New Artwork Donated to Grand Teton National Park Collection

July 7, 2008
Grand Teton National Park Superintendent Mary Gibson Scott is pleased to announce that three artists—Scott L. Christensen, William G. Smith and Kathy Wipfler—will donate original pieces of art to the Teton Collection, the park’s permanent art collection. The three painters will present their newly created artwork to Superintendent Scott during a brief ceremony to be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, July 9, in the art gallery of the new Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center at Moose, Wyoming.

These fine art paintings represent the most recent additions to the park’s Teton Collection—a collaborative project between the Grand Teton Association (formerly Grand Teton Natural History Association) and the National Park Service. The art collection was created about 50 years ago, when world-renowned painter Conrad Schwiering—then a board member of the Association—initiated a program to pay homage to the beauty of the Teton landscape through fine art. In the tradition established by Schwiering and the early Association board, the Grand Teton Association art committee purchases paintings, or commissions new ones, to enhance the park’s art collection. The Association usually adds one new painting every year; the paintings by Wipfler, Smith, and Christensen represent the last three years’ contributions.

The Teton Collection serves as a testament to the crucial role that art has played in preserving Grand Teton National Park and other public lands, and reflects the historic significance of artwork throughout the greater Jackson Hole area. The eclectic collection features artwork by John Clymer, Olaus Murie, Joanne Hennes, Leland Curtis, Conrad Schwiering, Jim Wilcox, Betty Thomas, and Harrison Crandall. All of these artists found creative inspiration from the Teton landscape, and each has skillfully captured the spectacular scenery and wild inhabitants of this region. The Association is in the process of creating an informational brochure to hand out at the gallery that will provide an overview of all the artists and their paintings.

Scott L. Christensen, of Christensen Studio, Inc., in Victor, Idaho, has exhibited his work in many prestigious museums and shows throughout the country, including the National Academy of Western Art, Prix de West Invitational at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; the Gilcrease Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma; the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, Wyoming; the Denver Art Museum; the Kimball Museum; the Salmagundi Club in New York; the Autry Museum; and the Salon d’Arts at the Colorado History Museum. Christensen has been a recipient of many honors throughout his career, including Arts for the Parks competition in 1991; Northwest Rendezvous Juror’s Award of Merit in 1993 and 1994; Most Distinguished Alumni of Chadron State College 1997; and the Prix de West Award for his painting “Wind River Ice” in 2000.

William G. Smith has worked steadily as a freelance illustrator and commissioned artist for the past thirty years, completing scores of portrait, landscape and wildlife commissions. He has given art his full-time effort since 2004. He has won many awards in shows and contests, including the Arts for the Parks Mini 100 in 2004, the Collector’s Choice Award in the Arts for the Parks Top 100 in 2005, and first place in the Wyoming Conservation Stamp contest for the 2009 Conservation Stamp.

Kathy Wipfler’s paintings appear in the Kriendler Gallery, Buffalo Bill Historical Center, Cody, Wyoming, and in the collections of Senator and Mrs. Alan Simpson, Governor and Mrs. Mike Sullivan, and Governor and Mrs. Jim Geringer. Her work also appears in 22 other Western states’ Governors’ collections as well as those of three Canadian premiers. Last year, one of her paintings was selected as a permanent part of the Whitney Collection at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming. Wipfler’s work has been featured at the Maynard Dixon Show, Mt. Carmel, Utah; Western Visions Show, National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming; Northwest Rendezvous Show, Helena, Montana; Plein Air Painters of America, Catalina Island, and Tahoe; and the Coors Western Art Show, Denver, Colorado.

Formerly displayed on the walls of the old Moose Visitor Center, the Teton Collection is now showcased in the gallery at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center. Since relocating to the gallery, the collection has become even more visible to the public, and this new space provides a fitting home for this precious artwork.

The Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center is open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the winter months.