Between Grass & Sky: A Collaborative Exhibitions Program

Western Folklife Center, Elko
and the
Nevada Museum of Art, Reno


In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center and the Nevada Museum of Art partnered to produce linked exhibitions in Elko and Reno titled Between Grass & Sky. Central to both exhibitions was an appreciation for the rich cultural heritage of the American West. In an effort to appeal to both traditional and contemporary audiences, the Nevada Museum of Art and the Western Folklife Center celebrated this unique sense of place by exhibiting a broad range of artworks – from paintings and sculptures to intricately crafted gear. The design of both exhibitions wasis provided by Nik Hafermaas, Principal of UeBERSEE Design and Dean of Communication Design at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Between Grass & Sky was made possible by the E. L. Wiegand Foundation.


Between Grass and Sky - Trappings of a Ranch Life exhibition in the Wiegand Gallery, Western Folklife Center Between Grass & Sky: Trappings of a Ranch Life
Western Folklife Center, Wiegand Gallery
501 Railroad Street, Elko, Nevada
January 20 – August 29, 2009

Click here to view our online exhibition of Trappings of a Ranch Life.

The Western Folklife Center brought together the work of some of the region's finest contemporary gearmakers, poets and artists to illustrate the connection between artistry and our sense of place in the West. The poignancy of language and the richness of finely crafted leather saddles and silver engraved bits outfitted with rawhide reins and romals were the palette for this exhibition. Saddles and bits were featured in the Wiegand Gallery and on the Western Folklife Center website, and Best of Show awards were announced during the exhibition's opening reception on Thursday, January 29. Much of the gear was for sale throughout the duration of the exhibition.

Featured Saddlemakers: Michael Bethel, Marc Brogger, Don Butler, Doug Cox, Keith Duncan, Aaron Fandek, Wolfgang Fey, Jeff Hanson, Nancy Hoggan, Wayne Kelly (BEST OF SHOW AWARD), Yves Lesire, Bill Maloy, Dan Mayer, Bob Ray, Jordie Regier, Fritz Riedl, Ron Rose, Cary Schwarz, Jesse Smith, Ken Tipton, Keith Valley, Paul Van Dyke.

Featured Bitmakers: Christopher Cheney, Ricarda McCleary Clause, Mark Dahl, Arne Esp, Bruce Alan Haener, Todd Hansen (BEST OF SHOW AWARD), Chuch Irwin, Gene Klein, Ernie Marsh, John Mincer, Frank Schultz, Mike Vatalaro, Gary Wiggins.

Other gearmakers participating: Bill Bean, Bill Black, Jay Black, Ron Butler, Bob Burns, Vince Donley, Keith Gertch, Greg Gommersall, Sarah Douglas Hagel, Leland Hensley, Mario Hanel, Robin Johnson, Juan Lara, Pablo Lozano, Teresa Marsh, Ron Mewes, Jeff Minor, Whit Olson, Bruce Sandifer, Chuck Sheppard, Ben Swanke, Nate Wald, Trina Weber, Kevin Willey, Warren Wright, Flat Hat Silver, Silver King, and others.

Curators:Jeremiah and Colleen Watt with Western Folklife Center staff Meg Glaser and Christina Barr.


The Outriders, by Adam Jahiel: platinum print Between Grass & Sky: Rhythms of a Cowboy Poem
Nevada Museum of Art
160 W. Liberty St., Reno, Nevada
January 17 – May 17, 2009
Hours: 10:00 am – 5:00 pm, Wednesday – Sunday
10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Thursday

Between Grass & Sky – Rhythms of a Cowboy Poem, featured in Reno, included contemporary artworks by artists, including Theodore Waddell and Scott Hudson, that offered fresh insight into the varied experiences arising from life in rural and ranching communities. The exhibition also included an audiovisual component featuring the spoken voices of three renowned cowboy poets reciting Grass, a poem by Buck Ramsey. This exhibition was presented as part of the Art + Environment series, an initiative of the Nevada Museum of Art that brings together community, artists and scholars to explore the interaction between people and their environments. For information about the Nevada Museum of Art, visit