LARAMIE — Join the University of Wyoming Art Museum in celebration of the Summer Solstice — the longest day of the year — a much enjoyed time after the long winters of Wyoming. This very special event takes place Friday, June 21, the first official day of summer.

Katie Christensen, the curator of education and statewide engagement at the University of Wyoming Art Museum, loves the thought of celebrating this summer zenith with other sun-loving folks.

“We think the Summer Solstice is well-deserved and long overdue after our long winter and hail storm recently! It’s the one time of year there’s a special architectural feature of the Centennial Complex, where the Art Museum is housed, along with the American Heritage Center. In our rotunda gallery, there’s a solar tube that every year at high noon on the Summer Solstice, shines sunlight directly in the center of the gallery space, and it hits a 1923 Peace Dollar,” said Christensen.

“So it’s kind of magical. There are about 200 or so people that gather in the space and watch the sunlight move. It’s a way to celebrate this place that we’re in.”

There is also a special treat for all you sun-gazers who don’t wish to expose your eyes to damage from ultra-violet light.

“We have invited the Laramie Astronomical Society and Space Observers – or LASSO – so they’ll have a couple of solar telescopes out on our terrace so you can view the sun safely that day. Also, out on the terrace, we’re having a smoothie bike, so you can make your own smoothie by the power of your own legs. Those are free.”

Christensen said there are free make-and-take summer and solar-themed art-making activities in the Shelton and Museum Studios.

“We also have live music that day by The Littlest Birds, an Americana banjo duo from Laramie. Actually, one of the banjo players just won the Telluride Bluegrass festival last year. They’re pretty amazing musicians, and they’ll be inside. We’ll also have some free food that day.

“And last, but certainly not least, we’ve got some art-making activities, so you can come and make cyanotype prints from the sun, you can expose some fabric using stencils or your own drawing. And we also have some solar activities – you can kind of make a sun-based sun catcher downstairs.”

And like the majority of events at the Art Museum, the events and activities are free.

“It’s always free. We try to keep as much as possible free at the museum, so come down, it’s all ages. Make sure if you’re a kiddo you bring an adult with you to help you with some of the activities. We start at 11 a.m. We’ll have activities ready and the music will start at 11. We’ll take a brief pause about 11:45 when people start gathering in the rotunda space. We’ll say a few words, watch the sunlight move, and then people are free to go, then wrap it up around 1 p.m.”

The University of Wyoming Art Museum Centennial Complex is at 2111 E. Willett Drive in Laramie. Visit uwyo.edu, email uwartmus@uwyo.edu, or call 307-766-6622 for more information about this and other upcoming events at the museum.