The goals of the “Women of Wyoming” mural are to uphold CMP beliefs and Casper community branding standards to “inspire deeper compassion among Casper neighbors, wider cultural understanding and empathy, and focus on stories of inspiration, social justice, and community peace.” The mural is meant to foster positivity and inclusivity by honoring the strong, bold women of the Eastern Shoshone people. The mural design showcases local flora, such as cactus flowers, the Shoshone rose, and other local wildflowers. Women arts administrators, photographers, models, and painters are at the helm of this special project.
Thank you for coming to the unveiling of the Casper Mural Project’s most recent artwork. I am Dr. Rochelle McCoy, an academic professional lecturer with the college of education, and soon to be director of the Bachelor of Applied Sciences program at UW-Casper. University of Wyoming at Casper is extremely honored and proud to be the main sponsor of this year’s mural and tribute to the Women of Wyoming, past, present, and future. UW is devoted to serving and supporting women and felt compelled to sponsor the mural project and artwork by Koda Witsken to honor women in Wyoming.
University of Wyoming at Casper historically has had a much higher female student population. In 2022, 83% of the graduates were women, including both undergraduate and graduate level programs. UW-C has a scholarship, unique to Casper, named the Myra Fox Skelton Foundation award. This scholarship is open to single parents, most of the recipients being women. This scholarship is a generous monthly award that helps limit the burden of salary and allows recipients to achieve their goal of devoting their time and energy to obtaining either a graduate or undergraduate degree at UW-Casper. Myra Fox Skelton herself was a woman of achievement: she became a school superintendent at the age of 26, one of the youngest persons to have had that role.
To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment in 2020, USA today did an article on Wyoming and shared Wyoming’s many firsts when it comes to celebrating and empowering women. Wyoming was the first state to grant women to vote in 1869, a full 51 years in front of the passing of the 19th amendment.
I want to take a moment to recognize and reflect on some incredible Wyoming women. The first female governor was Nellie Taylor Ross in 1924. Liz Byrd was the first African American to serve on the state senate. Ann Esquibel Redmond, founder of the Wyoming Latina Youth Conference, was devoted to educating Latina women and girls. Dr. Lynette St. Clair devoted her career to serving the Shoshone and teaching the language and culture. She partnered with PBS to create a series about the Shoshone
and Arapahoe tribes to further Native American education information about the culture. Jasmine Pickner-Bell was a world champion hoop dancer and member of the Sioux tribe. These women and many others have left a timeless imprint on Wyoming’s history and culture and continue to do so today.
Thank you for coming out today to celebrate the newest addition to the Casper Mural Project, Women of Wyoming. This mural will inspire Wyoming and future women for many generations to come.
I will leave you with this final quote by former first lady, Michelle Obama, “There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice.
Artist Koda Witsken partners with the Eastern Shoshone Cultural Center and the Casper Mural Project to create a new public artwork.
Casper, WY: The Casper Mural Project (CMP) and artist Koda Witsken (huemuralsbykoda.com) are collaborating with the Eastern Shoshone Cultural Center to install a mural on Center Street in August 2022 celebrating the “Women of Wyoming.”
The CMP’s mission is to foster and encourage community expression through murals that inspire deeper compassion, widen cultural understanding and empathy, and focus on stories of inspiration, social justice, and peace. The CMP selected Witsken to lead their 2022 mural project from a national callout. Witsken was selected because of her vibrant color palette and her vision to celebrate the inspiring, original “Women of Wyoming” by depicting a modern Shoshone woman in her mural design.
Witsken worked with Robyn Rofkar and the Eastern Shoshone Cultural Center to select a Shoshone model, Jackie Washakie, to serve as a reference for the mural design. Washakie is a mother, active Shoshone tribe member, and local Casper resident. Along with the CMP, Witsken coordinated a photoshoot of Washakie with local photographer, Andrea Luton.
“This project is beyond powerful,” says organizer Koda Witsken, “because we are infusing meaning and intent in every step of the planning and installation processes. The intention of the 2022 mural was to highlight the women of Wyoming, and we are doing just that. We have women photographers, models, administrators, and painters at the helm of the project. I am honored to work with the Cultural Center and CMP to tell a story of modern Wyoming women!”
Witsken will be installing the work in August 2022. More information on the project will be upcoming at caspermuralproject.org and social media soon. The Women of Wyoming is sponsored by the University of Wyoming Casper along with grant funds from The Kemmi Creek Donor Advised Endowment Fund and The Tony Cate Fund at The Wyoming Community Foundation, John & Lauren Griffith, Ryan McIntyre, Curb Appeal Painting, Kalen Marketing Agency, World Wash, Yoga on the Labyrinth, KCWY News 13, Townsquare Media, The Table, Ramkota Hotel, Beyond Borders Adventure Retreats, Sweetgrass Acupuncture, and Adventure Dome Wyo. If you would like to donate towards the project or future murals in Casper, there will be opportunities at the morning mural unveiling on Tuesday 8/30 or caspermuralproject.org.
About Hue Murals: Established in 2018, Hue Murals is a mural business centered on the work of local artist Koda Witsken. Her colorful style and optimistic themes adorn many businesses and buildings in the central Indiana area. Hue Murals strives to create art that helps businesses, spaces, and people rise “a shade above” – a little brighter, and a lot more united.
The Women of Wyoming mural was made possible by the University of Wyoming Casper along with grant funds from The Kemmi Creek Donor Advised Endowment Fund and The Tony Cate Fund at The Wyoming Community Foundation. Also key to it being created are: Casper Dermatology Clinic, John & Lauren Griffith, Ryan McIntyre, Jane Ifland, Scott Olheiser, Scott Sissman & Kathleen Sarosy, Curb Appeal Painting, Jonah Bank, Kalen Marketing Solutions, Beyond Borders Adventure Retreats, Sweet Grass Acupuncture & Wellness, Casper Dermatology Clinic, Ramkota Hotel, Superior Signs, Yoga on the Labyrinth, KCWY News 13, Townsquare Media, The Table, Visit Casper, Native, MoodyStickers.com, Glenn & Rayna Januska, Adventure Dome Wyo., and other generous donors.