Sacred Water mural

Artist Paul Taylor talks about a mural in progress at ArtConnect Gallery as gallery manager Kathleen Clymer contributes to the work.

The Laramie public is invited to contribute to an aquifer-inspired mural at ArtConnect Gallery this month as the gallery displays water-themed art by local and regional artists.

The gallery’s July show, “Sacred Water, Embracing Mother Earth,” is set to be on display through July 31. As part of the exhibit, artist Paul Taylor is leading the creation of a mural in the style of Australian Aboriginal rock art.

The completed mural will be hung at Laramie High School, joining two others created in the same style, Taylor said.

ArtConnect Gallery, 302 S. Second St., is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays.

Taylor, who teaches in the University of Wyoming Honors College and performs around the United States and Australia, said the mural was originally intended to be completed during the UW Shepard Symposium on Social Justice before the event was cancelled this spring.

“The (students) at the high school design them, and we take them to Shepard, and this happens over about three days,” he said.

In the Aboriginal style, the completed image will be covered with tiny dots of paint.

The mural depicts the underground streams of water in the Casper Aquifer, which provides about 50 percent of Laramie’s drinking water. The streams converge underground and then emerge at City Springs before flowing into Spring Creek.

Taylor and artists from Laramie High School consulted with geologic maps so they could represent its layers of shale, limestone, sandstone and bedrock.

He described the movement of the water as a metaphor for a personal journey from darkness to light, showing how environmental justice and social justice go hand in hand.

“We find our way through the barriers in the darkness, and we hit something that shoots us up into the light,” he said.

ArtConnect Gallery, which opened in 2018, is a non-profit project of the Wyoming Women’s Business Center. The gallery typically has rotating juried shows open to Wyoming artists, often with a theme that ties to a local event.

“Part of our goal is to include things that are happening in our community,” Clymer said.

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