Saving a Spot for Public Art

One of the notable things about public art is its ability to reinvent public spaces. Take the Artspot. It’s an installation that rises above a barren field along Broadway Avenue. That means thousands of commuters and…

by | Nov 26, 2019 | Art & Design, Culture

One of the notable things about public art is its ability to reinvent public spaces. Take the Artspot. It’s an installation that rises above a barren field along Broadway Avenue. That means thousands of commuters and passersby experience the works featured at the Artspot. They also experience the way that art changes the landscape.

Public art is also egalitarian. “It’s free and accessible to everyone. You do not have to purchase a ticket. You don’t have to walk through the doors of a gallery,” said Carrie Geraci, executive director of JH Public Art.

Her organization curates the Artspot, Jackson’s only rotating public art installation. “You can experience it on your own terms anytime and it’s available for people from all backgrounds and with all abilities,” Geraci added.

But that art, once accessible to the masses, is losing its home. It’s a likely scenario in Jackson, one that many renters can appreciate. A developer has purchased the land. After that news emerged, the Artspot faced a homeless future until the Karns family offered a solution. They said the installation could move across the street and live on some of the family’s property. Now, the final task is moving the Artspot. But that’s more difficult than you might think.

The Artspot soars above motorists and pedestrians because it is an old chairlift tower that Jackson Hole Mountain Resort donated to artist Bland Hoke. He took the ski lift and transformed it into an art vessel, inventing a way for the structure to raise and lower with a battery. He used counterweights from an old snowplow, hinges from a bank vault. And voila: “You hook it up to your car battery and lever it and raise it using a simple kind of game joystick,” Geraci said. “And it makes it much easier and safer for artists to install artwork there.”

In other words, there are some logistics to moving this tricked out chairlift tower and ensuring the Artspot’s future.

So JH Public Art has created a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to move the Artspot. Because saving the Artspot means saving a local fixture that represents the creative spirit of Jackson, Geraci said.

Listen above for the full story.

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn launched KHOL's news department. She has worked as a reporter and editor in Wyoming for the last decade and her work has aired on NPR stations throughout the West. When she's not sweating deadlines, Robyn sustains her nomadic heart by traveling the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow @TheNomadicHeart

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