Playa has invited ten individuals to creatively engage with the theme “Change dynamics in the northern Great Basin.”
During the two-week residency in August, participants will respond, through their individual disciplines, to the lands and landscapes of Oregon’s Great Basin as a place of change. This engagement may include the past, present, or future of any of the region’s communities: human, animal, plant, water, or mineral.
The theme may be approached through investigation, inquiry, or expression and may be explored through artistic, scientific, interactive, activist, or contemplative means. This focused residency is a first for Playa and was curated by Douglas Beauchamp, Playa’s Executive Director.
Sue Arbuthnot is an independent filmmaker with an MFA in Film from Columbia University, NY, and a BFA in Sculpture from Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland. Her company, Hare in the Gate Productions, LLC, with partner Richard Wilhelm, produces independent documentaries, multi-media interpretive exhibits, and photography. Their films have aired on PBS and have screened internationally. Sue’s work explores themes of regional identity and historic preservation, with emerging essays on place, time, and culture in the High Desert. Sue teaches at the Northwest Film Center and is a Board Member of the Portland Chapter of Women in Film. hareinthegate.com amberwavesmovie.com
Bob Benson, a member of the Tnsungwe Tribe of Trinity and Humboldt counties, and elected to the Elders Council in 1998, is Professor Emeritus of Art at College of the Redwoods, where he taught from 1973 to 2007. He will curate “ONE RIVER, ONE HOME” January, 2013, at the Morris Graves Museum in Eureka focusing on the work of Native American Artists working in the Klamath River watershed. Benson’s sculptural forms use redwood, alder and fir, often combined with paint and stains. Known as an innovative watercolor painter, in his new work he has begun to use natural materials such as alder bark dye.
Melanie Bishop has an MFA in Fiction, and has published fiction and nonfiction in Glimmer Train, Georgetown Review, Greensboro Review, Florida Review, Valley Guide, Hospice Magazine, Puerto del Sol, The American and Family Circle. Melanie has taught creative writing for twenty-one years at Prescott College in Arizona, where she is also founder and fiction/non- fiction editor of Alligator Juniper, the college’s award-winning, national literary magazine. Currently she is marketing two books: Home for Wayward Girls, a short story cycle, and My So-Called Ruined Life, a young adult novel. Some Glad Morning, a book-length memoir, is forthcoming in 2012, on Outpost 19. www.prescott.edu
Melissa Bob, a citizen of the Lummi Nation in Bellingham, WA, now resides in Sitka, AK. She has extensive experience in the fields of printmaking, Native art and tribal governance. She obtained a Master of Public Administration in Tribal Governance degree from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA, where she also received a Bachelor of Arts in indigenous art history and printmaking. As an undergraduate she worked closely with artist Joe Feddersen. Melissa’s prints have been exhibited nationally and internationally. Her prints are included in the collections of the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian; Missoula Art Museum; Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas.
Becky Evans is a land based artist. For her 2010 exhibit, she retraced the paths in “The Klamath Knot,” David Rains Wallace’s classic exploration of this area’s complex rocks, plants and watersheds. Her research took her to the Kalmiopsis Wilderness, Marble Mountains, Mount Shasta, the Smith River botanical areas, the Scott, Salmon, Trinity and Mad rivers. This year, she will be in the Eastern Sierra, working on her latest project that explores issues of “Water and Power” at Pyramid, Mono and Owens Lakes and the edge of the Great Basin in that region. Then, she will follow the Los Angeles Aqueduct from the Owens Valley to “The Cascades”. http://www.beckyevans.com/
Kay Oring has lived in the Great Basin 21 years. Oring has an eclectic background with a BS in home economics education, U. ID; MS in nutrition and biochemistry, U. OK; and Ph.D in educational evaluation, U. MN. She has taught in high school and university (U. ND and U. NV School of Medicine); been a nutrition consultant; and is a Retired Registered Dietitian. She coordinated a volunteer elementary school art appreciation program for eight years. She has written for the J. Am. Dietetic Assoc. Since retirement, Oring has worked on creative non-fiction, historical novel and memoir. Currently she is writing a book on her great grandparents settlement in Wisconsin.
Lew Oring is an ornithologist fascinated by the variable strategies employed by male and female birds to acquire mates and rear offspring. My work across North America, northern Europe and Australia resulted in more than 100 scientific papers primarily dealing with shorebirds and polyandry (i.e., females have multiple mates). My recent work in the Great Basin too has emphasized shorebirds, mostly asking questions of space use. Recently I have focused on community education. I hope to explore how Sage Grouse, a Great Basin species under severe decline, can be a window to public environmental awareness.
Geoff Smith is an Assistant Professor and Executive Director of the Great Basin Paleoindian Research Unit, Department of Anthropology, University of Nevada, Reno. He graduated with his PhD from the University of Wyoming in 2010 and has been focusing on the first inhabitants of the northwestern Great Basin for almost a decade. Geoff has authored more than a dozen articles about the lifeways of early groups in the region, many of which discuss how and why prehistoric populations moved across the landscape. His proudest accomplishment is his 18-month-old son, Gavin, who he is raising together with his beautiful wife, Linsie. http://www.unr.edu/anthropology/people/faculty/geoffrey-m-smith
Pepper Trail is an Ashland naturalist, writer and poet. He works as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and is the author of over 25 papers on bird behavior and conservation. Trail is a regular essayist for Jefferson Public Radio and for High Country News, and his poetry has been published in many journals, including Open Spaces, Cirque, Borderlands, Atlanta Review, and Windfall. In 2009, he published Shifting Patterns: Meditations on Climate Change in Oregon’s Rogue Valley, a collection of essays and poems, with photographs by Jim Chamberlain. His writing combines a scientist’s insights with deeply personal meditations on memory, mortality, and the human place in the natural world. www.peppertrail.net
Richard Wilhelm is a Photographer and Filmmaker with an MFA and BFA in Visual Design from the University of Oregon. Richard’s photography has been exhibited in galleries and is in collections throughout the US. His company, Hare in the Gate Productions, LLC, with Sue Arbuthnot, produces documentaries, which have shown on PBS and internationally. He also designs multi-media interpretive exhibits. He has taught photography at the UofO, Central Oregon Community College, and Elderhostel. Richard’s recent photo-based work explores native plant images derived from the ethnobotanically rich High Desert region of Eastern Oregon, exploring the balance between cultural utility and aesthetic appreciation of plants. hareinthegate.com amberwavesmovie.com botanicaprints.net infinityboxpress.com