Current Exhibitions

The Western Folklife Center’s Wiegand Gallery features exhibitions offering a glimpse of the rich cultural legacy of “Basque country,” both in the rural American West and abroad. 

March 6 - September 11, 2018:

Basque Aspen Art of the Sierra Nevada

This exhibition features part of the Jean Moore Earl and Phillip I. Earl collection of Basque aspen wax-on-muslin rubbings, capturing the early 1900s artwork of sheepherders in the high mountain meadows of the Sierra Nevada and Great Basin.

The use of rubbings preserves these historic Basque tree carvings, as the living records of a century-old folk art form are slowly dying as the aspens they adorn succumb to old age.

The canvases on exhibition were once toted into remote locations and wrapped snugly around aging trees with carvings, and the rubbings taken. The subject matter of the tree carvings is greatly varied.

The Western Folklife Center hosted a special reception featuring collector and curator Jean Earl on June 28 and an illustrated tour of the discovery of these  Mountain Picassos: Basque Arborglyphs of the Great Basin.

January 18 - September 11, 2018

Images of Basques and Buckaroos in the Ranching West

  Abel Mendeguia, by Linda Dufurrena    

Abel Mendeguia, by Linda Dufurrena    

  Skeeter Clark, by Mary Williams   Hyde

Skeeter Clark, by Mary Williams Hyde

  Joan Arrizabalaga, by Zoe Bray

Joan Arrizabalaga, by Zoe Bray

Portraits speak volumes. Our portrait library draws on multiple mediums, from historic to contemporary. Gathered together are favorite images from ranching family photo albums in a revolving “slide show” that includes evocative oil portraits by artist Zoe Bray, contemporary photographic documentation by Linda Dufurrena and Mary Williams Hyde, a video story by Carolyn and Linda Dufurrena, and more. Objects speak volumes too, you say? Handcrafted and lovingly used items from local ranches and homes will play a role in this visual tribute to Basque immigrants and their families.


January 18 - September 11, 2018

Bertsolaritza, Basque Improvised Poetry


Dueling poets? And arena-sized audiences? Learn more about this sung improvised poetry tradition, an important cultural expression for the Basque people. And cheer on our special guests from the Basque Country and the U.S. who will be dueling it out during the Gathering. This exhibition of images, video and text was curated and produced by the Jon Bilbao Basque Library, University of Nevada, Reno.

Special thanks to individuals contributing to exhibitions through the Western Folklife Center Stakeholder Program, the E.L. Cord Foundation and:

something that a cowboy knows

Lower Level, Pioneer Hotel

The Western Folklife Center presents Something That a Cowboy Knows, a photographic essay by L.L. Griffin, Denver-area artist and photographer. Through her photographs, L.L. Griffin provides insight into the character and spirit of cowboy poets, singers and storytellers of the American West. Something That a Cowboy Knows first appeared at the Arvada Center and the Colorado Historical Society, and after traveling throughout the West, it was donated to the Folklife Center by Griffin to become part of the Western Folklife Center's permanent collection of exhibitions and artifacts. All photos by L.L. Griffin.

Banner image by Rorie Holford.