A strong sense of place

Examples of Wyoming Art Party’s contribution to marches and protests in Laramie is part of the group’s exhibition in the University of Wyoming Art Museum. Wyoming Art Party was founded in 2014 by June Glasson, Meg Thompson and Adrienne Vetter to “celebrate, engage with and challenge” Wyoming, according to the group’s website. Courtesy photo

The founding members of Wyoming Art Party have very different styles, but their work is linked by a shared cultural identity — and a commitment to and love for the community and geography of their shared home.

“Topophilia” — the name for such a sentiment — is the topic of the party’s summer exhibit in the UW Visual Arts Gallery, opening with a free reception at 5 p.m. today.

“It’s really a culmination of a lot of public projects that Wyoming Art Party has done, in addition to their personal work,” said Diana Baumbach, UW associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History.

Meg Thompson, one of Wyoming Art Party’s three founding members, said the exhibit spoke to the core mission of the group, which is to celebrate and challenge the Wyoming community.

“Wyoming Art Party is very community-oriented,” Thompson said. “(The exhibit) is a celebration of a lot of community-made projects, and objects from our community events will be in there.”

It’s difficult to live in Laramie without noticing the Wyoming Art Party’s handiwork. From the annual Pop-Up Art Walk to the snarky and creative signs carried by protestors during the Women’s March or the March for Science, Wyoming Art Party has added to the city’s vibrant art scene since its inception in 2014.

“I think a lot of different artists are represented in this show, but all of those artists are connected through the Wyoming Art Party and the Wyoming Art Party has sort of this overarching hand in everything you’ll see in the exhibition,” Baumbach said.

The party’s members — Thompson, June Glasson and Adrienne Vetter — also have individual displays of their solo work, which is loosely tied together by the theme of “topophilia.”

“Even though we all work in different mediums and styles, we’re interested in similar themes,” Thompson said.

The individual displays show entirely different projects — different both from one another and from the work the party has done with the community — but they will not be out of place, Thompson said.

“Because we’ve all worked so closely together, it’s been interesting to see how our work does influence each other,” she said. “So, while our studio work is separate from Wyoming Art Party, it definitely influences Wyoming Art Party and vice versa.”

Thompson added this was the first time the three artists were hosting their individual work side by side.

“It’s been great for us to see our work in one place together, which we haven’t done before,” she said. “We can see how it really does compliment each other’s work.”

The reception starts at 5 p.m. today in the UW Visual Arts Building Gallery.

The free reception includes complimentary food and a cash bar. All ages are welcome.

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