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UW Art Museum to Host Reading, Book Signing by Artist-Author Neltje

October 31, 2016
graphic with words and silhouette of woman against abstract background
The UW Art Museum will host a reading and book signing to celebrate Wyoming artist Neltje’s memoir, “North of Crazy,” Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m. (Neltje)

The University of Wyoming Art Museum will host a reading and book signing to celebrate Wyoming artist Neltje’s memoir, “North of Crazy,” Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 5:30-7 p.m.

Laramie’s Second Story Books will sell copies of her memoir during the event.

Imagine a world of Gatsbyesque glamour, opulence and cultural prestige. Publishing magnate Nelson Doubleday’s daughter, Neltje, was raised to assume her place in this upper-echelon world filled with famous authors. But, beneath a seemingly idyllic childhood, darker currents ran: an alcoholic father whose absences left holes, a mother incapable of love, a family divided by power and money struggles, and a secret that drove Neltje into isolation.

“North of Crazy” is her story -- written with the same fierce passion, wit and emotion that drove her off the conventional path. She relocated to Wyoming and became an artist, a rancher and an entrepreneur.

Brad Watson, author of “Miss Jane: A Novel” and associate professor in the UW Creative Writing Program, says “North of Crazy” is “a rich and often mercurial story of a rich and often mercurial life. Neltje's voice is fresh, original, entirely unaffected. Whether she writes of child abuse, abusive alcoholics, cheats, crazy poets, new love, ruined love, painting or marching to Selma, Ala., she does it straight from the heart. Hers is a frank history, an adventure, hard-earned, not at all pretty and fascinating. Here is the story of a woman who had to fight just about everyone along her way to get what she wanted and needed, especially love and independence. And, in the end, in her own way, she succeeds.”

In fall 2013, the UW Art Museum hosted the exhibition “Neltje. Painting. 1990-2012,” a survey of the evolution of her creative work in painting that included her monumental series, “Moroccan Suite.” Neltje has exhibited throughout the Rockies and nationally.

She spends her weekends on the Little North Fork of Crazy Woman Creek in northern Wyoming.

For more information about Neltje, visit To learn more about her memoir, go to

The reading and book signing are co-sponsored by the UW MFA in Creative Writing Program and the UW Art Museum.

For more information, call the Art Museum at (307) 766-6622, visit the website at, or follow the museum on Facebook.

Through its “Museum as Classroom” approach, the UW Art Museum places art at the center of learning for all ages. Located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie, the museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday hours are extended to 7 p.m. February through April and September through November. Admission is free.

About Neltje

Neltje was born in New York City and raised in Oyster Bay, Long Island. From 1979-80, she took a few classes at the Art Students League in New York, N.Y., and, in 1980, she took a few classes at the New York Studio School of Drawing. She is essentially self-taught. Neltje is a prolific abstract expressionist painter whose works have been described as an “exploration of making the sensed visible.”

In 2005, she received the Governor’s Arts Award that recognizes Wyoming's preeminent artists. She received an honorary degree from Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Mont., and is the founder and benefactor of the Neltje Blanchan Literary Award in memory of her grandmother. She served on the board of the Wyoming Arts Council from 1985-88. In 2010, Neltje made the largest estate gift in UW’s history.

Neltje’s work has been featured in collections at the Smithsonian, the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Mont., the IBM Corp. in Denver and the Wyoming State Museum in Cheyenne, among others. Additionally, her work is in private collections in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania and Wyoming.

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