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National Museum of Wildlife Art Presents Succession

January 24, 2024

Succession, this year’s high school student-curated exhibition, is open at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and will be on view in the Wapiti Gallery through February 18, 2024. This exhibition is presented by students at Jackson Hole High School in collaboration with students from Maui Prep (many formerly at Lahainaluna High School) impacted by the August 2023 historic wildfire in Lahaina, HI. The exhibition is comprised of works from 65 Maui Prep students and 60 local Jackson students–curated by four student curators from Jackson Hole High School.

Succession features ceramics, drawings, paintings, and mixed-media artworks inspired by poems from students in Lahaina. For this exhibition, the students in Hawaii sent students in Jackson Hole poetry and artwork. Jackson Hole students drew inspiration from the poems and created visual artwork inspired by their words. The result is a powerful juxtaposition that explores the deep emotions of loss, growth, change, and ultimately regeneration. As referenced by the exhibition title, ecological succession is the process by which the mix of species and habitat in an area changes over time–until a disturbance, like a fire, occurs. When a new patch of land is exposed for the first time, life must start from scratch. Over time, life will thrive again.

In the words of student curators Lukiah Jaeger, Roxy Martinez, Maggie Hofmann, and Elizabeth Prince: “The destruction of communities and the environment is nothing short of tragic. When disaster strikes, whether on an emotional, physical, or ecological scale, in the moment, there is little hope to be found. But with time, aid, and a change of perspective, loss can be the beginning of something better. Through this exhibit, we show what we can gain from loss in connection with the poems written by students in Lahaina, Hawaii who recently faced the destruction of their community.”

The National Museum of Wildlife Art is dedicated to exhibiting student artwork in a professional setting and amplifying the voices of youth in our community. The Museum is proud to partner with young artists from Jackson Hole High School on this exhibit. The nature of the student-curated exhibitions is to create exhibition themes that examine our connection, appreciation, and concern for nature and wildlife. Students are given parameters based on neutral design foundations that allow for individual student responses and personal expression. The work is collaborative, and many voices are at the table, helping steer the design of the content from the curators to the student artists.

Succession is generously sponsored by Lea Charitable Trust.

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