The American frontier West has been mythologized from the start of European colonization, and it still exists differently in our imaginations. When I think about it, my vision of the West—some of the things that set it apart from other parts of the county—most immediately calls to mind jagged mountain peaks, crappy roads, drinking cheap beer by quiet lakesides, scratchy AM country radio stations, pickups, haying season and hounddogs.
The upcoming West: A True Romance art event, curated by designer Julia La Tray, asked several artists to consider what the West means to them. A poem on the event’s Facebook page sums up some of the seemingly disparate parts of Western culture: “Convenience stores, cowgirls, genocide/ Trophy homes, single wides, freight trains, pack trains/ Pow-wows, super fund sites, beasts of the air and field/ Developers, ranchers, back-to-the-landers.”
Fittingly for such an expansive topic, all sorts of artistic endeavors are included in the West: A True Romance evening. Artists like Chris La Tray, Adelaide Every, Courtney Blazon, Caitlin Hofmeiester and Nate Biehl are presenting paintings, drawings and photography. Authors including Sterling HolyWhiteMountain and Katie Kane are reading selected fiction. Plus, there’s a jewelry display and fashion show by Julia La Tray’s label DonkeyGirl.Oh, and there’s supposed to be whiskey. Now there’s an integral part of Western culture. —Kate Whittle