About By Western Hands:
Cody has become the acknowledged center for some of the West’s finest art, including a western furniture and design industry that has flourished here for over 75 years. Through the museum, educational events and artist residencies, By Western Hands™ has been dedicated to educating, conserving and perpetuating the legacy of western design.
How COVID affected things:
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted Cody's tourism-dependent economy, forcing businesses, restaurants and museums to reconfigure their events and operations. By Western Hands’ storefront located in downtown Cody closed mid-March to May due to the pandemic. By Western Hands was challenged into rapidly adjusting its plans for the summer, eliminating summer of Artists-In-Residents and weekly shop demonstrations.
How the group reacted:
In addition to ramping up its online presence, By Western Hands decided to institute a community project to uplift attitudes and spirits and develop an attractive outdoor space located adjacent to its building. The nonprofit received a Wyoming Business Council Open Summer Placemaking Grant of $2,500 and numerous community donations to pay for the development.
The board named the space the Enterprise Plaza to commemorate its historical significance as the original home of the local newspaper, the Cody Enterprise, which was founded by William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody. When complete, large plaques, planters and benches will create a relaxing space where visitors can appreciate Cody's rich history on the spot where Buffalo Bill communicated his vision for Cody, Wyoming to the world.
The Enterprise Plaza became a central gathering spot during the annual Buffalo Bill Art Show and Rendezvous Royal. By Western Hands was also able to have artisan demonstrations in the newly developed plaza during Rendezvous Royale to the delight of locals and tourists.
What the future holds:
By Western Hands is encouraged and excited about its organization and Cody's future, noting its resiliency. The nonprofit is looking forward to partnering with the many arts organizations throughout the region to showcase western functional art and celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022.
“With every experience, we learn and grow. We are stronger for the changes that 2020 has brought across our community, state, nation, and world.”
-Graham Jackson, By Western Hands Board Member