In every town, there’s at least one building that refuses to be stripped of its original glory. In Cheyenne, especially thanks to the local arts community, that building is the Historic Harry P. Hynds Building.
At the Cheyenne Artwalk on June 10, the building’s current tenants are celebrating with a special event dubbed A Century at the Hynds.
“The Hynds Building is in danger, and I’ve been connected with it for a while,” said Georgia Rowswell, owner of Blue Door Arts at 1608 Capitol Ave. “I’m part of the original group that got the windows in. When I arrived in Cheyenne 13 years ago, the building was boarded up, and I was told it had been boarded up for decades.”
There was something about seeing a historic building with such great visibility – on perhaps downtown Cheyenne’s busiest street corner – boarded up that broke Rowswell’s heart. It’s one of the many reasons that by 2010, she had formed the organization LightsOn! with architect Glen Garrett and a few other dedicated creatives to turn the building into a hub for the arts.
According to previous Wyoming Tribune Eagle reporting, the structure had sat empty for nearly 25 years before the organizers of LightsOn! decided to make a change. And by Sept. 24, 2010, the group was hosting an event to celebrate its official reopening and ceremonial lighting.
“Our objective was to have a place that would bring art into the downtown area,” she said, admitting that they achieved that goal, but the road was rocky. “Glen got grants … we got the windows done, and had events there for five years. Then that stalled out for a while. Then Terry Kreuzer and I took it up again and got funding to do some workshops there.”
That workshop series Pop Up Maker’s Place (aka PUMP) is still active and will feature the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters demonstrating their craft and selling raffle tickets for a quilt at the June 10 event.
The event will also feature a birthday cake for the Hynds (which has conflicting birthdays in local records – some say the original bank that occupied the building opened in 1919, and others say 1920 or 1922, but it’s been open for roughly a century) baked by Three Crows Gallery co-owner Beth Rulli. Her space within the building, located at 1610 Capitol Ave., will also feature a slideshow made by Garrett to give guests a taste of the building’s history.
“It’s such a super building,” Rulli said. “It is due for some recognition.”
She, like Rowswell, moved out of the space in 2016 when it was bought by David Hatch. But when his development/restoration plans fell through within the year, both gallery owners moved back in and have been with the Hynds ever since.
“David Hatch is artist-friendly, so he rented to us at reasonable rates,” Rowswell said. “It’s always a problem for artists to get a space anywhere, especially in a downtown area.”
Kristin East, whose pieces for this month’s Artwalk will be “showcasing nature and landscapes with a surrealist twist,” and Bob Ross-certified painter Donna DuPont-Schultz are two of the building’s newest tenets, and they’re excited to celebrate the building that’s recently given them the chance to display their artwork.
East’s husband, Jim East, said he volunteered to help with the Century at the Hynds event because it means a lot to his wife and the other artists in the building to get some foot traffic.
“It’s a chance to walk by and liven up the community, to get a look at what people are creating there,” he said. “The idea that this building has been part of downtown for 100 years and heaven knows what kind of different events have transpired inside and in front of it – just having a chance to commemorate that history and where it is now, having so many artists at all three venues there, it’s an interesting opportunity I fell into, and I’m glad I did.”
Another newer tenant, Val Martin, is co-owner of Emma’s Old Time Photos inside Art@The Hynds. She said guests at the Century at the Hynds event will be able to enjoy not only original artwork and a 20% discount on photos at her stand, but beverages, treats, live music (hopefully some balloon animals for kids), and a generally elevated atmosphere compared to typical Artwalks at the Hynds.
Like her fellow tenants, she’s excited to honor the space that’s given her so many opportunities.
“We love being in this building, and we have a lot of people who come in because they’re intrigued by it,” she said. “I’m excited for the future of the building as she turns the page for the next chapter in her story.”