Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center

Integrating the Arts and Natural Sciences

Annie Brooks

Annie Brooks

Annie Brooks
Visual Artist/Writer
2020 New Face Productions Scholarship

“I was given this residency during a time that I was feeling particularly sure that my work was unimportant, and that my personal projects were even more unimportant. The timing of my stay at Willowtail was uncannily perfect. 

This has been a very grown up year for many of us, but Willowtail has a personality that pairs perfectly with the childlikeness of making things. 

I felt heartily welcomed, not only by Peggy & Lee, but by the warm sunrises, the cattails, and the junipers. There’s a nurturing lightness, a joy and an ease here, and I felt that come through in my work. My hours spent in the studio felt both meaningful and fun. I was stalled out on this project for two years, and when I got here, the energy finally came. I painted three times as much as I expected to and still had the time to wander, to meditate, to read, to play the guitar, to cook, to stretch, to lay in a field at sunset, to stargaze, to take long baths and to drink questionable amounts of tea every day. Time fell away. Vanity fell away. All concern fell away and I was delighted to spend time with my kid self; playing in the woods, drawing pictures, and laughing at ducks. I didn’t have to be an artist. I could just be an Annie that likes to make art.  To be able to spend an entire week like that is something really special.  

Peggy and Lee gave me complete freedom. There was no pressure to do one thing or another, to impress, or to fit a description. Here, there’s only space and freedom. They have created something meaningful on this land that they so soulfully steward, and it was an honor to get to live and play in that for a week.

I’m walking away from this residency feeling like my art is worth making. That is priceless. “

I would suggest, with gusto, to any maker of any kind, to come experience a residency here. Whether you make paintings, potions, money, muffins, kids, choruses, books, bracelets, muscles, or mistakes…come! You’ll be so happy you did.