Join a Cowboy Poetry Walking Tour in Downtown Elko

Photo by Marla Aufmuth.

Photo by Marla Aufmuth.

You may have seen the weathered faces, shadowed in black and white, staring you down from posters in storefront windows around Elko. Listen closely – with the help of your smartphone – and they each have something to share about the life and work of a cowboy.  

The photographs and poems are part of the Western Folklife Center’s Portraits of the Gathering exhibition, celebrating some of the most prominent contributors to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering from the event’s 35-year history. The free, self-guided walking tour features 24 portraits and poems at 18 locations around Elko. Maps are available at the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop (501 Railroad Street) and at selected locations in downtown Elko. As you walk, you can use your smartphone to scan a QR code that will connect you to an audio performance of the poem by the artist. This immersive tour is fun for the whole family – kids can pick up a scavenger hunt card at the Western Folklife Center Gift Shop and return it for a prize! 

Elko County ranchers Jack ( Portraits  exhibition) and Irene Walther (artwork) featured at Blohm Jewelers, Elko, Nevada. Photo by Meg Glaser.

Elko County ranchers Jack (Portraits exhibition) and Irene Walther (artwork) featured at Blohm Jewelers, Elko, Nevada. Photo by Meg Glaser.

The storefront displays are a selection of portraits curated by photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller, who has photographed more than 1,000 artists at the Gathering over the past three decades. This series contemplates life and work in the West through the artist’s lens, and commemorates the characters who have contributed their voices to that cause. More of Fuller’s work is on display inside the Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery through September 9.

Join us for a free guided walking tour of the storefront exhibition! Our first tour on July 18 was a great success. More guided tours - each featuring different Portraits of the Gathering locations - will be held on the following dates:  

Thursday, July 18th, 5:30 pm
Saturday, July 27th, 9:00 am;
Saturday, August 10th, 9:00 am
Wednesday, August 21st, 5:30 pm

Tours will meet outside the double doors of the Pioneer Saloon at the Folklife Center. Tour maps will be available. Of course, you can also enjoy the exhibition on your own schedule – visit www.portraitsofthegathering.org to access an interactive map of all of the portrait locations, as well as audio recordings of the poems so you can share your favorites. 

Photo by Marla Aufmuth.

Photo by Marla Aufmuth.

This exhibition is made possible thanks to generous support from: