William Chappell

Elsewhere was my first artist residency. It was the first time I had ever gone somewhere and feel able to introduce myself as an artist. Now that I'm away, I miss it. I am back in my regular life. I kind of screwed myself financially. Other people, who are similar to me should be smart about this. As artists it is one of the toughest things we have to face, how to justify our art in the world, how to balance our finances. One of the most common things a creative person will hear from friends, family and the media is that it is difficult to make a living on your art and creativity alone. That you need a job to make money, to pay bills, etc. As a diabetic this is even more of a difficult situation for me, having to pay medical bills and maintain health insurance. Living in a country that doesn't provide this as a right for its citizens makes this even more difficult.

I could only afford to stay at Elsewhere for a month, but I was immediately happier there. I felt lucky to be accepted. Being surrounded by artists and art appreciators and like minded people was inspirational. And I will never forget the mountains. Being surrounded by mountains every direction you face is truly awesome. I have never used that word in this context before, but there is no other way to describe it. Looking back on it now, I wish I could have stayed longer. In a way I am sad I ever had to leave.

Leaving Elsewhere, after a two day train ride to Boston and being picked up by my friend there, I have struggled to maintain the routines I fell into. My work feels rejuvenated. I wonder how much time will pass before I need an experience like that again, after having exposed myself to it for the first time.

Besides just rejuvenating my ambition to succeed through creative work I underwent a number of changes to my perspectives and views on life. I discovered more about myself and the things I want. I established goals and figured out ways to achieve them. I thought about things I wouldn't have normally thought of, and discovered a way of living that was entirely my own, and that was helpful to my development and understanding of life and independence. I read a lot. Elsewhere was the perfect place for this. The area was beautiful. The people were friendly. As an emerging artist, it enabled me to place myself within the dream I have long been fantasizing. I feel like Elsewhere is the ideal place for people who have never done this sort of thing before, that they can get a sense of what it is like and what it requires. I had long dreamed of being able to live as an artist, and focus on my work, but Elsewhere was able to turn that into a reality, even if just for a moment, in a way I could never have imagined. My only regret is not being able to stay there for a longer period of time, not immersing myself deeper into the culture of Paonia. I don't know where you will come from, but here, you will make new friends, you will laugh, you will love, you will live, and you will have support by people who will care and appreciate and understand.