‘Fostering the arts in the community’: Arts in Action hosts Open House at CWC on Sunday

    (Riverton, WY) – Artists and enthusiasts, patrons, and supporters of the arts are cordially invited and encouraged to attend an Open House put on by one of Wyoming’s long-standing arts organizations, Arts in Action, taking place this Sunday, February 25 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. in the lobby of the Intertribal Education and Cultural Center (ITECC).

    “The open house is a casual meet-up for local arts enthusiasts to enjoy refreshments, conversation, and presentations by talented locals while learning about the Arts in Action organization,” said Jeremy Cochran, Arts in Action President and CWC Instructor of Instrumental Music/Director of Bands.

    The public is invited to come and see what Arts in Action is about and to mingle with the members and connect with other artists in the community. Both visual and performing artists will be represented, and refreshments will be served.


    Arts in Action: Yesterday and Today

    Arts in Action began in 1966 with the goal of establishing cultural opportunities for Riverton and the surrounding area. The founding members were faculty members of CWC and were joined by community volunteers who have sustained the organization from its inception. The organization has never had paid staff, eventually separating from the college with arts center staff remaining active in the organization. The membership is comprised of members who chair the various fundraising projects, market, and support a multitude of arts projects benefiting the entire County.

    Early work in the community included a successful art fundraiser called Fords and Fashions, using local performers to showcase the new Ford lines. Thousands of dollars were raised by the events and the funds were used to purchase artwork for an art collection, as well as scholarships for college arts students.

    Arts in Action has presented various programs showcasing local talent, including monthly musicals in private homes, Evening with the Arts, local performers and melodramas in support of the Bicentennial, and Diamond Jubilee Celebration for the town of Riverton. The members were active in fundraising for the proposed CWC art center in 1983, and raised thousands of dollars to restore the community grand piano in time for the grand opening of the 943-seat Robert A. Peck Theatre and Arts Center.

    Principal fundraisers were begun in the early years and continue to this day. Their popular annual Day in the Park has taken place in Riverton City Park for over 40 years, and the Winter Art Fair recently celebrated its 50th year. Both fairs have featured over 150 booths of arts and craftspeople. Christmas tours of homes and garden tours have been organized and sponsored by the group.


    Several productions and concerts have been hosted and facilitated by Arts in Action, including the annual productions of The Missoula Children’s Theatre, more recently with the production of Aladdin in 2023 and this year’s production of Cinderella. Other events include “A Music History Tour” featuring the Central Wyoming Brass Quintet and WyoJazz, a September 2022 piano recital featuring Dr. Brooks Whitmore, and the November 2023 Dave Munsick Artist residency in several local school districts.

    Arts in Action and The Missoula Children’s Theatre January 2024 production of “Cinderella’ (h/t Arts in Action Facebook)

    Among its yearly projects are the Pierrot Awards honoring outstanding actors, dancers, writers, musicians, and artists (adults and students) from the community, and the Margaret Peck Arts Award for outstanding service to the Arts in Fremont County. Arts in Action has been recognized during the terms of two mayors declaring Arts in Action Week in the City and enjoys the respect and gratitude of the community it serves.

    “Arts in Action has had an incredible impact on my life,” said Sherry Shelley, who has been an active member of Arts in Action for 50 years. “From astounding performances by The Cleo Parker Dance Ensemble to Queen Ida’s Zydaco (band)…to countless musical ensembles sponsored by Arts in Action, I’ve also participated in and personally benefited financially from selling crafts and sagebrush wreaths at the Winter Arts Fair and Rendevous in the Park for many years. Many of my best friendships began with other Arts in Action members and activities. Arts in Action has enriched beyond measure the quality of life in Riverton!”


    Linda Tice is a performing artist and has been a member of Arts in Action for about ten years. She is currently on the board as secretary.

    “Arts in Action plays a critical role in our community,” she said. “We don’t have the opportunity of larger metro areas to just pick up our stuff and go to a concert or art show whenever we feel like it.  Arts in Action brings the performers to us here in the rural community, rather than us going to them. In addition, and I think, especially importantly, Arts in Action really puts an effort into supporting local artists.”

    Fostering the arts in the community

    Arts in Action is committed to fostering the youth of the community and enjoys a long-term relationship with the school districts to bring students to performances or assist in students attending arts workshops. The organization remains vital and strong in the community, not only by featuring and nurturing locals, but by sponsoring touring groups, film festivals and cultural projects spanning nearly every arts field.


    The following is a partial list of touring groups sponsored over the many years by Arts in Action: Riders in the Sky, National Theatre for the Deaf, Christmas Carol, Wizard of Oz, Cleo Parker Robinson, Theatre Mask Ensemble, Queen Ida, Side Street Strutters, Loose Ties, Echozphere, Baby Yaga, Storyteller, the Nutcracker Ballet and Swan Lake, Liz Masterson, Guitarists Chris Proctor and Robert Bluestone, Montana Repertory Theatre, Elemenop, Steve Love’s N.Y. Express, the Sabella Consort, Mpact, the Nuclear Whales, Barry Douglas, pianist, Dixieland Rhythm Kings, Gus Giordano Jazz Dance, the Wood’s Tea Co. Benny Kim Violinist, Native Focus Film Festival, Ronnie Bedford and Friends, and many artists exhibits and receptions.

    For more information, visit the Arts in Action website or Facebook page.


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