Artist community to arrive in Park City |

Artist community to arrive in Park City

by Tracie Fails, of the Record staff

Artists from across the country will draw inspiration from Park City this spring as Spiro Arts welcomes its first Artists-in-Residence (AIR). The program, one of 250 artist colonies in the country, sponsors a jury-selected group of writers, photographers, visual artists and performers to live and work at an artists’ colony at a facility sponsored by the Silver Star resort.

Executive director Kathryn Stedham, an accomplished painter in her own right whose work has appeared in galleries from Chicago to Japan, says artist communities are important to inspiring innovation among artists.

"One distinguishing factor (from the real world) is that we offer artists the opportunity to have undistracted time, or time away from day-to-day responsibilities to create," she says. "It promotes risk-taking and expansion of one’s work. And helping with that is giving them permission not to do the perfect piece every time. It’s a time to experiment and branch out into something different, pushing one’s creative boundaries, that’s what we’re looking for."

Spiro will host three artists in April and five in May. While in residency, they will live in the affordable housing built last summer, which currently provides accommodations for the Sundance Institute’s film festival staff and seasonal employees. (Spiro Arts main studio building is one of the newly restored mine buildings at Silver Star Resort. The Sundance Institute uses the building during the winter months as temporary office space for the film festival.)

Inviting artists to utilize the space in the summer months fosters a year-round appreciation for the arts, the Silver Star states on its Web site.

Stedham says the program is as beneficial to the community as it is to the artists, fostering collaboration between residency artists and local galleries, providing networking opportunities for local organizations, and promoting Park City businesses.

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AIR will also actively involve the community with educational programs, including workshops, slide presentations, lectures, open studios, readings, poetry slams and artist visits to local schools.

Spiro announced this week the acceptance of eight artists to its inaugural program. The diverse group features a fiction writer, a poet, visual artists and a photographer. A panel of four jurors, which included artists and arts professionals, made the selection.

Stedham said jurors based their decisions on candidates’ potential for artistic growth, as well as their connection to Park City.

"A lot of them have very interesting proposals, and some of them want to try things they’ve never done before, and this gives them a comfortable space and supportive environment to help with that," she said. "We also looked closely at why they wanted to come to Park City and how it would inspire their art."

Stedham said she was impressed at the variety of applications Spiro received.

"I was really taken back by how unique and diverse the applicants are. We had applicants from all over the United States, from all four corners." They even received applications from abroad including one from an artist researching in Antarctica.

"The really great thing is there was diversity not in people, but in their work," Stedham added. "Everything from painting to performance art. It’s wonderful to see all the energy and commitment to their craft."

The artist studios, located on Three Kings Drive, are open to the public. Lectures and events involving resident-artists will be announced on Spiro’s Web site, .

2008 Spiro Artists in Residency

Writers (May) *Nancy Reisman, Fiction, Nashville, Tenn. *Rick Hilles, Poetry, Nashville, Tenn. Visual Arts (April) *Jun Ishida, Installation/earthworks/painting, Brooklyn, NY *Louise Guerin, painting, Brooklyn, NY *Lauren Mantecon, painting/mixed media, Sausalito, Calif. Visual Arts (May) *Sarah Hewitt, Sculpture Fiber, Santa Fe, NM *Duane McDiarmid, Scuplture/Installation/event, Coolville, Ohio *Joshua Reiman, Sculpture/photography, Ithaca, New York