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Ivinson Mansion Nutcracker Holiday Open House

4 Dec

By: Amanda Bugbee

The Ivinson Mansion, or the Laramie Plains Museum is hosting their annual Holiday Open House on Saturday December 13th and Sunday December 14th. This is a marvelous event that should not be missed- trust me I go most every year.

Open house; getting into the holiday spirit

The beautiful historic Ivinson Mansion

The beautiful historic Ivinson Mansion

The weekend of December 13th and 14th marks the dates for the annual holiday open house at the Ivinson Mansion, or the Laramie Plains Museum. This year’s theme will be The Nutcracker; which will be fitting seeing that the University of Wyoming used the Ivinson Mansion as inspiration for the settings and theme of their annual Nutcracker ballet this December according to UW’s website. During the Holiday Open House free tours will be given of the mansion, which will be beautifully decorated for the holiday season as always.

There will also be several musical performances throughout the weekend by the Wind and Roses Harp duets, The Melodees, and St Matthew’s Carolers according to the museums website. The Holiday Open House is always beautifully put together and well executed by the Executive Director, Mary Mountain.

The Alice Hardie Steven’s Center, which is also located on the mansion grounds, will be packed with holiday cheer. The Laramie Woman’s Club will be holding their annual “Christmas Trinkets” sale. They will have tons of items; holiday, homemade, and most anything you could imagine; at very low and reasonable prices. Yummy Christmas treats and drinks will also be complimentary at the sale, just as they have been every year. The Trinket Sale is a great place to find gifts for everyone on your list.

The Nutcracker Holiday Open House hours are:

Saturday December 13th from 3:00-6:00pm & Sunday December 14th from 1:00-4:00pm

Ivinson history: part of the community

Veiw of the Ivinson Mansion grounds in winter

Veiw of the Ivinson Mansion grounds in winter

Mr. Ivinson moved his family from the east to the territory that would later become Wyoming. While in Laramie the family had a huge impact on the community.  At one point Mr. Ivinson was the Governor and later a banker. Mrs. Ivinson started church services and Sunday school classes. “He (Mr. Ivinson) also completed the three towers and gave money for chimes and the clock at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, as well as a pair of stained glass windows in Jane’s memory. Mr. Ivinson also donated the War Memorial (WWI) which now stands on the northeast corner of Courthouse Square, diagonally across from the front door of the Ivinson Mansion.”( Mr. Ivinson also gave his home to the church to be used as a girl’s home. Upon his death Mr. Ivinson gave his money to the creation of the Ivinson Home for Aged Ladies, which was a dream of Mrs. Ivinson. The Ivinson Home for Aged Ladies still sits on Grand Ave.

The Ivinson family was very much involved in our community and has made it what it is today. The Ivinson Open House is a great way to learn more about their history and their positive impact on our community.

Other fun events and how to get involved

The Laramie Plains Museum also hosts other fun events throughout the year. According to the website their museum hours when tours are available, are Tuesday- Saturday from 12:30-5:30pm, with tickets being $10 for adults and $5 for students. The museum also holds their annual Victorian Teas in the summer months – I have heard these teas are quite beautiful and lots of fancy fun. These teas are also historically themed. The Ivinson Mansion will hold an art festival during Jubilee Days in the summer. And of course the mansion grounds are available to rent for special occasions like weddings and other gatherings.

If you are interested in being part of the museum staff they are always looking for volunteers, which is a very fun and rewarding experience as well a great learning experience; I was a docent at the museum for several summers (so trust me you’ll never forget all the fun and little details about the mansion).

Mary Mountain has done an excellent job of making the Laramie Plains Museum active in the community! There is something for everyone at the Ivinson Mansion, I strongly encourage everyone to check it out, and there’s no better time than the Holiday Open House!


Works of Wyoming: A part of the community

24 Nov

By: Amanda Bugbee

Works of Wyoming, a professional artist development center and gallery is located at 211 First St in downtown Laramie; right next the Sweet Melissa’s vegetarian café. Gayle Wilson is the owner of this lovely gallery and I was fortunate enough to sit down with her and discuss just what it is her gallery does.

Local, local & local

Works of Wyoming or the WOW gallery as it is often referred to, is a popular gallery downtown. WOW prides themselves in

Dan Roberts and his metal works

Dan Roberts and his metal works

catering to local artists, with a distance spanning the state of Wyoming; a great deal of the featured artists being from Laramie. Gayle tells me that these local Wyoming artists are the only ones featured in the gallery. The gallery has been in business for 5 years, 2 in its current location. When choosing art to display in the gallery Gayle says usually the time of year is taken into consideration and new and exciting pieces will make the cut. While on my visit to the gallery I was fortunate enough to run into Dan Roberts, of Hall Mountain Metal. Dan specializes in metal works, making signs, and cool art all from metal. If anyone is interested in a custom made metal sign or other design; Dan’s information is at the gallery as well as some of his work. Check it out.

Workshops for all

The WOW gallery offers a wide variety of workshops open to all to participate. These workshops are described as an enjoyable learning experience in a relaxing environment. According to Gayle the majority of the workshops take place during the winter to fill time during the chilly months in Laramie. Workshops seem to have a price range of $25-$35. This fee covers the cost of the materials that will be used.  A complete list of the workshops being offered during December as well as their dates and prices can be found at the gallery.

Helping the community: The Hilde Project

Gayle Wilson is a gallery owner as well as a teacher and mentor. The Hilde Project is a program that provides a creative

Works of Wyoming street view

Works of Wyoming street view

outlet to the incarcerated women in the Women’s Center of Lusk, WY. The project not only provides a creative outlet for these women but also teaches business skills and offers classes in technology as preparation for their release into a world that has since changed from what they knew. The Hilde Project was inspired by the teachings of 12th century nun Hildegard von Bingen. The Hilde Project connects women spiritually to the church for mentorship through the study of Saint Hildegard according to Gayle. Works of Wyoming is always accepting cast off scraps and fabrics for materials for the project. If you are interested in donating please call WOW at (307) 460-3304 or stop in.

Holiday fun

WOW is holding their own version of “black Friday” this holiday season. On Friday November 28th the gallery will be featuring and selling affordable art for the holidays. The pieces being sold will be $100 or less.  So be sure to stop in and check out some awesome local artwork!

In Plain Sight: Gallery West and the Frame Plant

7 Nov

By: Amanda Bugbee

A variety of shops and stores are scattered about Historic Downtown Laramie. Clothing and electronics stores as well as restaurants and bars line the streets of downtown, but what is often overlooked is what is in plain sight. We walk by them every day as we make our way to our destination. These hidden little gems are our local art galleries.

Local and regional art

One of my own paintings that was framed at Gallery West and the Frame Plant

One of my own paintings that was framed at Gallery West and the Frame Plant

I want to focus particularly on Gallery West and the Frame Plant located on Ivinson St. this is a locally owned gallery that has been in business since 1993 according to This gallery features a variety of local and national artists in several different mediums. When you stop in you’ll have your pick of paintings, prints, original photographs and posters to choose from. Prices are also pretty reasonable as well. Prints start from around $50 and most photographs start form around $90 according to their website. If you are unable to visit, Gallery West’s website is the perfect place for you; you will be able to browse as well as purchase art work.

More than just a gallery: Framing done right

Gallery West and Frame Plant bears this name for a reason. They also provide custom framing at affordable prices. The framing is always of excellent and highly professional quality. Having had my own work framed here I can boast of their excellent work. You can have most anything framed here, from a painting to a concert poster. This video from Gallery West’s website shows just how much work goes into the perfect frame.

Working together

When I spoke with Shelley Fahnanstiel, owner of Gallery West, she informed me that the downtown art galleries tend to work together, seeing that not every gallery will suit everyone’s needs. The galleries will send customers to each other if they are unable to provide you with what you’re looking for. Shelley tells me that each gallery has their own “thing” and the community of art galleries in town has great respect for each other professionally. Another great gallery Shelley suggests checking out is the WOW Gallery located on 1st St.

What Sells?

I was curious what a gallery will look for when selecting pieces to sell. Shelley tells me that the most important thing is being honest with the artist. She will only display works that she feels confident will sell. If she doesn’t think the piece will sell in her gallery she will send the prospective artist elsewhere, where the piece may have a better chance of selling. The other galleries in town also follow this practice. The Gallery West features mostly regional art, which sells very well. Displaying regionally themed art is a common rule when it comes to selling art in most places according to Shelley.

I would strongly suggest checking out Gallery West and the Frame Plant for all of your art and framing needs.

Check out the slideshow of Gallery West here,



-slideshow will not link properly, copy and paste to view!

Haunted Laramie

24 Oct

If you’re in the Laramie area and looking for a fright, look no further than the Territorial Prison. The Ghost Tours of Laramie, an annual Halloween event, is sure to scare. The experience is said to be “True, documented ghoulish tales” according to the Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site. ….BEWARE!

The Territorial Prison in Laramie; where to go to  be scared.

The Territorial Prison in Laramie; where you go to be scared.

Who: YOU!

What: Laramie Ghost Tours

Where: Territorial Prison, Laramie

When: October 24th, 25th, 30th, and 31st.

Begins at 7pm with tours leaving every half hour

Cost: $15 per person

Ghouls and goblins

Small town Laramie may not seem like it would be a hot spot for paranormal activity, but upon closer inspection you will be pleasantly surprised it is . Ghost Tours of Laramie is a Halloween attraction at the Territorial Prison. The attraction includes a haunted hay ride through town and concludes with the Dark Cells prison tour inside the prison. All along the guided tour you will be told true ghost stories of Laramie’s haunted past. It is not recommended for children under seven years of age.

Award winner

This spooky attraction is not new to Laramie; Ghost Tours of Laramie has been scaring us for 14 years. The tour has even won several awards in the region. According to Janine Bangerter, a manager of the attraction, it won Best Haunted Attraction in this region. Janine also tells me that just a few years ago the tour even won a prestigious award for Best Haunted Attraction in Better Homes and Gardens magazine.

What makes it unique?

You may be wondering what makes this haunted attraction stand out from the rest. I was skeptical at the uniqueness of the ghost tour, but Janine sold me on it. She tells me that this tour is not your typical haunted house kind of attraction; it is a unique haunted tour that highlights our local history, while telling true, documented ghost stories. These ghost stories mainly tell of haunts and ghouls in Laramie and Wyoming, but they also include an array of ghost stories from around the world.

Other haunts

Laramie has other spooky places to offer if you’d rather explore yourself. The Laramie Plains Civic Center is said to be haunted by many spirits. There have been countless stories of disembodied voices, footsteps and other strange noises that

Front view of the haunted Laramie Plains Civic Center

Front view of the haunted Laramie Plains Civic Center

can be heard after dark. According to the Prep school in Laramie has also had numerous reports of haunted activity. There have been reports of locker doors slamming, the feeling that you are being watched in the library and the feeling of a presence in the girls bathroom on the second floor. All of these places would be fun for exploring on a dark Halloween night!

Laramie Is filled with many restless disembodied spirits; take a tour of the many truly haunted places Laramie has to offer. If you dare.

An Artist’s Perspective: Ralston Crawford

10 Oct

Multiple Mediums!

 painting with a drawing

Painting with      Drawing

As I walked through the Ralston Crawford Exhibit, Ralston Crawford: Early Work,I was pleasantly surprised to see more than paintings. This exhibit features Crawford’s paintings, drawings, and even video taken by the artist! No matter what kind of art

you’re into this exhibit is for you, and I promise you will enjoy it! Crawford has countless paintings and drawings displayed in different painting styles, showing us the personal journey that Crawford experienced.

Silent Film Star

Crawford, while a painter, also conveyed and shared his vision through film, silent film. These silent short films are placed strategically throughout the exhibit, giving the viewer a chance to see all of Crawford’s sides. These films are extremely moving and are strong key pieces to the exhibit. These films feature a dam in New York as a main focal point. This dam is one of Crawford’s main focuses in most aspects of his work in this exhibit.

A Few of my Favorite Things

While his drawings were a big part of the exhibit his paintings provided the dramatic flair I enjoy most. I found my favorite

Ralston Crawford 1976

      Bora Bora II

piece of the exhibit to be an oil painting made in 1976, “Bora Bora II”. The strong lines, contrasting colors and simple shapes easily won me over.  Additionally, I found that his use of silent films brought a refreshing sense of calm and sereneness as I walked through his exhibit.  Each film adds its own unique character to this incredible exhibit. All of the different mediums are enough to inspire anyone to create, no matter what way they choose to harness their creativity. This collection will win over any of its viewers. With more information available here.

Let’s Summarize

Who? Ralston Crawford, artist

What? Ralston Crawford: Early Work exhibit

When? Now through November 15th, go soon!!

Where? University of Wyoming Art Museum

How Much? FREE!!

Artsy-ness in Laramie

26 Sep

Laramie is full of all kinds of interesting local artsy events and exhibits for everyone; you just have to know where to look!

Colorful Collections

Emilio Sanchez Luz y Colores Exhibit

Luz y Colores Exhibit

The of University of Wyoming Art Museum always has a variety of collections constantly coming and going from the museum. Currently there is a ton of traveling collections in the museum. “Luz y Colores: Emilio Sanchez’s Caribbean” will be in the museum until November 15th 2014. This is a collection of Emilio Sanchez’s (1921-1999) paintings of homes and buildings throughout the Caribbean. Sanchez’s work started with commissioned paintings of plantation homes all over the Caribbean, where he traveled during the winter months to escape the cold of New York. His paintings are not exact renderings of the homes he painted, but rather they are his own interpretations of the buildings. “Sanchez simplified the subject to its essential form in relationship to light and color, eliminating extraneous details, and achieved a natural abstraction through his selective vision.”(UW Art Museum.) Some parallels have been made between Sanchez and other North American artists. What makes Sanchez’s approach so unique is his Cuban heritage, and that approach to his art. This exhibit is a must see with its bright colors and exotic pieces. The UW Art Museum is FREE to the public.

Getting Contemporary

Ralston Crawford: Contemporaries” is also on display at the UW Art Museum currently. This exhibit runs until November 15th 2014. Crawford’s (1906-1978) art is most often categorized as Precisionist art in reference to the historical timeline of art. With the changing of times in 1945, Crawford’s work changed as well. This collection focuses on Crawford’s work after his break from the Precisionist style to a contemporary style.

Ralston Crawford 1976

Bora Bora II, Ralston Crawford 1976

Getting Involved

The UW Art Museum houses many great works for our viewing pleasure, but they also offer us a way to make our own art. “Learning from the Masters” is a way for everyone, of any age and skill, to create art. Programs are created to enhance our understanding of art and culture. These programs are created using the museums exhibits as focal points for the artist to draw inspiration from. The museum also has family classes on Saturdays.

Works of Wyoming

Works of Wyoming is a professional artist’s development center located in downtown Laramie. Works of Wyoming features art made with all sorts of mediums; paintings, knitwear, photography, and much, much more, all by local artists for sale at reasonable prices. Works of Wyoming would be a great a great place for any artists to look into to display and sell their own artwork. Works of Wyoming was voted “most unusual store in Laramie”! This location is a must see for anyone interested in art; art of any kind!

Impressionism and Reality

12 Sep
Amanda Bugbee

Self Portrait

Amanda Bugbee is a student at Laramie County Community College as well as an artist.

About Me

Amanda is working full time while attending school. She is currently working to complete her Associates degree in Fine Arts and Humanities, with plans to further her education attending the University of Wyoming. When Amanda is not in class or at work she enjoys painting. She mostly uses acrylic and oil paints as mediums for her project. She enjoys painting landscapes, always in the impressionist style; her favorite artist is Van Gogh. Amanda also enjoys spending her time with her dogs, there are five of them.

Future Hopes

Amanda hopes to sell more of her art work in order to create some sort of consistent income through her pieces. Amanda also has high hopes to soon begin a career within the art history field, preferably working in a museum.


Amanda plans to post about art related news and updates in the community.