Introducing Inspired Art @ Work

By Patrick Dooling 2 years agoNo Comments

Western Slope Conservation Center Partners with Elsewhere Studios on INSPIRED: Art at Work Project

Elsewhere Studios has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Arts in Society Program for the project, INSPIRED: Art at Work, which will bring artists to Paonia, CO, in summer 2018 for two-month fully funded residencies, as well as provide a stipend and materials allowance for a local artist. Working closely with Western Slope Conservation Center and four other local partner organizations (Citizens for a Healthy Community, Farm and Food Alliance, Solar Energy International, and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition), and a scientific advisory team, they will create socially-engaged artworks that address issues stemming from the impacts of legacy coal mining, such as: preservation of culture and environment, creation of a resilient economy in rural Colorado, pressures created by oil and gas development, and loss of jobs. These collaborations are designed to broadly engage the community and promote dialog about concerns vital to the future of our area.

The community-based or social action art projects, will culminate in a final Symposium scheduled for August 24-26, 2018 that will feature the work of the artists as well as local and national speakers, readings, films, music, live art, and tours of the valley to visit art installations, art studios, farms, and wineries. The Symposium will also help promote the work of the partner organizations.

The organizers are looking for community members interested in helping with the project and planning the final symposium. If you are interested, please contact Karen Good at

For more information and for link for artist applications, go to

***UPDATE: AUGUST 2018***


Tickets  are now on sale for the INSPIRED: Art at Work Symposium August 24 – 26This is the culmination of Elsewhere Studios’ innovative project, INSPIRED: Art at Work, which is hosting four socially engaged art projects this summer in various formats with participatory experiences that advance dialogue on key issues around our watershed, Gunnison River health, avenues towards prosperity, and sense of place. Western Slope Conservation Center is a partner on this project and we encourage you to support it by attending the Symposium!

The Symposium highlights the work of the artists as well as Keynote presenters
● Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of Braiding Sweetgrass : indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teaching of plants. Note: Due to unforseen circumstances, Robin will need skype in to the conference.
● Woody Tasch of Slow Money: investing as if food, farms, and fertility mattered.

Other highlights include food writer Eugenia Bone in her talk on the, ‘The Microbiome of the Garden”, and Marissa Mommaerts on how proactive neighbors create resilient towns. The Symposium is a multimedia event, with film, sculpture, dance, writers, social actions, and samples of North Fork Valley entrepreneurs, recreation, and artisans. Farm to table dinners are offered Saturday, August 25th, with artists, presenters, and project partners at each location. Pre and post tours offer opportunities to visit archeological sites, green building tour, organic farms, mine tour, solar projects, etc.

Check out this promo video by artist Clara Pena

Learn more about this exciting program and purchase Symposium and Farm to Table tickets here:


Our project partner Elsewhere Studios opens ticket sales June 1, for ​Inspired: Art at Work​’s Symposium, August 24, 25, 26th. 2 local artist projects, and 2 visiting international artists will work with community members throughout July and August on ‘socially engaged arts,’ in various formats and participatory experiences that advance dialogue on key issues around our watershed, Gunnison River health, avenues towards prosperity, and sense of place.

Symposium keynote presenters are:
● Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of ​Braiding Sweetgrass​: ​indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge, and the teaching of plants.
● Woody Tasch of ​Slow Money: investing as if food, farms, and fertility mattered.

Other highlights include food writer Eugenia Bone in her talk on the, ​‘The Microbiome of the Garden,’ and Marissa Mommaerts on how proactive neighbors create resilient towns. The Symposium is a multimedia event, with film, sculpture, dance, writers, social actions, and samples of North Fork Valley
entrepreneurs, recreation, and artisans. Farm to table dinners offered Saturday, August 25th, with artists, presenters, and project partners at each location, tickets through the link below.

Learn more about this exciting program and get your Symposium tickets here:
'Tree Ritual', photo by Saffire Black. This movement piece is a component to Inspired project's Per-fumes of Prayer: Reclaiming Shock and Sorrow, modern dance with ritual and costumery in response to new proposals of drilling and hydraulic fracturing in our watershed.
oneGranite-web: One of the sculpture concepts by John K. Melvin, working with riverside/gravel areas to highlight issues of ecological concern and drought.
Documentarian Clara Pena on shoot, her Summer project is 'Of Anthracite & Apples', interviews on the topic of new economic niches for North Fork Valley.


Tickets go on sale June 1!


Elsewhere Studios is pleased to announce progress in our INSPIRED: Art at Work developments.   We selected four projects for our Summer 2018 program of socially-engaged art, INSPIRED: Art at Work.  We will host 2 art-projects from the North Fork Valley, and 2 visiting artists-in-residence at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, CO.

You’re invited to Elsewhere Studios’ Artist Cross-Pollination-Connection Event

What: Quick Q & A rounds that introduce artists to each other, help project partners know the artists, and artists know the project partners, identify pathways of interest, enhance engagement, and welcome the artists.

Who: All artists, project partners, and our science/advisory group, and any interested folks!

Why:   Find particular ‘sparky’ liasons between artists and others, share context about North Fork Valley overall.  Brunch-nosh and good cheer provided.

Where: VoTech Building, Paonia, CO

When: Saturday, February 17th, 10:30am-noon

North Fork Valley artists are:

Of Anthracite and Apples, by Clara Pena, working with Matt Jenkins and John Steele

These educators find themselves more and more drawn into media and story for the sake of community dialogue.  Clara comes from a family of agriculturists and coal miners, and this short film will document the history of extractive industries in our valley and ask the community what a new, resilient economy would look like. “I think our community’s story has the potential to resonate with people across Colorado and the globe because, as James Joyce put it, “in the particular is contained the universal.” Our valley’s struggle is the universal struggle for survival and prosperity.   I hope the film allows people from many perspectives to celebrate the history of our valley while reimagining our economic future,” says Pena.   A second section of their project will be a mini-series documenting the artists and course of the INSPIRED project, and will take on interns from Montrose High School’s Advanced Multimedia classes.

Per(Fumes) of Prayer, by Christine Palafox and Tanya Blacklight

In response to the approval of 146 fracking wells upstream from the Paonia reservoir, this duo will design an Eco-dance, built around ritual, with contemporary, ancient, and ethnic movement. The filmed dance will feature Delta County locations, in their beautiful abundance and potential vulnerabilities, and highlight juxtaposed relationships of industrial    The work will apply renowned modern dancer, Anna Halprin’s, “RSVP Cycles” methodology for creative collaboration.

Visiting Artists-in-Residence

Curbing Social Entropy, by John K. Melvin

“Our world is grappling with economic and ecological realities, yet we don’t universally see the simplicity of their interdependence.  I uncover inter-dependent relationships and present them in artworks to provoke and instigate dialog,” says Melvin.  He increasingly incorporates clean-ups, material collections, and pollution/consumption awareness workshops and exhibitions into his work.  Learn more at

Because of the larger scale of his sculptural creations, Elsewhere seeks public and private land location prospects in considering siting a public art piece this Summer.

Riverine Collection / Portrait of the North Fork Gunnison River Basin, by Anna Macleod

Macleod’s ongoing work, ‘Water Conversations’, examines the politics, traditions and practices surrounding water in a variety of global locations. The work is centered around locating commonalities, local problems and interlinked futures of our planet in the management and consumption of finite water resources.  In the space of the workshops/ think tanks, a process of ‘Troubling,’ a tool she has developed, engages participants to anticipate and discuss known problems or barriers, and circumnavigate psychological and concrete obstacles to imagining different futures for water and land management.

“Living in rural northwest Ireland has given me a strong interest in communities undergoing rapid change through climate change and post industrialisation.  My work employs scientific methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, performance and socially engaged activism to build metaphoric spaces for re-imagining the future,” says Macleod.

About our work:

As Elsewhere Studios dives into our first dedicated “socially engaged” art project, we face into the question, “What’s art have to do with that?”  The ‘that’ in the fore of our minds, is our North Fork Valley home, a center-point for organic farms, ranches, orchards, and vineyards that feeds much of Colorado and beyond.  It is also the loss of jobs with mine-closures, and growth and development pressures too.  We are dedicated to helping show our community how food-focused endeavors, renewable energies and ‘creative industries’ may be a pathway to increasing livelihood and prosperity for families here.  North Fork Valley towns are in a unique position to decide for themselves, and take action, in forming how our beloved places will look and feel in 5 years, 15 years, 30 years from now.


Further project context:Working closely with scientists, and policy-makers, and five local partner organizations: Citizens for a Healthy CommunityWestern Slope Conservation CenterFarm and Food AllianceSolar Energy International, and North Fork Valley Creative Coalition; artists will create socially-engaged works exploring issues such as: preservation of culture and environment, creation of a resilient economy in rural Colorado, and values under threat by fracking, development, and loss of jobs. These collaborations and a final symposium are designed to broadly engage community dialog on concerns vital to the future of this rural area.Through a series of meetings/discussions, the artists and community members will define a particular issue or set of issues such as, the impact of energy development, Gunnison River health, air quality, changing energy resources, the loss of coal mining jobs, changing cultural norms, etc.

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