Here, Laramie: A Collaborative Public Art Project with San façon:
Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees make up the internationally renown, award-winning artist team known as Sans façon. The sentiment of Sans façon—which, loosely translated, means “without unnecessary fuss or ceremony,”—guides their practice, which responds to the complex relationships between people and place. They began a preliminary research project about Laramie following their first visit to the University of Wyoming in Fall 2015 where they were invited by UW Honors to give a presentation. After getting tours of our community, and meeting with local artists and community members, they were intrigued enough to want to do a larger project. An impressive steering committee- made up of several University of Wyoming entities, Laramie Main Street Alliance, LPAC and Wyoming Art Party formed to shepherd this project along. The committee was able to raise enough funds to engage the artists to come back for two more visits and implement a public art project in Laramie that responds to the relationship between people and place.
In March 2017 the artists came to investigate the realities of a long-term project and give their second public presentation in Laramie.
In April 2018 the artists came back and over an extremely busy, productive and engaged week, they held 12 small group events where they gathered over 150 stories by leading participants through cognitive memory exercise (even our City Council participated during a work session!). The week culminated with a community storytelling event in which 14 selected stories were read aloud to the audience of over 70 attendees by actors Anne Mason and Peter Parolin. A limited edition hard cover book with the 14 Stories was printed and is available for loan at COE library, Albany County Public Library, and Haub School.
In general the artists, Charles Blanc and Tristan Surtees, have been blown away by the engaged and positive nature of our community, and the appetite of the community to participate in a mysterious, process oriented project like this. The steering committee worked tirelessly together to scrape together the funding and help organize the project. It is an honor to have the opportunity to work with such engaged, brilliant, fun, humble, and thoughtful artists. For everyone involved it felt like a truly collaborative and magical week. More will come of this so stay tuned! The artists are eager to keep going, we just need to raise more funds! Donate Here
Thanks to all those who funded this project:
Laramie Main Street Alliance, Laramie Public Art Coalition, First Interstate Bank, Wyoming Geographic Information Services Center, The University of Wyoming Art Museum, UW Global Engagement Office, UW Honors College, UW Department of Art and Art History, UW Department of English, UW Department of Geology and Geophysics, Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources, UW Geological Museum, Wyoming Arts Council (with support from the Wyoming Legislature and National Endowment for the Arts), Wyoming Humanities Council, and Wyoming Institute for Humanities Research.
Photo credit Megan Lee Photography