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Artistic creations go on display July 7-9
July 07, 2016 Jerry Purvis   

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It was 1983 when local artist Jim Long proposed the idea that Oregon Trail Days should include an annual art show to showcase original works from artists around the region. Itís still going strong 34 years later.

Scotts Bluff County Clerk Vera Dulaney has been on the organizing committee since the beginning and now serves as chair for the juried art show.

In its early years, the art show would set up in whatever space was available in Gering. But that changed in 1993 with completion of the Gering Civic Center. Thatís when the Oregon Trail Days Art Show found a new home and has been there since in air conditioned comfort.

This yearís art show is scheduled for July 7 Ė 9 and runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday in the Gering Civic Center. The show is sponsored by Valley Bank and Trust, which recently became Western States Bank.

This yearís show features 23 artists from Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, and South Dakota. Many of them have shown their works in Gering before, but others are coming to the Oregon Trail Days show for the first time. All of the pieces on display during the show are available for sale.

Dulaney said one of the new entrants, John D. Baker of Laramie, Wyoming, will have both his paintings and sculpture on display.
Returning artist Jerry Green from Custer, South Dakota will bring his handcrafted wood bowls, which have been very popular with the public. The remaining artists work primarily in watercolor, acrylic and oil.

Dulaney also pointed out an interesting connection between two of the artists. Newcomer Gayla Ruckhaus from Littleton, Colorado is a Gering High School graduate and was a student in Gretchen Petersí art class. Peters has since retired from teaching, but has been showing her work at the Oregon Trail Days Art Show for several years.

Dulaney said people who grew up here and are returning for Oregon Trail Days and class reunions might want to pick up some art that features scenes from the local area. ďThereís nothing better than original art to remind you of home,Ē she said.

This yearís lineup includes returning artists Tim Collins of Laramie, Wyoming; David Dorsey of Valentine, Nebraska; Peg Fowler of Gering, Nebraska; Marilyn Frisbie of McDonald, Kansas, Jerry Green of Custer, South Dakota; Mary Hunt of Gering, Nebraska; Becky Johnson of Colorado City, Colorado; Yelena Khanevskaya of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; Ginnie Madsden of Laramie, Wyoming; Margretta Perry of Broomfield, Colorado; Gretchen Peters of Gering, Nebraska; Ken Pledger of Bridgeport, Nebraska; Tom Samson of Minatare, Nebraska; Priscilla Sandoz of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; LeTisha B. Smith of Morrill, Nebraska; Dustin Stephenson of Ten Sleep, Wyoming; Carla Stroh of Lusk, Wyoming; Marvie Tipsword of Torrington, Wyoming; and Mildred Wright of Gering, Nebraska.

Artists showing for the first time are John D. Baker of Laramie, Wyoming; Gayla Ruckhaus of Littleton, Colorado; Ray Schleyer of Scottsbluff, Nebraska; and Scot A. Weir of Rock Springs, Wyoming.
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