You have not seen the last of me Paonia! By Stephania Urst

My month at Elsewhere is definitely up there as one of the best months of my life. My month is over and I feel like I either got to Paonia yesterday or a year ago. My time flew by but I also accomplished so much and fit in so many different experiences. Our final show was an amazing evening and connection to the community. We had a great turn out from all walks of life, which was really nice to have that support from the town.

  This is the first in the series of photos that show the deterioration of the mushroom portrait.

This is the first in the series of photos that show the deterioration of the mushroom portrait.

During my month I collected mushrooms from the area and created a sculpture of a portrait of my mom and then documented it as it deteriorated. When I got to Paonia I immediately engaged the community in order to find all the mushrooms. Many people gave me some, told me where they were and gave me lots of information about mushrooms. During the next three weeks while I was observing the mushrooms I also did many other artist practices like painting, life drawing, and wood and glass sculpting. For the final show all those people who helped me collect all of the materials I needed, and more, came to see how the final pieces turned out. I got great feed back and it was incredible to share a part of myself and my practice with the town. I am leaving with amazing new creative ideas and directions to go in.

 All the talented & beautiful residents on a hike in the black canyon

All the talented & beautiful residents on a hike in the black canyon

It is really amazing how in one month I made so many friends, acquaintances and colleagues. I feel a real connection to Paonia because of the projects I created but also because of the friends and bonds I made. All of the people in Paonia that I met are genuine, nurturing, friendly, creative and multidimensional. This month was a much needed breath of fresh air for me creatively and personally. It is going to be hard to go back to Brooklyn after being in such a beautiful and inspiring place but I am going back newly invigorated and going to take a part of Paonia and Elsewhere with me in my heart. I feel so grateful to have had this experience and touched by the love and care from the people I met. Thank you everyone from Elsewhere and Paonia for an amazing month!! I will return!

new friends!


You can see more photos of my sculptures at http://www.stefaniaurist.com and follow my journey as an artist on instagram @stefaniaurist