What happens when art, education, and Yellowstone National Park all come together? The Yellowstone Art & Photography Center at Old Faithful, which is winding down from a fun-filled summer season highlighting the influence art and photography have had on Yellowstone National Park.
“With the opening of the Yellowstone Art & Photography Center, we are able to celebrate the essential role that art has played in the very creation of Yellowstone National Park,” says Robert Petty, director of education at Yellowstone Forever, about the new facility. “The center honors the artists both past and present who continue to explore, interpret, and share their understanding of this remarkable place.”
The center is located in the Old Faithful area between the Visitor Information Center and the iconic geyser herself, and gives visitors the opportunity to purchase art and photography supplies, interact with staff, peruse the art gallery, and participate in daily activities.
This past season, staff-led activities such as watercolor painting or field journaling were offered daily at the center from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., while an evening lecture series on the park’s artistic legacy took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Staff welcomed and encouraged children and families to participate in the daily activities. The programs offered each season are free and open to the public, include supplies, and provide a unique way for visitors to engage with the world’s first national park.
Another exciting component of the center, Petty explains, is the launch of an Artist-In-Residence program. Seven different artists resided at the center this summer for a week or more to create art in the park and share their creativity through workshops and lectures. This year’s residents included Phyllis and Victor Merriam, who embraced the unique opportunity to share their talents—and love for the park—with visitors.
“Sharing our art with Yellowstone’s visitors in this beautiful exhibitions space provides an avenue to talk with people from all over the world who share our feelings and hopes that Yellowstone will endure in its present state,” said the Merriams. “The experience has shown us how powerful art can be in creating engagement and strengthening our commitment to using art as a way to share Yellowstone Forever’s mission.”
Art and photography have long played an important role in sharing Yellowstone National Park with the world. Frank J. Haynes opened the first photography store and studio in 1884, providing millions of the park’s first visitors with now-famous photographs and postcards. The original Haynes Photo Shop was restored and repurposed in 2012—thanks in part to the generous support of Yellowstone Park Foundation (now Yellowstone Forever) supporters—and helped inspire the Yellowstone Art & Photography Center of today.
The Yellowstone Art & Photography Center will close for the season on the evening of September 4, 2017, and will reopen in May 2018. For more information about the center, visit Yellowstone.org/art.