Elsewhere Studios Project, INSPIRED: Art at Work, Awarded $25,000 Arts in Society Grant

Elsewhere Studios, located in Paonia, CO, has been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Arts in Society Program, a collaboration between Bonfils-Stanton Foundation, Colorado Creative Industries, and Hemera Foundation in partnership with RedLine Contemporary Art Center. Elsewhere was chosen as one of 21 recipients from a field of over 265 applicants. Grantees were announced April 20, 2017 at RedLine’s EPIC Gala

Grant awardees were selected based on the applicant’s ability to illustrate artistic excellence, broaden the understanding of the role arts play in society, demonstrate cross-sector work, exhibit cultural relevancy, foster community engagement, and present opportunities for shared learning.

Gary Steuer of the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation explains:

“This initiative responds to the growing desire of artists and arts organizations to use their creativity and talents to make a difference in their community. At the same time those engaged in issues like education, poverty, public safety and health increasingly are looking to the arts as a partner in their work. We embrace this opportunity to support this work in our community."

“This program is a great model for how Denver’s funding and philanthropic community can respond and financially support the growing number of artists and organizations that do not fit into one sector but rather are impacting social change through the excellent intersection of arts and society,” said RedLine Executive Director,  Louise Martorano.

Elsewhere Studios is an artist residency program in western CO, hosting artists from around the world to have time and space to focus on their work.  Elsewhere’s project, INSPIRED: Art at Work, will bring artists to Paonia in summer 2018 for a two-month residency. Working closely with local artists, five local partner organizations (Citizens for a Healthy Community, Western Colorado Conservation Center, Farm and Food Alliance, Solar Energy International, and the North Fork Valley Creative Coalition), scientists, and policy makers, they will create socially-engaged artworks that address preservation of culture, environment, and values under threat by fracking, development, and loss of jobs. These collaborations and a final symposium are designed to broadly engage the community and promote dialog about concerns vital to the future of this rural area.

Through a series of meetings/discussions, the artists and community members will define a particular issue or set of issues (such as, the impact of fracking, Gunnison River health, air quality, changing energy resources, the loss of coal mining jobs, changing cultural norms, etc.) Using creative practices and community engagement they will target and address selected environmental, cultural, social, and economic issues vital to preserving the natural world and the quality of life and sense of place in the North Fork Valley. Although these works will address a unique geographical and cultural landscape, the issues are universal with national and international pertinence.

The project will culminate in a symposium featuring the artists and local and national speakers. The work produced during the collaboration will be highlighted along with readings, films, music, live art, and tours of the valley to visit art installations, farms, and wineries. The artists will also have the opportunity to speak about their work and engage in public discussions about the ideas and process of making socially-engaged art while they are in-residence at Elsewhere—a great benefit to local artists and community members.