that features local wines and artists.
Museums and Venues
The Brinton Museum is located on the historic Quarter Circle A Ranch in Big Horn, Wyoming and features 19th, 20th, and 21st century Western and American Art in a setting that is art unto itself. The Ucross Foundation is a ranch that fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists by providing quiet studio space and living accommodations in Wyoming’s high plains. Opened in 2016, the Whitney Center for the Arts at Sheridan College is another remarkable venue that both displays art and incubates up and coming young artists with studios and classes. The historic WYO Theater has been displaying performing art spectacles since 1923.
Festivals and Events
Throughout the year, Sheridan is a major confluence for artists and craftsmen. For instance, events like Celebrate the Arts, April 25th-29th, engage the community with new experiences and cultivation of art. For the last 21 years the Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show has brought fine craftsmen from around the world to display their life’s work.
Jeff Shanor | Sheridan Travel & Tourism