After hibernating (on skis or snowboards) all winter, Jackson Hole forages for fun in the summer. From outdoor concerts to plein air painting and art fairs, summer finds the valley awash in cultural activities.
For music lovers, sonic options abound. In Teton Village, the Concerts on the Commons series fills summer Sundays with free shows open to all. While the 2014 lineup remains under wraps, summers past have hosted Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers, Ben Taylor and Desert Noises. The series begins in July and runs through August. Free outdoor concerts also ring out from the foot of Snow King mountain in downtown Jackson, thanks to JacksonHoleLive, an all-ages affair that has brought banner bands like Old Crow Medicine Show and Steve Earle to Jackson. The summer lineup has yet to be announced, but good times are guaranteed.
For an elevated music experience, turn to the Grand Teton Music Festival, which stages six weekends of orchestral performances in Walk Festival Hall, Teton Village (July 3 through August 16). Weeknights find creative programming like Chamber Music on Thursdays (starting July 10) and Wednesdays bring an eclectic mix like the Harlem Quartet (July 9).
Meanwhile, in downtown Jackson, a steady flow of touring acts fills a variety of venues. The Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary arts center, theater and residence on Cache Street, hosts a wide spectrum of shows from outdoor Shakespeare performances (July 12-18) to big-name bands like Pat Metheny Unity Group and Bruce Hornsby (July 24). Art openings and improv comedy round out the summer roster at the Center. On any given night, there are multiple bands playing within steps of the Town Square at spots like the Town Square Tavern, the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar and the Silver Dollar Bar in the Wort Hotel. The Pink Garter Theatre, a former playhouse transformed into an indie music hub, jam-packs summer with People Under the Stairs (June 27), ZOSO – The Ultimate Led Zeppelin Experience (July 10) and Israel Vibrations (August 22). Much more will be announced as the summer progresses.
For the art-inclined, the Tetons are teeming with art presented by galleries, museums and nonprofits. The National Museum of Wildlife Art, perched north of town overlooking the National Elk Refuge, curates world-class exhibitions including this summer: “Harmless Hunter: The Wildlife Work of Charles M. Russell,” “Elegy: The African Photography of Nick Brandt,” “Wonder Cabinet: A Collection of Curiosities” and “From Stone to Glass: Wildlife Sculpture in Multiple Media.” The Art Association’s Art Fair, established in 1965, posts up in Miller Park twice each summer (July 11-13 and August 8-10) with booths by some 135 international, national and local artists. And every third Thursday of the month, the Jackson Hole Gallery Association hosts an Art Walk, which finds downtown galleries open late serving refreshments.
In July, 45 artists will spend two weeks painting in Grand Teton National Park as part of the 2014 Plein Air for the Park program, an art awareness initiative and fundraiser for the park. The plein air sessions begin on July 7 and a selection of paintings will be exhibited starting July 16 at the Craig Thomas Discovery & Visitor’s Center in Moose.
For truly one-of-a-kind Western entertainment, check out the Jackson Hole Rodeo, held every Wednesday and Saturday, and the Town Square Shootout, a daily occurrence at 6 p.m. on Town Square.
While winter sees spectacular snow, summer brings spectacular culture.