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September 1, 2014
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A Pretty Wild Dream

Moonlit creatures portend Fall Arts honor for young, contemporary painter

(page 1 of 4)

On a moonlit walk last summer, Amy Ringholz found herself surrounded by a stunning cast of creatures. Otters and swans swam by, an owl landed on a limb beside her. The wild animals of her wild paintings joined her nocturnal stroll.

“I said my prayers and wished for an opportunity to not only show what I could do, but ... use my talent to inspire everyone that came to see my art,” Ringholz said.

The animals’ presence portended the announcement to come the following day, when Ringholz learned she had been chosen to be the 2012 Fall Arts Festival featured artist. The moment Ringholz moved to Jackson in 2002, she set her sights on becoming the Fall Arts artist—a lofty goal for a then-24-year-old artist in a landscape dominated by seasoned and deceased Western painters.

Something to know about Ringholz: She grabs life by the horns. As effervescent as she is ambitious, she buoyantly barrels through the fences that often pen artists of her age, gender and genre. Instead of offering only a capstone painting, Ringholz has imagined a whole new landscape for the Fall Arts Festival, replete with an intriguing installation and an elaborate thank-you party.

Being chosen as the Fall Arts Festival featured artist could be seen as a feather in her cap, but instead, Ringholz considers it a coronation, a crown with many points: the youngest artist ever chosen for the honor, at 34 years old; the first female artist in 11 years; the first contemporary artist in more than a decade.

What’s more, Ringholz is a local treasure. Everyone knows her exuberant style, on canvas and in person. Imagination infuses all aspects of her life and her art. Ringholz considers Fall Arts as a way to celebrate Jackson Hole. “It’s about being grateful and sharing something great,” she said.

Befitting her boundless creativity, she writes poetry to mark important moments in her life—like becoming the Fall Arts artist. A consummate dreamer, Ringholz gives her imaginings room to breathe and become. The poem, “Dreamers Don’t Sleep,” begins:

if a dream lives inside you, it doesn’t just mingle with your heart.
in the morning it wakes you. it opens your eyes and you smile.
when you look in the mirror you see more than yourself.
you see a strength and a confidence and know that you are destined for greatness.

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