Mules, mules, mules—the 2019 Wagon Days poster features 20 of them waiting to be connected to the Big Hitch, a chain of six ore wagons from the Lewis Fast Freight Line. On Saturday, Aug. 31, the mules will tow the wagon train down Sun Valley Road into Ketchum, where they make a turn north onto Main Street.

    “There’s something intriguing about painting a group of animals, instead of inanimate objects,” said Molly Snee, creator of this year’s poster.

    Snee said she’s been drawing and painting her entire life. She graduated from Syracuse University in New York state with a degree in fine arts and illustration, which, she said, is geared toward commercial work. Now 29, Snee moved to Ketchum from New York City about five years ago after attending a summer wedding here.

    “I haven’t found a good reason to leave,” she said with a laugh.

    While here, she has been able to pursue a career in illustration, providing drawings to The New York Times’ op-ed page, BuzzFeed and other media. Topics have included White House cabinet officials and a story on tips for women traveling abroad. A recent subject was an exploding missile in Russia.

    Snee began working for the city of Ketchum last year, creating illustrations for event posters, flyers and the city newsletter. Mayor Neil Bradshaw said last year that her work has improved the quality of all the materials. Her work included the 2018 Wagon Days poster.

    She said her mass-media work has been of “newsy” subjects that have been “pretty conceptual” and done digitally, so she has enjoyed assignments such as Wagon Days posters.

    This year’s poster was done in gouache, an opaque watercolor.

    “When I do things like the Wagon Days poster, it’s much more fun to work in traditional media,” she said.

    Snee said that over the past year, she has been able to work full-time as an illustrator.

    “I hope it proves enough to keep doing it for years to come,” she said.

    Her current project is a mural for the interior of the Ketchum Visitor Center. The Ketchum Arts Commission set aside a 9-foot-high by 25-foot-wide section of wall for a mural summative of the city’s cultural identity. So far, the work in progress has remained under wraps, but Snee said it should be unveiled in time for Wagon Days.

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