salida, colorado

Artists Gather at Colorado Art Ranch in Salida

In late April, Colorado Art Ranch, a nomadic outfit that hosts artist residencies throughout Colorado, gave seven talented artists the gift of Salida. They hail from varying locales such as Iowa, Texas and San Francisco. They are wine aficionados, former bodyguards, Peace Corps volunteers, Ph.D.s, memoirists and NPR commentators, all passionate about the literary or visual arts.

The group, selected by a jury for one-month residency, landed in Salida with the goal of letting its topography, people and nature inspire them to produce art. Two others, Greg Larson and Kristen Iversen, have been living at Libre Arts Colony, founded in the 1960s and located in Gardner, about 80 miles from Salida.

“What is really great about the residency is that the people that came together here are very conscious about water, land and other issues,” said artist in residence C. Maxx Stevens, a faculty member at the University of Colorado. “I have found from working together and our discussions to be very inspiring and educational.”

Saturday, as part of an event called The Artposium, these artists showcased past and current work in a free public presentation at 7 p.m. Saturday at Cafe Dawn, 203 West 1st Street, in Salida. The larger Artposium combined presenters, workshops and discussions.

Salida, Colorado

Salida, Colorado

For a new piece entitled “Seven Spheres,” Maxx Stevens used materials such as old tires and inner tubes discovered at her work space, an old bicycle shop, in keeping with her preference that her works eventually be recycled or fall apart.

“I dont need to make something that is going to stay forever or use materials that are permanent, Stevens said. “But I like the concept that it has its own sense of aging and changing and will fall apart eventually in time.”

Artist in residence Wendy J. Pabich has been “painting and experimenting with multimedia and various techniques,” including clay and collage. She recently completed a piece called “The Butterfly Effect.” Under her parallel life as waterdeva, she also donated one night in Salida,  to give a presentation entitled “Water Futures,” which centered on understanding the value of water as a resource and how to properly steward it. (She has a Ph.D. from MIT in addition to being an artist.)

"Seven Spheres," Maxx Stevens

"Seven Spheres," Maxx Stevens

During the residency, each artist is provided housing and studio space, courtesy of individual donors and nonprofit Salida ArtWorks, which supports the areas rich art community. Each also volunteered one day of his or her residency to the community.

Micheal Frels time in Salida was his first artist residency. Frels produced several close-up photographic compositions of light and shadow within his first week and also took time to enjoy the scenery, “a refreshing change from my Texas home,” he said. Of the lifestyle, he continued “The people of Colorado appear much healthier.”

Those healthy and creative people also had the opportunity to study conscious artmaking. Maxx Stevens along with fellow artist in residence Hyeon Kim, taught an Alternative Printmaking session teaching techniques one can do without a press, and without putting ink into the water system.

The next residency with Colorado Art Ranch will host three artists at Carpenter Ranch near Hayden, Colorado, for the month of September. Interested artists may apply through June 15.

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