Pictured Above: A view from my window. Wow!
To give an accurate depiction of this residency experience, it is crucial to recognize an unforeseen gift of the program: the people. The talent, generosity, and connections made during this program is uplifting, transformative, and long-lasting.
Since art is typically created or refined in solitude, it is beneficial to be surrounded by others willing to provide honest feedback, creative strategies, resources, and encouragement. To work alongside artists who make art a priority is powerful. We all know the ups-and-downs affiliated with the creative process, sometimes art does not feel good, it does not come together, or seems impractical, yet we must keep going. Witnessing each other’s processes — the challenges and breakthroughs — builds a deeper connection, one united by resilience and commitment. And it goes without question that hard work pays off when it is seen or experienced, which was evidenced during Open Studios this week.
We invited the public from Brush Creek Ranch and the local Saratoga community to attend. The day began in the schoolhouse where guests filed into rows of wooden benches facing a stage with the Steinway piano and projection screen in view. Artist took turns presenting their works on stage or directly within their studios.
Open Studios was a close look into our diverse creative worlds. A journalist presented her research on missing women and violence from drug trafficking in Jaurez, Mexico and a fellow author read chapters of his new book containing brutally honest and heart-felt stories of fatherhood and marriage, leaving you breathless. We listened to musical compositions made in response to an Emily Dickenson poem and watched a recording of an intricate composition merging the analytical and emotional interplay of science and health. We explored the visual art studios which included works inspired by local scenery — from anatomical drawings of wildlife with hidden narratives to intricate eco-dyed fabric textiles and sculptures. Our creative work is diverse but our commitment to what we do is similar, it unites us.
I presented two projects to studio visitors and fellow artists. It was so helpful to see their reactions and hear their insights about the work. In particular, I compiled and collected a list of local plants and animals of the Wyoming ecosystems to incorporate into the intricate “web of life” puzzle.
Community plays an important role in the creative process. Whether sharing content with others, collaborating across disciplines, or creating side-by-side, there is an undeniable comradery between us. Based on my discoveries on social networks and communities, I cannot help but think why our group dynamic works. In network analysis, it is objectively proven that high diversity leads to vastly better outcomes via “cognitive diversity” within teams. Working alongside artists of diverse disciplines expands the mind and provides personal and creative growth, individually and collectively. It also gives momentum to keep going, keep creating — you are not alone.