Casper Boasts a Mammoth Arts Community
The Nicolaysen Art Museum & Discovery Center, known locally as “The Nic,” offers free admission to its 25,000-square-foot space in the remodeled Mountain States Power Company building, which dates to 1924. The annual Nic Fest draws thousands to the museum and adjoining grounds for live music, activities including the Sidewalk Chalk Art Competition and a sale of works by artists from across the nation. The museum also holds an annual art show and sale in November as well as Wednesday Night Live, an eight-week, summer concert series.
With an emphasis on education, the Nic’s youth offerings include after-school and summer camp programming as well as a student docent class. The museum’s board awards a scholarship each year to help a student pursue visual arts studies.
All of childhood’s a stage at the Casper Children’s Theatre, where community support led to the organization’s current 6,000-square-foot location and full lineup of classes and productions. A sense of humor runs rampant at the theater, as evidenced by troupes such as the Not Ready for Bedtime Players, comprising 8- to 12-year-old actors. Twice nominated for the Governor’s Arts Award, the theater also was selected as the winner of the 2005 Community Innovation Award by the Wyoming Association of Municipalities.
The Wyoming Symphony Orchestra offers an annual line-up of classical and pops concerts, including its Masterworks Concerts and Holidays with the Symphony program. The symphony works to share their skills with the next generation via their Send Kids to the Classics program that provides concert tickets to students.
The Tate Geological Museum, on the Casper College campus, houses more than 3,000 fossil and mineral specimens. The museum holds an annual symposium on paleontology and geology, as well as a busy schedule of education programs, including children’s Saturday classes and weeklong summer digs at a dinosaur quarry. Area digs keep things exciting for local enthusiasts. In 2006, more than 100 bones and a broken tusk of what was later named Dee the Mammoth were discovered on a private ranch.