Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center

Integrating the Arts and Natural Sciences

2016 Alumni

Ilze Aviks
Fabric Artist, Painter, Photographer,
One Week Residency, Scholarship Awarded by Open Shutter Gallery

“I have visited Willowtail in summer-what glorious gardens and so many trees! Paths are lined with found objects ,bowling balls and upended machinery.  But to be there in WINTER!!!! Willowtail deep in snow, the lake frozen, except for the aerated circles for ducks to find space to swim.  The bare bones of trees.  Abundant birds.

“The studio warm and light filled… a perfect place to spend days experimenting and thinking. Just yards away from a cozy bungalow stocked with fruit, coffee, eggs, a loaf of homemade bread and jam.  Facing the lake. Ahhh. Such isolation and solitude is difficult to arrange in one’s “real life.”  I was profoundly grateful to take my work to a place of contemplation and open-ended days.  And, there were walks with Beau, the resident protector, to round it all out.”

David Holub
Writer, journalist, playwright,
One Week Residency, [beginning April 10, 2016] Scholarship Awarded by Durango Arts Center

“My Willowtail experience — from conceiving a proposal to the actual residency to executing and realizing my project — was the catalyst for so many creative endeavors that did not exist nor would have been possible otherwise.”
David Holub


David, former Arts and Entertainment Editor at the Durango Herald and currently Editor of the new magazine weekly magazine, DGO. came to write a piece on bird watching with his father.  He wrote a five act one person play in collaboration with Sarah Syverson.  The dress rehearsal was in the Treehouse Gallery with many of David’s friends who are actors, musicians acrobats, writers and comedians. The play was then performed to a sold out audience at Durango Art center and the Sunshine Theatre in Cortez.

“David’s performance at Durango Art Center was fantastic! We raised over $570 toward a future residency.  I think it also encouraged other artists to apply for this program and the partnership between Willowtail and DAC.”
Cristie Scott, Executive Director, DAC.

Dan Groth, Collage Artist, Painter
One Week Residency Scholarship Awarded by Durango Arts Center

“My residency at Willowtail was a transformative experience, where I was able to focus all my attention on art and the creative process.  The solitude I experienced in the wonderful cabin, as well as the lovely natural surroundings allowed me to explore many sides of my artistic journey.  Some of the experiences and personal revelations I had at Willowtail will reverberate with me for years.

Kim Russell, Painter, Teacher at Mancos Public Schools
Awarded One Week Residency through Durango art Center

Dan and Crystal Hartman Hanging a Show at Durango Art Center.

Many of the residents who are supported by Durango Art Center show their work in the lobby for a month during the larger exhibitions in the main room. It is another chance for them to show their work without mounting a full show. These “mini-shows”  also demonstrate another way that DAC supports its local artists through residencies at Willowtail.

In September of 2017, Willowtail will present a show in the main exhibition room of artists who have done residencies at Willowtail since 2014. Stay tuned for more news on this as the time approaches.

Judy Richardson, Sculptor from NYC,
Two Week Residency Scholarship sponsored by Winifred Johnson Clive Foundation

Judy came to Willowtail as an extremely experienced, energetic and knowledgeable professional artist. As an already recognized sculptor, opera set designer, painter and teacher with boundless processes at her disposal. She was also very generous during her time here to teach a wonderful class at Mancos Library for children and gave a spectacular, successful presentation another evening.  This was held in the beautiful Hanger outside Mancos owned by Tom Buffaloe. Many adults and children attended this presentation and were thrilled to share a glimpse into the life and work of this very established, talented and accessible women.

During studio visits with local community members, she eloquently and passionately spoke of the importance of maintaining the action and process of a piece, to keep it moving, without overworking the finished “product or work of art”. She stressed the life-source the process itself presents.

“I had expectations about my two week residency at Willowtail. I love the Southwest and looked forward to drawing, painting, and hiking in the high desert and canyon country.
When I got there I found a property in the hills with hand-built houses and a variety of gardens. My house was an old log cabin filled with antique furniture and every amenity I could have hoped for. The proprietress, Peggy Cloy, is effusive, helpful, and generous, always friendly and available. My studio was open, light-filled, and stocked with materials for my use. The property included a barn, garden house, and field house, all with lots of re-used materials and objects for my perusal. My time at Willowtail was a lot busier than I imagined, mainly because the surrounding area is so spectacular and filled with wonders, I felt an urgency to see as much as possible in the time I had.
The value of the residency to me is having the time to absorb the colors, textures, images and feeling of the place to reflect in drawings and sculptures, and to take with me for my work to come.”

Carol Meckling
3 Dimensional Mixed Media and Painting
One Week Residency awarded by Durango Art Center

“This was my first residency.The anticipation included “What if I don’t make good use of my time? What can I accomplish in a week?” However, the time immediately turned into a prolific, creative and exciting time.I already knew Willowtail was a special place, but I did not expect my work to grow and expand so quickly and easily. I still do not know exactly why this happens at Willowtail. The beautiful land? The energetic makeup of the earth it sits on? The nurturing hosts? The accumulation of creative energy collected over the years? A container is created for artists to create in ways they have not done before. One is filled with unimaginable creative freedom and energy to work.”

Suze Woolf, Seattle, WA. Plein Air Painter, Sculptor, Mountaineer, Scientist

Installation view  of Twelve watercolors on torn paper.  Trees are all from twelve national forest and national park burns

Epoxy resin and laser cut wood. from Lingua Larvae [Language of the Grubs] Series, inside book view

Laser cut wood , Max Block photograph, pyrography on wooden beads, linen thread, steel wire. Inside book view from Insect Killed pine beetle bored bark Series

Suze with charred trees at installation.

Kit Frost, Durango CO. Photographer

Whether capturing still images, recording time-lapse and video sequences or chasing the light at our National Parks, Kit Frost’s photography is emboldened by grand and intimate landscapes. Kit’s preferred work method is to explore landscapes over an extended period of time in order to capture the essence of each location throughout the day and into the night. Often found working with traditional film, digital and smart phones, Kit’s style is to capture the ever-changing and elusive light in front of her cameras, and her belief is that the best images are not created by the camera but by the passion and vision.

Ann Salviazul, Durango CO. Visual Artist

Awarded by Durango Arts Center