Lauren Strohacker & Kendra Sollars', Video Projection titled Animal Land, will be on display at the NMWA's Un/Natural Selections Exhibit debuting May 22. Photo: Lauren Strohacker & Kendra Sollars

JACKSON, Wyo. — As summer emerges in Jackson, so will a community-voted art collection at the National Museum of Wildlife Art (NMWA).

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, is a debut exhibit that considers the diverse ways in which contemporary artists employ animal imagery to address humanity’s interconnectedness and ever-changing relationship with the natural world.

Comprised of approximately 50 artworks (c. 2000-2019) exclusively from the museum’s permanent collection, this exhibition offers a wide range of works in a variety of media divided into four thematic sections: Tradition, Politics, Science, and Aesthetics. These sections act as overlapping chapters, investigating the ways we use animal imagery to tackle human concerns.

NMWA Museum Director Steve Seamons explained how this exhibit is unique in the sense that it encompasses varying art forms across the spectrum.

“It’s a wide range of mediums; traditional paintings, sketches, sculptures…there are even some digital pieces that depict wildlife and the environment,” said Seamons.

Unlike most exhibits, this will be a particularly special collection for the Jackson community. Over the past five years at events such as the Blacktail Gala, NMWA has taken the proceeds from ticketing and placed it into a pool of money to bring in pieces of artwork on the night of the event.

“The artwork has all been vetted through our collections committee to make sure it’s the type of artwork we want to accession and we have ten to fifteen pieces that are of varying value. We put those up on display the night of the event and the participants come…and all pieces chosen for the collection are voted in by the community,” said Seamons.

To Seamons and the curators at NMWA, this collection is really a reflection of the Jackson community entirely. It is a rare circumstance in which museum visitors will be able to say that they were able to partake in the curatorial process of an exhibit.

“All of the artwork that is going to be on display has come through those community events, where the community participates in selecting the pieces. Most of the pieces have been selected in the past five years,” said NMWA director Steve Seamons.

Eventually, the collection is planned to go on display across the United States. Once the exhibit window closes at the end of August, the collection will begin to travel all over the country.

“This exhibit is going to travel on a national level. We are going to participate with some other institutions. We are hoping that it will travel to five to six other venues,” said Seamons.

With the COVID-19 pandemic at hand, NMWA will be taking all necessary precautions to keep their visitors safe.

“We established the protocols for social distancing, temperature checks, wearing a mask, and limiting the number of staff that works in the back of the house. We wanted to provide a venue as soon as it was safe so the public could have a rest from what’s going on around us,” said Seamons.

From May 22- Aug. 22, Un/Natural Selections will debut at NMWA, a collection brought forth by the community for the community. The exhibition was generously sponsored by Art Bridges, Anne and Michael Moran, Thomas and Elizabeth Grainger Family Charitable Fund, Maggie and Dick Scarlett Endowment in honor of Joffa and Bill Kerr, Mays Family Foundation, and Wyoming Cultural Trust Fund.

To purchase museum tickets click here.