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2012 to spotlight downtown Pinedale

Posted: Monday, Jan 9th, 2012

Downtown Pinedale will see crowds of new faces in the coming year, hosting a number of new and “haven’t been here in a while” conferences – bringing a wide range of visibility to all that Sublette County has to offer.

Main Street Pinedale, the group working to support Pinedale’s downtown by capitalizing on its uniqueness and by using historic preservation to generate economic and entrepreneurial growth, held a public meeting Wednesday to exchange information regarding these events and to see how the downtown merchants can help facilitate them.

Business owners, group and conference members and planners shared their enthusiasm and plans – hoping to help one another in making each event a success and to display Pinedale in its greatest light.

“It is exciting that Pinedale is in a great position to host these conferences,” said Kate Grimes, Town of Pinedale Planning and Zoning administrator, who also sits on the Main Street Pinedale executive board. “Our local groups have worked hard to get them to come and enjoy Pinedale.”

For all the events, Main Street will be contacting businesses to see what specials they might want to offer, or if there are items they might want to donate to goodie bags for the conferences’ participants.

“We just want to make sure the attendees know what Pinedale has to offer while they are here,” said Grimes.

The Events

• CLICK! A Weekend for Wyoming Visual Artists”

March 30 through April 1 will bring the first discussed and new-to-Pinedale conference, with an expected 70 to 100 overnight visitors from all over the state attending “CLICK! A Weekend for Wyoming Visual Artists.”

“The name “CLICK!” suggests that thing that happens when you reconnect with colleagues and get inspired by new ideas, which occurs continually when Wyoming artists congregate,” said Sue Sommers, a local artist who helped organize the event, and is hoping to expand on the visibility and interconnectedness of Wyoming’s art community with those near and far – something she also tackled recently with the Pipeline Art Project.

In a showcase of real ability for local artists to survive a large-scale project, large amounts of both local and faraway support (through a competitive process the group was selected by U.S. Artists for the USA Projects “crowd funding” website) helped send local artists (including Sommers, metal sculptor JB Bond and painter David Klarén) across the country to showcase at the Red Dot Art Fair through “Pipeline to Miami.”

“We learned so much, and gained exposure and some solid ideas for showing our work outside Wyoming over the next couple of years,” she said, adding they do not expect to be “crowd funding” anytime soon – as local supporters “have done more than their share.”

Like Pipeline, CLICK! is working alongside the Wyoming Arts Council (WAC), who shares a database of Wyoming artists and helps plan and partially fund the project. The Pipeline Art Project was awarded funding by the Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund to help expand the WAC’s annual 2012 Fellowship Awards reception with a variety of speakers and topics; there Pipeline artists will share lessons from Miami.

During CLICK! the Pinedale Library will exhibit artwork by the five Pipeline members, with a re-created Red Dot booth on display in the Labyrinth Room.

CLICK!, which also is organized and contributed to by University of Wyoming (UW) Art Museum and the Pinedale Fine Arts Council (PFAC), will likely host a free public “kick-off” reception on its Friday evening, as a way to give back to the community. Light food, beverages and discussion will be a part of the night where the art exhibit will be open and the UW Art Museum will host a “20/20” slide presentation featuring artists from all over the state.

Sommers is excited, not only for the possible impact to downtown Pinedale, but for the discussions and connections to be had by local artists.

“That dialogue and sharing is as essential for success as having the right paintbrushes,” she said.

• The Fur Trade Symposium

After CLICK! – as well as a conference with a projected 70 to 100 attendees (including many “heavy hitters of the state,” according to Grimes) in late May for the Wyoming Business Council and the State Agriculture Board – Pinedale will host the Rocky Mountain Fur Trade Symposium for the first time in years (it hosted twice in the 1990s) on Sept. 5-8.

The event, which rotates throughout the United States and Canada, might be combined with the Professional Archaeologists Association and another potential groups and will host a projected 150 to 200 attendees, said Grimes.

The event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Astorians, who led the next overland expedition from St. Louis, Mo., to the mouth of the Columbia River after the Corps of Discovery, led by Lewis and Clark. Numerous academic papers will be presented along with historic tours and an Astorian 101 seminar.

• Pinedale 2012 “Pebbles to Peaks – The Power of Small”

Pinedale Aquatic Center (PAC) Director JJ Huntley, recipient of the 2011 Wyoming Recreation and Parks Association (WRPA) award (its highest recognition) came to share her excitement and plans for the event to be held in Pinedale for the first time.

Normally held in Wyoming’s “bigger” cities (Casper, Sheridan, Jackson, etc.) the events organizers hope to showcase the power of grassroots efforts that have helped to develop Sublette County’s continually growing array of unique recreational activities.

To be held the week of Sept. 10, a week after the Fur Trade Symposium, Huntley discussed plans in the work to extend this conference through the weekend (as of now it is Monday through Thursday), try to find the right partnership to bring in an “even bigger” name as a keynote speaker and create some free participation for local residents. The participants will be taken around to a number of Sublette County “highlights” including a tour of downtown Pinedale, art exhibits, the Wind River Brewing Company, the PAC, Rock Rabbit Coffee & Bistro, Pitchfork Fondue and the Wind River mountains as well as a local gas field to “show how we have what we have,” said Huntley.

She added that all caterers, venues and entertainment will be local and even school buses have been hired to shuttle the visitors to different sites.

Without a local conference center, Huntley and other facilitators went out touring rooms at different area hotels and after sending out a formal letter, the Baymont Inn was the only to respond but has been excellent to work with and will host more than 100 visitors for that conference, she said.

The recently closed White Pine Ski Resort will “definitely” be a topic of discussion or at least “get people talking” during the conference, said Huntley, who added it could help spur an assessment of needs – and the potential hiring of a facilitator like Greenplay LLC. a leading consulting firm for parks, recreation and open space – by the county as a “completely third party” to help in the process of getting the community’s ski hill back up and running.

It could also help in organizing or creating new ideas for what is “not a new or emerging theme,” said Huntley – that there is a lack of a recreational “system” to help coordinate activities throughout Sublette County.

“There are volunteers that make things happen, the PAC – but that’s not city or county (run) – clubs, and the facilities in Big Piney, but no real system,” said Huntley, who thinks a county recreation coordinator could be of great benefit to the system.

Overall, the main goal is to showcase the “uniqueness” of Sublette County and therefore maximize contact with the attending delegates – Huntley encourages any businesses or groups to extend themselves to participate in making that happen, whether through sponsorship (there are a number of different categories set up through the organization), incentives or participation.

“We want to give them a ‘wow’ experience and have you be a part of it,” she told those gathered during the Wednesday meeting.

For the complete article see the 01-10-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-10-2012 paper.

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