I’m sitting outside the public library in Springdale, using the internet and watching the sun set on the big rock walls in front of me. I’m about halfway through my month as the Artist in Residence in Zion National Park.
I took the long way here. I needed to have my own transportation in order to do this residency, and my sister and brother-in-law very generously offered to loan me one of their cars for the month. The car lives in West Glacier, Montana, so what better excuse for a bit of a road trip?
Brandon flew in to join in the drive, and after a few days of hiking in Glacier, we headed south. Along the way we found Craters of the Moon:
I put aside my general refusal to participate in anything resembling a guided tour to see the caves in Great Basin:
Nevada also deserves far more poking around time than we had to give it:
As does Bryce Canyon, though I plan to scoot back over there for a day before I leave.
And then, Zion!
After a few days of initial hiking around and seeing the sights, I sent the carpenter back to Fairbanks and now it’s just been me, my art, and the park. We seem to be getting along pretty well. I have what I would consider luxurious accommodations for a NPS residency (running water! electricity! )There is something to be said for a hot shower after a long day of hiking in the sun.
It’s been a very productive couple of weeks, as well. I’ll write more in a few days and include some images of the pieces I’ve been working on. The landscape here is dizzying in scale and incredibly different from anything I’ve ever tried to make art from before. This is the beauty and challenge of a residency – make yourself uncomfortable, stretch to meet the new place.
Zion is a busy park this time of year. You can hike places where you see people the entire time; I’ve also found trails that are very quiet and little traveled. I have been surprised (though I don’t exactly know why) by what an international destination this is. On some of the more well traveled routes I think more than half of the visitors are from other countries.
Part of what the Park Service in Zion asks from their resident artist is that they engage in a significant way with the park visitors. I’ve been inviting the public in to see what I’m working on through open studios several days a week. I’ll also be giving a talk on the 5th at the Zion Lodge about my time here and my work in general.
The sun is down, I can’t see my keyboard anymore – time to head back up the canyon and get to work.