Fine spotted work of art: The story behind the colorful trout on the Orvis building

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – Nicole Gaitan has to be just beaming with pride right now. Every time the local artist travels past the five-way on Broadway, in fact, she will get a larger-than-life reminder of her latest work, “Trout Rising” tacked to the side of the Orvis shop.

The piece consists of five individual fish done in Gaitan’s signature style. The trout are affixed to the side of the building that is home to fly-fishing retailer Orvis in a manner that suggests they are swimming toward Flat Creek, which flows quietly behind the location.

Nicole Gaitan puts the finishing fish touches on her colorful trout.

“I feel more than honored and so grateful to have my proposal reviewed and selected to be displayed at a local and family-owned business in my hometown,” Gaitan said. “It’s just another example of how this town supports local, supports the arts, and holds each other up.”

The work is the result of a partnership between the Jackson Hole Public Art (JHPA) and the Town of Jackson. The town council appointed a Public Art Task Force to come up with ways to incentivize the creation of murals that highlight the outdoor recreation heritage of the community while revitalizing run-down areas like alleyways in order to enhance the vitality and walkability in the downtown district.

The popularity of the utility box wrap project last year—when 11 utility boxes around town were wrapped with an olio of artwork from several different artists—likely contributed to this follow up program that put Gaitan’s work in the most apropos place imaginable.

Gaitan’s concept was chosen from among four other proposals. JHPA director Carrie Geraci said, “While not a mural pre se, Nicole’s concept was selected because of its playful connection to the site and as a celebration of this community’s passion for fishing, and our collective efforts to protect wild and scenic waterways.”

Worker installs Gaitan’s work on the side of the Orvis shop.

Orvis deserves some credit as well. When they learned of the initiative they wanted in. With consent from the building’s owner, Orvis worked with Geraci to commission the site-specific project on the side of the metal clad Orvis building. Jorgensen and Associates affirmed the installation checked out, structurally, and all that was left once Gaitan was done creating was putting it up. That took place this afternoon.

The five wild trout were cut from aluminum and painted. Gaitan finished the fish with a durable urethane coating.

“Their bright colors elicit the excitement of a great catch, and activate the otherwise non-descript wall,” Geraci said.

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