Local artists in spotlight Friday

Lisa Kunkel

A night of never-before-seen works of art, live music, delectable food, all whilst masquerading through downtown Greybull. It’s the second-annual Big Horn County Arts Guild Winter Art Gala. The theme is Valentine’s Masquerade at a new venue this year. The Greybull Elks Lodge is the place to be Friday night. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the event kicking-off at 7 p.m. and concluding at 10 pm.
With 29 artists registered, up from 22 the year before at the Basin City Arts Center, anticipation is mounting. Local artists from Basin, Greybull, Lovell, and Shell will be showing their creations in addition to artists from Park and Washakie counties.
 “This year’s highlight is much like last year: local artists will be revealing never-before-seen works of art at the gala, something that only happens once a year in this community, making it a unique art experience,” said guild vice president Rebecca Kinane.
The guild challenged artists to create art that they’ve never shown anyone – in person or virtually. Dark fabric will be covering the ‘reveal’ pieces adding to the suspense of the evening.
While traditional masquerade balls over the centuries have been for high society, this gala is for all — as long as you’re 16 years old or older that is. “This is a formal event, and we ask that everyone dress nicely for the occasion. Dresses, dress slacks, and ties are encouraged, but nice jeans, bolos, cowboy boots and hats are allowed. This is Wyoming, after all. Decorative Masquerade-style masks are encouraged, but optional. The guild will have a few masks available for sale at the door for guests who would like one,” said Kinane.
Visually striking – in addition to delicious – will be the guild’s featured “graze table” – imagine an oversized charcuterie board. “The graze table is designed by Robert Skillman and Ayden Skillman. They have guild members who will be helping prep the foods that will go on it. It will be an assortment of meats, cheeses, dips, chocolates, sweets, fresh fruits and veggies, breads, crackers and so on. Robert’s goal this year is to make more scratch-made items now that he has already done this once. He and Ayden are looking forward to wowing the crowd with food again,” said guild president Deanna Skillman.
New to this year’s gala is Shell artist Hannah Stinson. “I feel so fortunate that the art guild has created a space for artists to support each other and the opportunity to show off our unique pieces to the public. Art is always important but local art really captures the charm in our community,” Stinson said.
Skillman expanded on the link between art and society. “Art is such an important part of communities. I have loved seeing how the Big Horn County Arts Guild has helped art blossom in this community and surrounding areas.”
“This guild provides opportunities for unknown artists to start getting a name for themselves. Within the guild, they can shine and show off their talents. These talents are not limited to just painting. We have photographers, textile artists, food artists, musicians, singers and painters,” continued Skillman. “Our community and county as a whole have a lot of talented people. That’s why ‘we art’ in our little communities.”
The event is one of the guild’s main fundraisers. “The main focus of this gala is to get funds together to continue bringing wonderful events to our community, getting our 501c3 filed, and other community focused projects that align with the guild’s mission statement of growing the arts community in the area,” said Kinane. “A lot of the art at the event will be available for sale, so bring your checkbook. A percentage of sales at the silent auction helps raise money for the guild and its programs, and the revealed pieces are 100% profit to the creating artist.”
Guild members Robert and Josiah Skillman will be performing live, Jazz-style love songs throughout the evening. Tickets are still available for sale through guild members or at Bob’s Diner and Bakery in Greybull. If there are any left, tickets will be available at the door. Tech-savvy gala-goers can purchase online at: https://bhcagwyoming.wixsite.com/create/shop. Gala entry, food, and one free drink are included in the ticket price of $45 per person.