The Campbell County Rockpile Museum and the Campbell County Historical Society are pleased to host an opening reception for the museum’s newest exhibit Benson’s Art Shop on Thursday, September 13th at 7:00 p.m. This exhibit features the works of Jake W. Benson (1895-1958), cowboy folk artist from northeast Wyoming.
Benson was a self-taught artist who painted extensively in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. He painted large murals in bars and cafes, ranch and business signs, tourist billboards, and many western scenes. He had a small art shop in downtown Gillette for a number of years in the 1940s.
Benson’s Art Shop features nearly twenty paintings, numerous sketches, his original paint shop sign, photos of Benson, and his last known painting. Many of the paintings are on loan to the museum and are here only until the exhibit closes at the end of February 2013.
The Campbell County Historical Society will also present a new book by Jake Benson’s granddaughter Doris Mitchell titled Searching for Jake W. Benson. This book discusses Benson’s life and art and contains many illustrations of his paintings, drawings, and murals. Mrs. Mitchell will be on hand to discuss the book and will read one of her grandfather’s poems. She is also bringing a few paintings from the family collection that will only be on display on the 13th. Mrs. Mitchell described the book as “an attempt to make an intimate connection with the past.” Her goal was to “showcase the wonderful artwork of Jake’s, replay his personal life, and show what a true gentleman he was.”
Searching for Jake W. Benson will be available for purchase for $15 during the exhibit opening on September 13th and in the museum gift shop thereafter. Mrs. Mitchell has generously agreed to sign copies on the 13th for anyone that is interested.
For additional information about the exhibit or the Rockpile Museum, please call CCRM at
(307) 682-5723 or visit www.rockpilemuseum.com.