This Week’s PLANET Picks

By on April 7, 2015

When in doubt, look up

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An artist’s work often reflects the complexion of his environs. Different surroundings, people, and energy all have a way of seeping into the creative process.

When photographer Bailey Russel moved from Seattle to Laramie to teach photography at University of Wyoming, his focus shifted as he began capturing the Western sky’s vast and seemingly endless expanse.

His newest body of work, Wyoming Sky Project, allows the viewer to observe Cowboy State landscapes in a novel way, by commanding his audience to keep their heads in the clouds.

What began as a way to align with his students has morphed into a much larger effort. “I initially started this project because I had to teach digital photography and wanted to work in parallel to my students on something,” Russel explained. “The landscape of Wyoming drew me in I think mostly because it was just so radically different than what I’m used to.”

A New Jersey native who lived in New York City before his stint in Seattle, Russel says his time as a city dweller helped him to appreciate the Cowboy State as a foreign land.

He explains: “New Jersey is one giant suburban sprawl set down in the middle of a dense forest. There’s no horizon line and the sky is tiny and directly above you. New York and Seattle are both fairly tall cities, though the sight lines are starting to open up in the Northwest. The vegetation there is still pretty dense, so the scope of the sky isn’t as omnipresent.”

When Russel arrived in Wyoming its wide-open landscapes and soaring skies beckoned him. “I started taking photos around town, trying to capture my new landscape … and found my camera slowly tilting up. Inexorably up,” Russel said. “The ground receded, almost disappeared at times, and the columns of clouds took its place.”

The result, the Wyoming Sky Project, is an amalgam of pieces that depict the many personalities of the Wyoming sky, from lonely and austere to hopeful and insouciant.

Wyoming Sky Project Opening Reception

When: 5:30 to 7 p.m., Friday

Where: Center for the Arts

Wallet: Free

Lucky’s in love

It’s time to come clean about this author’s new obsession.

Last week I stopped in Lucky’s for a bunch of kale. Thirty minutes later, I walked out with $50 dollars in fruits, vegetables, organic chicken, kombucha, almond milk, coconut ice cream, falafel chips, vanilla mint body wash, and the hipster grocery list goes on…

Maybe it’s the specialty organic and healthful items that are difficult to find anywhere else, or the free samples of house-smoked bacon? Either way, shopping at Lucky’s has been feeling really good (note the looks of sheer delight glued to shoppers’ faces next time you’re there).

Join me in rejoicing about the valley’s newest grocer during a Chamber mixer Thursday with store director Bob Millsap. Sample house-made side dishes and wash down your nibbles with beer and wine.

Lucky’s Chamber Mixer

When: 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday

Where: Lucky’s

Wallet: Free

‘Cause I’m the taxman

Calling all procrastinators! Quell your anxiety about the impending April 14th tax deadline by utilizing a free service care of the sweeties at Teton County Library.

The library is still offering free tax preparation on Wednesday, April 8, and Monday, April 13.

“We’ve completed 385 filings this season, on track to do more than we did last year,” noted Julia Hysell, communications manager at TCL. “So far this translates to more than $375,000 kept in this community through refunds and saved filing fees.”

Hysell also reiterated how tackling your taxes with one of the library’s volunteers (ellos hablan Espanol) will save you filing fees, too. This can be especially helpful for contractors and other folks whose taxes are just a tad too complicated to file for free with TurboTax, Hysell said.

Last minute tax preparation

When: 4 to 7 p.m., April 8 and 13, or drop off your taxes by April 10

Where: Teton County Library

Wallet: Free

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About Robyn Vincent

Robyn is the editor of Jackson Hole Snowboarder Magazine and former editor of Planet Jackson Hole. When she's not sweating deadlines, she likes to travel the world with her notebook and camera in hand. Follow her on Twitter @TheNomadicHeart

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