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Each year, the Western Folklife Center reveals a new, artistic and educational exhibition for the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Watch this page for details of the 36th Gathering exhibition, coming soon.

Portraits of the Gathering

January 22 - September 7, 2019

Wiegand Gallery

As we came together to celebrate 35 years of gathering in Elko, we honored and remembered the individuals who have brought heart and soul to our community through their poetry, story, song and artistry. To shine a light on poets important to this artistic movement, we invited photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller to curate downtown storefront and Wiegand Gallery exhibitions. For over three decades, Martini-Fuller has traveled to Elko to create portraits of cowboy poets, musicians and other special guests. Over the years he has photographed over 1,000 individual participants of the Gathering. Vintage videos and other memorabilia from the Western Folklife Center archives added further dimension to this reflection on the Gathering’s artistic community.

Storefront View

Featured in storefront windows around downtown Elko and beyond are the portraits and poetry of 24 poets whose voices contributed to the early years and success of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We invite you to stroll the streets and meet these poets and their work. You can use your mobile device and scan a QR code to be taken to an online site to hear and learn more. During the Gathering, walking tours were scheduled and guided by photographer and curator Kevin Martini-Fuller. A map for a self-guided walking tour is available in the Wiegand Gallery.

I’ve Got Spurs

Frank Schultz spurs, photo by Brent Herridge

Frank Schultz spurs, photo by Brent Herridge

Wiegand Gallery
January 22 - September 7, 2019

Since the first Gathering in 1985, the makers of handcrafted horse and work gear have been an important part of the Gathering’s artistic community and have experienced a renaissance. In 1992, through the vision and generosity of artist William Matthews, the Western Folklife Center launched a Contemporary Cowboy Gear Fund to build a collection reflecting the fine artistry and craftmanship flourishing in the American West. For this exhibition, spurs from our collection are displayed alongside other contemporary and historic examples. Plain and purely functional or highly ornate and showy, spurs enable the rider to ask a well-trained horse for a range of responses. Adding to the spur bling is neon signage recovered from the Silver Spur Motel in Reno, Nevada, on loan from the neon collection of Will Durham. Durham has been preserving Nevada's neon signs for over two decades and directs the Nevada Neon Project. Some spurs are available for purchase, benefiting the individual artist and the Western Folklife Center.

Sweater Weather

No You Are Not on the Guest List, by Teresa Jordan

No You Are Not on the Guest List, by Teresa Jordan

Fireplace Nook

In the Fireplace Nook of the Pioneer Saloon during the 35th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering was Sweater Weather, featuring artist and author Teresa Jordan’s portraits of wooly friends - a small band of Navajo Churro sheep living in southern Utah with Teresa and her husband, Hal Cannon.

This exhibtion is now closed.

We thank our Western Folklife Center stakeholder supporters and:

In the G Three Bar Theater and Main Elevator Lobby

For many years a popular exhibition, the annual Elko School District Student Art exhibition of mixed media (grade school students) and photography (high school students) celebrates our youth’s creativity, imagination and craftsmanship. On display at the Western Folklife Center from mid-January through March, grade school artwork will be found in the G Three Bar Theater, and high school photography work in the elevator lobby between the Pioneer Saloon and the Gift Shop.