Exhibit featuring photos from new Wyoming book opens at NWC

Reception tonight

Posted 9/17/19

An exhibit of photographs from a new book about Wyoming goes on display today (Tuesday) at Northwest College’s SinClair Gallery.

The book by Dennis Davis, “Wyoming — Perspectives …

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Exhibit featuring photos from new Wyoming book opens at NWC

Reception tonight

Posted

An exhibit of photographs from a new book about Wyoming goes on display today (Tuesday) at Northwest College’s SinClair Gallery.

The book by Dennis Davis, “Wyoming — Perspectives on a ‘small town with long streets,’” will also debut at the opening reception at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The title derives from former Gov. Mike Sullivan’s description of the state as “a small town with unusually long streets.”

Davis, a former reporter and photographer for the Powell Tribune, taught journalism at NWC for 15 years.

When he began working on the book some four and a half years ago, “I had the sense that Wyoming’s energy-based economy would change dramatically in the face of climate change in the coming years,” he said. “I was interested in helping to foster and facilitate a conversation among the state’s residents about those likely changes and their ramifications.”

To help explain what’s happening — and what Wyoming can do to help diversify the state’s economy — he spoke with an energy economist at the University of Wyoming, three Gillette coal miners and City of Gillette officials. Davis noted that the energy market has moved rapidly, with coal production dropping and major coal companies going
bankrupt.

“The state faces a window of transition in the next few years to come to terms with these and other possible declines,” he said.

In writing the book, Davis said he also wanted to “continue the discussion about what it means to be the Equality State.”

“Wyoming’s gender pay equity ranks among the lowest in the nation with a low percentage of women in the Wyoming Legislature and relatively few female CEOs. The Heart Mountain Relocation Center demonstrates how racial and ethnic minorities can be treated,” he said.

Davis’s “Wyoming” book includes comments from a Northern Arapahoe tribal member about racism faced by Native Americans and examines the continuing influence of Matthew Shepard’s death and legacy on the state’s LGBT community.

Davis added that Wyoming also just has “so many great stories.” A number of them are retold in his new book.

“Few residents have probably traveled to each of the four corners of Wyoming, or know about the last drive-in movie theater in the state, or Natural Trap cave, or what life is like in Smoot or how King Ropes or Freedom Arms got started,” he said. “We really are, in many respects, a small town with unusually long streets.”

The photographs in the NWC exhibit feature the Willow Creek Ranch west of Kaycee, landscapes and wildlife across the state and community celebrations such as the Northern Arapahoe powwow in Ethete, the Green River Rendezvous in Pinedale, Gold Rush Days at South Pass City and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Davis is a Wyoming native, but traveling across the state helped him see the economic and cultural changes that have taken place here.

“Realizing the diversity of really interesting stories in the state and its residents came as a pleasant surprise,” he said. “We are a truly unusual place in our landscape, wildlife and people. It’s been a joy to help tell those stories.”

Copies of the book will be available at tonight’s (Tuesday’s) reception for purchase and signing. Davis will also offer a short video presentation as an overview of the project.

The exhibit will hang in the gallery through Friday, Nov. 1.

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