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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment November 19, 2018


2/20/2018 2:50:00 PM
Caldera hosts open studio for artists
Nina Vichayapai is one of the artists featured in Caldera’s Open Studio program. photo provided
+ click to enlarge
Nina Vichayapai is one of the artists featured in Caldera’s Open Studio program. photo provided

By George Myers


Seven multidisciplinary artists and writers from the West Coast will share their creative projects at the Caldera Artists in Residence Open Studios event this Saturday, February 24.

Maesie Speer, Arts Center programs manager, describes these unique residencies as a way for Caldera to offer its resources and facilities to support artists, creative thinkers and performing ensembles, and to invite their neighbors in Sisters Country to experience a range of arts that is unique to our region. More than 200 artists applied this year for the opportunity to spend three-and-a-half weeks living in one of Caldera's cabins, and to work on a creative project away from their normal routines and working environments.

Between January and March each year, three cohorts are selected, with the selection committees prioritizing artists of color, parent artists, and teaching artists. This is one of the few residencies in the United States that encourages artists to bring their children along. One of the program's goals is showing the youth in Caldera's Youth Program that they can continue to live creative lives as artists with professional careers. The artists function as role models from a variety of cultural and geographic backgrounds, according to Speer.

"Its magical to have this beautiful space. I can practice any time, create, walk, or ruminate," said taiko drummer and folk dancer Michelle Fujii, one of the current artists.

From Portland, she is in her second residency and relishes the opportunity it provides for her. "Creating a space is one of the most fundamental things that we take for granted. The space here is huge." She is fully utilizing the physical, time and artistic space Caldera offers. "This is a space to take risks, a safe environment, and I find ideas that I couldn't have imagined."

Her work this month is focusing on empathy and how it feels to walk in someone else's path. Inspired by hiking the trails around Suttle Lake, and studying the exposed roots of the trees, she is creating a labyrinth in the shape of the roots of these trees, and incorporating her Taiko drums as a part of the installation. When the audience walks along the labyrinthine path being set out on the floor of Caldera's largest room they will "honor my roots and traditions" and understand each other a little more.

Nina Vichayapai is a young visual artist from San Bruno, California. She is away from her urban life and commented on that difference being so close to nature. The isolated environment in the cabins overlooking Blue Lake has helped her. The solitude creates a "bubble" for her, while living and working with a small group of other artists. She said, "This is a refreshing time, a great way to step away and come back to being an artist."

Her proposed project was originally to work with the comfort foods we consume during the cold winter months to "warm our bodies." After arriving, she shifted her focus to look instead at the plants and herbs that are used in these foods, and for traditional Chinese medicine. She is busy in her studio space creating sculptures and sketches of 90 plants, one for each day of winter.

There is a local artist in residence, too. Bill Cravis is an Assistant Professor of Fine Arts who has been on staff at Central Oregon Community College for the past five years. He has been attending the Open Studios since moving to Central Oregon and views the events as a bright spot in his annual calendar.

"This is contemporary art by living artists. Not art still left in the 20th century," he said. The month here is giving him concentrated time to prepare for an upcoming exhibition in May.

"I can't teach full-time and spend time on my own work."

In addition to these three artists, February's residents include Eroyn Franklin from Seattle, working in comics and illustration; Tessa Hulls of Port Townsend, Washington who is a multidisciplinary artist, writer, and adventurer; plus two more Portland residents: graphic designer Ryan Sullivan and essayist Jessica Yen.

The Open Studios event begins at 1 p.m. (doors at 12:30 p.m. for snacks and coffee), gathering around the large fireplace in library of the Hearth Building at Caldera. Each of the artists in residence will take a turn to offer the attendees a glimpse into the weeks they have spent isolated in the beautiful mix of mountains, woods and water surrounding the Caldera property. The afternoon will progress in a promenade style moving within the spaces of the larger building and the individual studio spaces. Time for questions and reflection is built into a flowing and fluid experience that will showcase contemporary art in new ways.

The February Open Studios event is free and open to all ages. Caldera also announces an upcoming program with one of the March Artists in Residency, Leora Fridman, in partnership with the Deschutes Public Library. Leora will offer a workshop on devotional writing on Saturday, March 17, at noon at the Sisters Library. The final Open Studios event of 2018 will take place Saturday, March 24 with the next roster of seven artists, writers and performers. Caldera is located 16 miles west of Sisters off Highway 20 at 31500 Blue Lake Dr. Turn left on SW Suttle Lake Loop, and follow signs to Caldera and the Hearth

Building.









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