May 17 would have marked the 35th year that people came to show and see art on a lovely spring day in Wyoming. Like so many others, however, the organizers of the Wyoming Art Show made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s event out of concern over the COVID-19 pandemic.
But in the wake of that painful necessity, the spirit and ideals of the Wyoming Art Show are still at work in the community, from public art projects to the scholarship competition to a neighborhood display of works by artists young and old.
“At the dinner table this week my son mentioned how sad he was about the Art Show being cancelled,” said Stephanie Hass of East Mills Avenue in Wyoming. “So we collectively thought of a way to bring the art show to us.”
Hass contacted other families on her street with the idea of putting out artworks on Sunday, May 17, the original date of the Art Show, for people to browse while they walk.
“We thought that everyone has dabbled in art in some way since being in quarantine and what better way to display their work,” Hass said. The idea was met with enthusiasm, with at least 14 East Mills families planning their “booths.” Many will feature the work of the young artists in their homes, but their older counterparts are considering what they might show as well. “I may display an abstract still life I did in high school,” laughs Hass.
And while the artists and their work have always been the main attraction, the Wyoming Art Show works year-round to support the arts in the area. That will continue, promises board member Kathy Kessler, who has worked on the Art Show since the beginning. “It was heartbreaking to cancel the show during such a milestone year,” she said. “We’re looking forward to a terrific show in 2021, but in the meantime we have lots to do.”
For one thing, the scholarship competition for Wyoming High School students will continue, although it takes place entirely online this year. Seniors have until May 22 to submit a PowerPoint portfolio of five of their artworks; interested students can speak with their art teachers about entering. First prize is a $300 scholarship, with $150 for second prize, $100 for third prize, and three $75 honorable mentions.
Furthermore, the Art Show traditionally partners with WSMA to honor seniors who plan to pursue any of the fine arts in college. In past years, this has involved a gift and reception. “We’re still trying to work out the details, thanks to school closing and social distancing,” Kessler says. “But we have been supporting this for several years, and we will continue to do so.”
More visible will be the mural on the Robinson Cleaners building on Wyoming Avenue. “Part of the Wyoming Art Show mission is to make art more public,” Kessler says. “Specifically, we wanted to highlight the importance of art in education.” The mural, by local artist Tammy Stephens and part of the Wyoming Mural Project, will face the Middle School and will feature Wyoming’s first schoolhouse.
Those wishing to learn more about the Wyoming Art Show and its mission can visit the website or Facebook page. Other streets or neighborhoods are encouraged to set up their own booths or displays and participate in the festivities the afternoon of May 17.