The Nic Celebrates 50 Years





Casper, Wyoming - The Nicolaysen museum turns 50 this year. The "Nic" as it's called, is considered one of the finest museums of its size in the country featuring a variety of Wyoming artists and special collections. All of it aimed at making art accessible to residents throughout the state.


The Nicolaysen, a cultural landmark in Casper, opened it's doors in 1967 in a small white house located at the corner of Park and "A" street.


“Mary durham was the leader of the pack. She decided that there needed to be a museum and a gallery in Casper to show contemporary art,” said Ann Ruble the Executive Director of The Nic.


The gallery, simply named 'Gallery A' was renamed...The Central Wyoming Museum of Art in 1972 when it was moved to a former bus station.


“Another group of citizens, led by mary still, said we need a bigger space. So there was an abandoned bus station where now there is a burger king,” said Ruble.


Over the next 5 years paying the mortgage grew difficult. Enter local rancher, Gerald G Nicolaysen.


So Gerald or G.G. as I'm told he was called, actually wrote a check to make sure that all the debts were paid,” Ruble said.


April 6th 1990, The Nic moved again. This time to a building that once housed Casper's first electric company, later becoming Casper Lumber. What they created was a high quality showpiece to enjoy art. Spacious yet quaint. Where you can get close and experience the art.


“It's people who make places like this happen. This is a place but it’s really the people that make it run. That's the heart of any operation,” said Ruble. “Luckily we've had a lot of big hearts that have made this place work over 50 years.”


The Nic which holds an arts festival in June, a notable musical series, also offers an assortment of hands on programs for kids who just see art as fun. Next week The Nic will hold a two day celebration for it's 50th birthday starting on Thursday for artwalk followed by a gala fundraiser on Friday.