Current Exhibitions

Portraits of the Gathering

January 22 - September 7, 2019
Opening Reception January 31, 2019

Wiegand Gallery

As we come together to celebrate 35 years of gathering in Elko, we honor and remember the individuals who have brought heart and soul to our community through their poetry, story, song and artistry. To shine a light on poets important to this artistic movement, we have invited photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller to curate downtown storefront and Wiegand Gallery exhibitions. For over three decades, Martini-Fuller has traveled to Elko to create portraits of cowboy poets, musicians and other special guests. Over the years he has photographed over 1,000 individual participants of the Gathering. Vintage videos and other memorabilia from the Western Folklife Center archives will add further dimension to this reflection on the Gathering’s artistic community.

Storefront View

Featured in storefront windows around downtown Elko and beyond are the portraits and poetry of 24 poets whose voices contributed to the early years and success of the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. We invite you to stroll the streets and meet these poets and their work. As you walk, you can use your mobile device and scan a QR code to be taken to an online site to hear and learn more. A map for a self-guided walking tour is available in the Wiegand Gallery. During the Gathering, walking tours were scheduled and guided by photographer and curator Kevin Martini-Fuller.

I’ve Got Spurs

Frank Shultz spurs, photo by Brent Herridge

Frank Shultz spurs, photo by Brent Herridge

Wiegand Gallery
January 22 - September 7, 2019

Since the first Gathering in 1985, the makers of handcrafted horse and work gear have been an important part of the Gathering’s artistic community and have experienced a renaissance.

In 1992, through the vision and generosity of artist William Matthews, the Western Folklife Center launched a Contemporary Cowboy Gear Fund to build a collection reflecting the fine artistry and craftmanship flourishing in the American West. For this exhibition, spurs from our collection are displayed alongside other contemporary and historic examples. Plain and purely functional or highly ornate and showy, spurs enable the rider to ask a well-trained horse for a range of responses. Adding to the spur bling is neon signage recovered from the Silver Spur Motel in Reno, Nevada, on loan from the neon collection of Will Durham. Durham has been preserving Nevada's neon signs for over two decades and directs the Nevada Neon Project. Some spurs are available for purchase, benefiting the individual artist and the Western Folklife Center.

We thank our funders, including Western Folklife Center stakeholders.

Something That a Cowboy Knows

Lower level, Western Folklife Center

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.