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The Teton Art Lab Experience: Travis Walker interview
Jackson, WY resident Travis Walker has orchestrated a vortex of artistic energy and eco-activism. In addition to being a talented artist, he’s become a pioneer for choreographing a community project of passionate and creative people. Hard work, determination and dedicated volunteers like Tony Birkholz have transformed a dilapidated building on Gregory Lane into the new incarnation of the Teton Art Lab and Factory Studios.
.01: What prompted your relocation to 1255 Gregory Lane?
The Teton Artlab has been on the move since our inception in 2007, and it has been due to our growth. We started off as just a gallery, then expanded into a gallery and printmaking studio, then again into a gallery, printmaking studio, and classroom. Now at the Factory we are a gallery, printmaking studio, glass blowing hot shop, classroom, and creativity incubator.
.02: How is the new location working out? Who is involved? What’s going on?
The new location is perfect. We are right next to Ben Roth Designs and Igneous Skis, two creative forces in the valley, and a big reason we moved down here. The entire building is now booming with energy. Right behind us is the skate park and ball fields, and the pathway system is nearby.
We have 12 full time residents:
Abbie Miller (textiles)
John Frechette (glass)
David Gonzalez (film/photography/writing)
The Deadlocks (music)
Peggy Prugh (painting)
Anomaly Farm (screenprinting, textiles)
Camille Davis (painting)
XOWYO (graphic design/letterpress),
Alissa Davies (mixed media)
Tristan Greszko (photography, new media)
Caldera Collective (graphic design)
Several other artists use the shared studios which include printmaking and glass blowing equipment.
The studios have been occupied since January, and in the past few months there has been alot happening.
The highlights for me so far were the grand opening which saw close to 500 people come through in a few hours, Charlotte Potter’s brief return to teach our first glass blowing classes, and Tristan’s “Tiny Day in the Jackson Hole Backcountry” video which has had over 200,000 views on Vimeo in under a month! Unbelievable.
.03: With schools having funding issues for art programs do you have any plans to replicate your Art Lab vision to other communities?
We have no current plans to replicate the Lab somewhere outside the valley. It’s challenging enough running this one! But the idea of the Lab was inspired by creative communities in other places I’ve been, so the spirit of it is already out there. The Vermont Studio Center or AS220 in Providence for example.
“You can learn about arts by seeing a show or by taking a class, and then you can go to a studio and make personal contact with an artist, and that’s a different thing – all of a sudden, you’re aware,” Walker said. “Everybody that’s gonna be in here is gonna have their stories, and people are gonna come to learn about art in a way they haven’t experienced before.”