The Episcopal Church in Wyoming launches ArtSpirit, a major new arts initiative

The Episcopal Church in Wyoming
Posted Sep 29, 2022

The Episcopal Church in Wyoming is launching a major new arts initiative called ArtSpirit, under which all of its artistic programming will fall. Seeing artistic creativity in its many forms as a force for transformation, toward healing our world and creatively fostering peace, harmony, wholeness and health in all its forms, both with each other and with the earth, the Episcopal Church in Wyoming has established ArtSpirit to explore and nurture the relationship between faith, spirituality and the arts. Believing that creativity profoundly expresses and illustrates the nature of our Creator, and enhances our experience and understanding of both the Transcendent and of each other, ArtSpirit will go about this by developing, curating, coordinating and hosting artistic initiatives to stimulate discussion, dialogue and education, as well as spiritual exploration – such as exhibitions, festivals, concerts, screenings, readings, dances and numerous associated art events, including symposiums, forums and talks.

The Episcopal Church in Wyoming is launching ArtSpirit on October 2, 2022 at the Fremont County Pioneer Museum in Lander, Wyoming, through a strategic and timely art exhibition that it has organized of contemporary Native American artists titled “GROUNDED: Restoring our world through a Sacred Harmony with the earth and each other.”

GROUNDED is an artistic exploration that brings together 15 premier and emerging contemporary artists from Indigenous American tribes traditionally based in and around the Great Plains region, seeking to inspire our imaginations about our need to be “grounded” in our relationship with all of creation: the earth and its wildlife, each other and ourselves.

It is critical for the health and survival of our planet, that we acknowledge and honor our intricate connection to the earth as our sustainer, to the wisdom of our ancestors, and to humanity’s need of each other.  Our world itself is calling for a realignment of a sacred harmony and an awareness of a new balance between ourselves and the earth, and with all of life upon it.

The creative work of this inspiring group of contemporary Native American artists will serve as a visual representation of the worldview, wisdom and learnings of their ancestors, which is urgently needed today as we reimagine how we live in order to heal our world. We have much to learn from the Indigenous cultures of our Native American sisters and brothers about being grounded in the interconnectedness of the sacred, the natural world, and one another. Native American traditional beliefs see everything on the earth as living in relationship. Hence they understand today’s environmental and humanitarian crises as affecting everyone and everything – geologically, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Their spiritual wisdom is therefore essential to developing a “sacred harmony” between all peoples and the earth. This timely contemporary art exhibition seeks to enable them to share their culture, heritage and sacred traditions to help us heal our world and foster wholeness among all peoples.

The 15 contemporary artists from 8 Indigenous tribes were invited to participate based on the artists’ previous work and their ability to express the exhibition’s theme through the lens of their heritage and cultural worldview.  The exhibition is curated by celebrated Northern Arapaho artist Robert Martinez.

Ben Pease (Apsáalooke-Crow)

Brent Learned (Arapaho/Cheyenne)

Carlin Bear Don’t Walk (Apsáalooke-Crow/Northern Cheyenne)

Donald F. Montileaux (Oglala Sioux)

Henry Payer (Ho-Chunk)

Hillary Kempenich (Anishinaabe)

Jackie Larson Bread (Blackfeet)

Jackie Sevier (Northern Arapaho)

Jim Yellowhawk (Itazipco/Cheyenne River Sioux)

Joanne Brings Thunder (Eastern Shoshone)

John Pepion (Blackfeet)

Louis Still Smoking (Blackfeet)

Robert Martinez (Northern Arapaho)

Talissa Abeyta (Eastern Shoshone)

Wade Patton (Oglala Lakota)

The exhibition will begin its global tour in Wyoming, by being showcased in the cities of Lander, Casper, Cheyenne, Jackson, Worland and Rock Springs, before moving to other key venues in the USA and the United Kingdom, and then end its tour in the Middle East. The organizing coordinator, The Rt. Rev. Paul-Gordon Chandler, the Bishop of the Episcopal Church in Wyoming, has extensive experience organizing large-scale art exhibitions internationally.

The exhibition serves as a catalyst for each host venue to develop various events and programs tailored to the specific needs of their community to stimulate discussion, dialogue and education around the exhibition’s theme toward promoting further understanding and widening the engagement with the artwork.

Wyoming program partners for GROUNDED include Wyoming Humanities Council, Wyoming Arts Council, six noted exhibition spaces, and Episcopal churches throughout the state.

To learn more about the GROUNDED exhibition and view the artwork, visit: oncaravan.org/grounded

For more information about ArtSpirit and the associated programming around the GROUNDED exhibition, contact Genie Osburn, Communications Coordinator for The Episcopal Church in Wyoming: genie@episcopalwy.org