Imagine casually carving turns down Baldy when all of a sudden you spot the moon streaking across the sky. No, you’re not hallucinating from the lack of oxygen but rather catching a glimpse of the most-recent of two unique art installation on the Roundhouse Express Gondola.
The gondola wrap project kicked off several years ago as a joint venture between the U.S Forest Service, the BLM, the City of Ketchum, and the artists as an effort to draw attention to the importance of arts and culture in community. In-part, the Ketchum Art Commission’s (KAC) public art project was conceived to expose people who otherwise would not step into a gallery or museum, to art and artist in unexpected places. KAC has been integrating art into the daily life of the community for years. You can see their efforts around town with art covered utility boxes, sculptures and more uniquely, gondola cars.
The first gondola wrap project kicked off several years ago with an image by artist and local legend Ralph Harris. An illustrator and long time ski instructor, Harris’ art has graced the pages of skiing magazines; Ski, Skiing and Ski Racing, stamps, and Forest Service posters around the region celebrating life in the West. His artwork hangs in museums around the country. “To our knowledge, showcasing original art wrapped around an entire gondola car is a first in the U.S. ski world,” Jack Sibbach, of Sun Valley Resort, said at the time.
The second gondola wrap project teamed Boise-based artist, Rachel Teannalach, with the City of Ketchum and Sun Valley Resort to create an abstract painting that engulfs the entire exterior extremities of the 8-person gondola car situated on the River Run side of Bald Mountain. Rachel found the project to be, “interesting from a design aspect” and “thought it would be fun.” She went on to say that, “you have very specific parameters for a project like this, which I like.” The painting magnificently depicting the various lunar cycles – a continuous pattern of blue flowers of varying hues with waxing and waning yellow orbs floating through the sky. Teannalach drew inspiration from her Kaleidoscope series which focuses on repetition and cycles of life. It’s a site not to be missed. Be sure to catch it from all angles.
A third and fourth gondola art car are in the for 2018- 2019 thanks to the continued work of the Ketchum Art Commission. “There’s always the possibility of more over time”, said Courtney Gilbert of the KAC. We can only hope that she’s right.
The next time you’re out biking, skiing, hiking or walking around town, look up, you may see something unexpected.