Elmer Halseth

Rock Springs High School science teacher Elmer Halseth created a lasting legacy when he organized student fundraising efforts to purchase art for the school’s walls. The public is invited to a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the first painting purchased from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Community Fine Arts Center at 400 C St.

ROCK SPRINGS —Sweetwater County School District No. 1 and the Community Fine Arts Center will host a free public celebration for the 80th anniversary of the first painting purchased by teacher Elmer Halseth and Rock Springs High School students. The reception will run from 5-7 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Community Fine Arts Center, 400 C St.

The celebration will include a student art competition and music performed by students and local musicians. Refreshments for the evening will be prepared by the culinary students from the Rock Springs Junior High and High Schools.

Local artists have donated art to be raffled that evening. Tickets are available from Community Fine Arts Center board members and at the Community Fine Arts Center. The proceeds are going to support a special project that the Community Fine Arts Center board will announce that evening.


The art collection was started by a group of students encouraged by Halseth to raise money through bake sales, school carnivals and collecting scrap metal. Works originally hung in the high school library and classrooms for the students to learn about and appreciate the visual arts. The collection has been on public display since 1966 when Halseth helped open the Community Fine Arts Center to make this large collection of art accessible for everyone in the community. Over the years, the center has expanded to include special exhibits, performances and classes for all residents and visitors of Sweetwater County.


The Community Fine Arts Center is a unique collaboration of Sweetwater County School District No. 1, the city of Rock Springs and Sweetwater County. The center operates as a department of the Sweetwater County Library System. Additional funding support comes from the Sweetwater County Library Foundation, Wyoming Arts Council and Sweetwater Board of Cooperative Educational Services.

The center’s goal of providing a variety of art experiences directs the calendar of events each year. Each month, a new exhibit is displayed featuring individual artists, traveling exhibitions, or themed shows for community artists.

The Community Fine Arts Center’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and noon to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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