Frack This? The Wyoming Artist Expedition Examining the Collision of Art, the Environment, and Our Economy
The Wyoming Artist Expedition brings together 6 artists from Wyoming, Ohio, and Oregon to see Wyoming’s rarely visited Wilderness Study Areas and Citizen Proposed Wilderness Areas, to better understand and document the energy boom, and to use art to communicate Wyoming’s special places at the center of oil and gas drilling.
Artists will meet with scientists, meet with oil and gas industry experts, and camp and hike in some of the most pristine and remote wilderness left in America. The artwork created will form the basis of a traveling exhibition opening in cities across America. “Great art gets attention and sparks discussion. Using our ability to visually interpret the world we’ll educate, inform, and inspire people around one of the most controversial issues facing America, oil and gas drilling on our public lands,” Says artist and project founder Jason Lehrer.
“I’m blown away by the response. Project expenses are almost fully funded, and we still have over two weeks to go on our Kickstarter page. It’s been such a success we’ll be organizing a new expedition to new places in 2013. I’ve recruited a super talented group of artists. Putting them in these amazing landscapes with time to really reflect on their lives is the right formula to produce compelling works of art.”
The project’s innovative use of online marketing like Kickstarter, Facebook, and Tumblr represents a new model for artwork sales that complements traditional galleries and has guaranteed funding for the trip. Buyers order prints in advance and specify the artist’s work they’d like to receive. Early sales revenue goes towards trip and exhibition expenses. Most of the early buyers have been new collectors. Each gallery exhibition will also have unique one of a kind artworks in addition to the official suite of limited edition prints. “It may take two or three years of expeditions to find galleries in different cities that are the right match for these types of works,” Says Lehrer. “But I think that gallery owners will like knowing there’s demand before booking the exhibition. Not only can we show our sales to them, we’ll use these new forms of media to bring our new following with us to the openings.”
The goal of the project isn’t just producing great artwork, it’s also about influencing the national debate around our last remaining wild lands. “Artists have an important role to play in the Fracking debate,” says Lehrer. “Putting in massive pipelines, well pads, and roads is a permanent change to the land. You can’t take it back. The oil and gas industry has leased two of the six million acres that makes up central Wyoming’s Red Desert. I want every American to understand the real cost of our energy decisions.”