My time at Elsewhere was really special: waking up to snow-capped mountains every day, living and working in my secluded little cottage in the lush garden, getting to know the very sweet community of Paonia, learning to chop wood for the fire, catching up and cooking weekly dinners with the other artists, and visiting the nearby hot springs and canyons. One of the other artists used the term “dreamy” to describe Paonia, and I think that just about sums it up!
I didn’t have a car, but found plenty of beautiful and inspiring views on my daily walks
Time and space were the biggest draw cards for me in deciding to take part in my first international Artist Residency, but the welcoming community and gorgeous surroundings are what made my time at Elsewhere so unique and inspiring. Coming all the way from Australia, I was really blown away by how friendly people were, and how welcome I was made to feel. We were invited to house parties, community events, art openings, day trips, you name it!
At heart, I’m a busy, city girl - used to being under the pump and constantly working to immediate deadlines. While it took me a week or two to adjust to the slow life, it was so worth it! Having this kind of open time was a luxury I’ve never had, and I had never realized how much “being busy” has dictated the way that I create. That’s not to say I wasn’t productive - I had time to develop all of the projects I had planned to work on - but, having this kind of time and space forced me to explore and create in entirely new ways. It was the catalyst that led to new musical aesthetics and ideas that I am really excited to continue exploring.
If you need a cuddle, or some “help” with your work, Tomatoes the Elsewhere cat is always obliging.
Paonia has a really interesting mining history - you’ll hear the toot of a single coal train still running through the town most nights. It was fascinating to learn more about the history of the area at the local library, and through meeting a combination of “old-timers” and newly transplanted “creatives.” In particular, Carolina, Yuri and Henry were really helpful - introducing me to locals, and helping me find people to chat to for my artistic research. Paonia is going through a period of change - there are organic farmers, generations of ranchers, musicians and artists, mining families, a super active creative community and, at one point, the highest concentration of churches per capita in the world!
Another afternoon walk, another view up one of the Mesas The single coal train line runs right through the middle of town
All in all, my time at Elsewhere was everything that I hoped it would be. Paonia is small, but unique and filled with an active and engaged community. It was an entirely relaxed experience, and yet… I managed to complete a number of new projects, develop entirely new ideas, catch up on admin, practice, research, and make a bunch of beautiful new friends. I feel really lucky to have spent such a beautiful month at Elsewhere, and could have easily extended my stay!