In celebration of the artist residency program's 40th anniversary, Ucross is hosting a gala and fundraising dinner on Wednesday, September 27. Ucross will present Governor Mark Gordon and First Lady Jennie Gordon with its Outstanding Patrons of the Arts Award for their generosity and commitment to the arts in Wyoming.
The Gordons will be welcomed to the stage by best-selling author Craig Johnson, a Ucross neighbor. Founding Trustee and longtime Chairman Jim Nelson will also be honored with the Raymond Plank Award for Visionary Leadership for his vision and unwavering support for Ucross.
“We are thrilled to host our 40th Anniversary Gala on the beautiful Ucross ranch in northern Wyoming,” said Ucross Vice President Susan Miller of Sheridan, Wyoming. “Guests will be able to experience the same majestic setting that has inspired award-winning artists from across the world.”
The gala will begin in the Ucross Art Gallery, carry through to the newly constructed Koehler Performing Arts Center and Lauren Anderson Dance Studio, and continue outside to a heated tent and on the patio overlooking the Bighorn Mountains. The festivities will include appearances by many Ucross friends and partners; short performances by special Ucross alumni artists; a fun, lively auction; and a dinner inspired by seasonal ingredients.
“We hope the community will join us to celebrate our first four decades, support the organization’s future and honor the Governor and First Lady for their commitment to arts and culture throughout the state,” said Ucross President William Belcher. “As a former Trustee of the Ucross Foundation and former ranch manager at Ucross, Governor Gordon understands our program’s reach and impact. Artists come to Ucross, Wyoming, and do best their best work, free from distraction and obligation. They leave with a deep appreciation for what Wyoming has offered them. Ucross changes their lives, and their work goes on to change the lives of millions.”
Governor Gordon recently spoke about the significance of Ucross in a video celebrating its 40th anniversary.
“It’s no doubt that what Ucross has done for America’s cultural landscape is just remarkable,” Governor Gordon said. “The time and creative space the residency program gives to artists of all backgrounds, the wonderful studio space, and the opportunity to get together and talk about their respective disciplines at supper every evening…makes such a difference.
“The conversations that have taken place on the ranch have enriched people’s lives and changed them forever,” the Governor continued. “Ucross is going to continue to be an important resource for Wyoming, the nation, and indeed the world.”
Since its residency program began in 1983, Ucross has developed into one of the most respected artist communities in the nation. More than 2,600 visual artists, writers, choreographers, and composers have been to Ucross, benefiting from its uninterrupted time and studio space, as well as the experience of the majestic High Plains. Distinguished fellows include Annie Proulx, Colson Whitehead, Terry Tempest Williams, Billy Porter, Elizabeth Gilbert, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Ann Patchett, Sigrid Nunez, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Joy Harjo, Anthony Hernandez, and Tayari Jones.
Funds raised during the Ucross 40th Anniversary Gala will support Ucross’s mission to foster the creative spirit of working artists, serve as responsible stewards of its historic 20,000-acre ranch, and promote an appreciation of the creative process through community programs with Ucross alumni artists. All dollars raised through table sales, ticket sales, the live auction, and donations in lieu of attending will help Ucross remain a meaningful and relevant resource for artists, the community, and the state of Wyoming.
The Ucross Art Gallery is located at 30 Big Red Lane in Ucross, Wyoming. More information about the Ucross 40th Anniversary Gala is available here.
Featured image: Wyoming/Susan, by Ucross Fellow Susan Moldenhauer