Introducing the Wilcox Family!
They are the owners of the Wilcox Gallery which is located on Highway 89
– right next door to the Flat Creek Inn!
*How long have you lived in Jackson Hole, and what brought your family to the area?
We moved to Jackson permanently in 1969, so next year will be 50 years for us (not counting the summers that we spent here previously).
When we drove into Jackson to make it our year-round home, we had two boys: tiny toddler, Jeff, and infant son, Scott. We were so excited that we wouldn’t have to leave in the fall, and that we could put down some roots. Jim had been teaching school in Bothell, Washington for the previous two years, and we had been coming for the summers to “try” the art market. We both had a love of the valley already instilled in our hearts from the summers working here previously.
*Tell us a little about your family…
We have 6 sons and 1 daughter who were all raised here in the valley. Now only two of them remain, as it is so hard to afford to live here, and the others are settled in Utah. Jeff, our oldest, has been the manager of our gallery now for many years, and actually bought and lives in the house that used to be the Bagley home build by Jerry from his own harvested logs. The house is just up the hill from our gallery.
Our youngest son Eric, manages a gallery that we have in downtown Jackson, Wilcox Gallery II, which has worked out great getting the walk-around traffic that we sometimes miss out here. It is doubly nice because he happens to be the other artist in our family. About 4 years ago he discovered his talent in sculpture, and he is one of our biggest sellers in the gallery. We work back and forth with the two galleries, and it has worked out very well.
Jim, the painter in the family, has been painting the valley and the mountains here, as well as other beautiful spots in the country, for 50+ years, and is still loving that his “office” is many times under a tree surveying this beautiful valley. He has had a very successful career in the art business, and has blessed many lives with his talent.
*How/where did you meet the Bagley family?
We met Jerry and Patsy Bagley early on after we moved to Jackson. The first winter that we stayed in the valley we were lucky that we got the job of caretaking the Elk Refuge Inn, which was closed in the winter, so we just got to stay there and keep an eye on things. It worked out great. Jerry was very friendly and offered us a fridge to use as we just had a little mini fridge in the rooms that we were living in. Our friendship grew with Jerry and Patsy and their little family.
At the time we met them, they were living south of Jackson in an A-Frame that Jerry had built. When they decided to sell it, we borrowed some money and bought it, along with the little fireworks stand and gas station that was at the top of the driveway. It was a beautiful spot down in the trees with Horsecreek going through the property. We loved it there, and lived in that house for several years before we decided to try to find someplace for a gallery that we could own.
*When/how did you guys decide to build an art gallery, and how did you decide on the location?
A piece of property became available adjoining Jerry’s Red Barn property north of Jackson. We could not afford to buy the whole 2 acres, so we approached Jerry to see if he would split it with us. We almost lost it when a competitor of Jerry’s just started bull-dozing one day (after we thought we had it worked out to buy it), and I spotted the activity and Jim called Jerry. They say the air was blue above Jerry and his competitor as they disputed who got to buy the property. We don’t know what Jerry said (except that it was very colorful), but the competitor backed down.
We are so grateful to Jerry for helping us to buy this wonderful property that has been our gallery since 1974. It has been a great place for us, and we could not have done it without his help.
*Out of all the works of art that your family has created, which ones are the favorites?
Our favorites are what Jim calls our “mobile sculptures” – the great children who we were blessed with. But we have kept a few of Jim’s paintings over the years that we have hanging in our personal home. One is a painting of the beautiful “Sleeping Indian Mountain” that is across from the gallery (and the Flat Creek Inn). It is such a grand sight to see the last rays of the setting sun glorifying this beautiful mountain which is just beyond the National Elk Refuge (so the wildlife viewing is awesome also). This painting is the “study” for a larger version that won Jim his biggest award in art at the Prix de West Show in Oklahoma City where it won the grand prize, the Prix de West.
There have been many awards since, and many favorite paintings, but we can’t keep them all. They have kept us in business for almost 50 years. Also, we love the little sculptures of the Rocky Mountain Wildlife that our son, Eric, does.
*What are some of the best selling pieces of art at your gallery?
Jim’s paintings have always been very good sellers, and Eric’s little bronzes, although they don’t cost as much, they make up for it in volume, and we sell so many of his little buffalo, elk, deer, etc. We also have a great chess set made of bronze bears (the Black Bears versus the Grizzlys), which we seem to always be behind on trying to get them from the artist and the foundry. It is called Bear Chess’d and comes with a beautiful chessboard with cabinet made by the artist Tim Whitworth.
But we have about 40 wonderful artists that we sell very well for. We have one young artist that we took on at the age of 15, and we have had two shows for him, the last one just a few weeks ago, where we sold 48 out of 53 of his paintings. He is quite the artist at such a young age. We call him our Prestigious Prodigy, and his name is Kyle Ma.
*What is your favorite place to eat in Jackson?
Our new favorite place to eat is The Big Hole for the best barbeque in the valley. We also love to go to the Bar J Chuckwagon dinner. The food is okay, but the entertainment is awesome! People come from long distances to go to the Bar J. Highly recommend.
*What are your favorite things to do in Jackson?
We love to take advantage of the nature we are blessed with here. We have owned our own raft for floating the river, and our son Jeff is renowned for taking people down the whitewater…friends and family. We have a boat buoyed on Jackson Lake in the summer, and there is no more beautiful lake in the world to boat on. We have kayaks and love to kayak the rivers, and of course fishing.
We love picnicing and hiking with our family and friends, and just the beautiful drives to get photos and see the wildlife. September and October are great for getting out and listening to and seeing the bugling elk as they gather their harems. We are always counting our blessings that we get to live in this beautiful valley filled with great people.
Thanks to the Wilcox Family for letting us spotlight you and your art gallery!
We are so glad to be neighbors with you!
Come visit the beautiful Wilcox Gallery for yourself
and stay at the Flat Creek Inn while you do
(because we just happen to be right next door)!