Ucross Foundation - Highlights of History

1981 Ucross Foundation is incorporated on June 1, 1981, founded by Raymond Plank, the founder of Apache Corporation.
  Ucross presents the first annual Fireworks Extravaganza for the community on July 4th, inaugurating a hugely popular annual event for local families and visitors
1982 Renovations begin of the historic Ranch House and Big Red Barn, built in 1882 as the headquarters of the Pratt & Ferris Cattle Company
  Clear Creek Hunting Preserve opens for pheasant hunting
1983 On July 2, renovations of the Big Red Barn and the Ranch House are celebrated with a dedication ceremony attended by over 1,000 people
  In August, the first four artists-in-residence arrive at Ucross
1984 Big Red Complex placed on National Historic Register
  Wyoming Futures Project, a joint project between Ucross Foundation and the State of Wyoming, is created, dedicated to research, problem solving and constructive change for all sectors of Wyoming
1985 Triple Creek Park, including Roy’s Trail and Mike's Pavilion, are dedicated at a picnic and celebration on July 4, 1985
  The Ucross Foundation Art Gallery opens to the public, featuring an exhibition of 15 Wyoming artists
1988 Burlington Northern Train Depot is moved from Clearmont to Ucross
1990 Ucross Foundation participates in Freedom Lift project, to provide relief assistance to citizens of Romania
1991 Work begins on the renovation of the Depot and construction of the Kocur Writing Retreat
1992 In August, a Dedication Ceremony for the Depot and Kocur takes place
1993 Residency Program expands to accommodate eight individuals
1994 Annie Proulx wins Pulitzer Prize for The Shipping News, written in part at Ucross.  Proulx later serves for several years on the Ucross Board.
1995 Ernest Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award for First Fiction partnership is established
  Lois Nellie Gill Award established through a gift from Annie Proulx, to support female visual artists of exceptional merit
1997 The Terry Lodge log house is built and serves for many years as accommodations for special guests, such as the Ucross Selection Committee
  The first of a series of weekend retreats for students of the Wyoming Girls School takes place at the School House
1998 Planning and capital campaign begin for construction of new Visual Arts studios
1999 A conservation easement is placed on over 12,000 acres of the Ucross Ranch, held by the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
  Holistic resource management begins on the Ucross Ranch, reflecting the Foundation's commitment to land stewardship
  Partnership with the Sundance Institute Theatre Program is initiated
  An opening for the new Apache House takes place in May.  The house is built by Apache Corporation and soon becomes a favorite spot for special guests of Ucross.
2000 Construction begins on new visual arts studios and composer's cabin
  First Sundance Playwrights Retreat at Ucross takes place in February.  Participants include Doug Wright, whose play I Am My Own Wife later wins the 2004 Pulitzer Prize
2001 Opening of new visual arts studios, called the Rock Studios, and first composer's cabin, called Jesse’s Hideout. Visual arts studios are doubled in size to more than 400 square feet.
  The Depot is renovated to include two spacious writer's studios, Marvelous and Marvelous Too.
  The first composer to work in Jesse’s Hideout is Adam Guettel, grandson of Richard Rodgers, who has come with the Sundance Playwrights Retreat to work on a new musical, The Light in the Piazza.
  A research partnership is established between the Ucross Foundation, Apache Corporation, and prominent scientists from Stanford University, Columbia University and the University of Wyoming to study the impact of coalbed methane development in the Powder River Basin
2002 A partnership is established with the Herb Alpert Foundation’s Alpert Award in the Arts(administrated by CalArts), in support of mid-career composers and visual artists
2003 In the Big Red Barn Loft, a long-range planning meeting takes place for the Fund for Teachers, a nonprofit also started by Raymond Plank that supports K-12 teachers with sabbatical grants
  Wild Spaces, Working Places, the first of two art exhibitions cosponsored by Ucross and the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, takes place
2004 The Ucross corner is transformed – After many years of effort, the corner junkyard is cleaned up this spring, closing a prolonged chapter in the Foundation's history and opening a new chapter in its landscape goals.  The enormous project involves the cleanup of two square acres filled with salvage steel, car bodies, buses and approximately 8,500 tires.
  Upon completion of the cleanup, the corner is planted with wildflowers and native grasses.
  Working in the Kocur Retreat, Elizabeth Gilbert writes draft of Eat, Pray, Love, which goes on to become an international bestseller
  Kawai 6’1” grand piano is added to the Barn Loft for public performances and use by Ucross Resident Composers and collaborations in the performing arts
2005 Adam Guettel wins a Tony Award for Best Musical Score for The Light in the Piazza.  (The play is nominated for 11 Tony Awards and wins six.)  Ucross celebrates with an alumni reception at Lincoln Center's Kaplan Penthouse. 
  American Composer's Forum awards a Continental Harmony grant to Ucross Foundation and composer Philip Aaberg
2006 In January, the Ucross Ranch is leased to the Apache Foundation, a nonprofit that seeks to improve the world through scientific study, the application of environmentally sound land use planning principles, and tree planting as a method of carbon sequestration.  Apache Foundation has a goal of planting a million trees worldwide – including 100,000 in Ucross.
  In February, Ucross receives Wyoming Governor’s Arts Award for Excellence in the Arts
  In March, Ucross presents a public symposium on coalbed methane development in connection with a photography exhibition The New Gold Rush: Images of Coalbed Methane, which tours throughout Wyoming and Montana
  In the spring, blue flax blooms at the site of the former junkyard!
  In September, the world premiere of Philip Aaberg's Pop 25, composed in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ucross Foundation through support from the American Composer's Forum, takes place at Sheridan's WYO Theater
 2007 Yamaha baby grand piano is added to Jesse's Hideout
  Ucross begins a collaboration begins with the University of Wyoming's MFA Program in Creative Writing 
  Construction begins on a second composer's studio
  Birds of Ucross, an exhibition of photographs by Ernesto Scott, opens in the Art Gallery
 2008 In February, Jesse's Hideout Two opens for residents.  The facility has living space and studio space, and includes a Yamaha grand piano
  Apache Foundation hosts students from Yale School of Forestry at Ucross to explore the creation of a computer model of the ranch with an inventory of soil types, plant and animal species and water resources
  With the support of Raymond Plank, Ucross works toward reducing its greenhouse gas footprint through the installation of two GARN units to heat the Big Red Barn and Ranch House, a switch from propane gas to carbon neutral, renewable wood fuel
  Ucross hosts The Great Big Piano Trio (born in Ucross in 2005) for performances at UC Denver and Sheridan's WYO Theater
  Plans begin for a partnership with Houston's Alley Theatre
  Nearly 6,000 trees and shrubs planted on the Ucross Ranch
 2009 Ucross hosts a public reception at the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, attended by numerous artists and managers of cultural organizations.
 2010 Elizabeth Gilbert, bestselling author of Eat Pray Love, gives a benefit reading for Ucross at Houston’s Alley Theatre to a full house of 800 people
  Collaboration begins with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s Elaine Lebenbom Award – the first Lebenbom Award winner to receive a Ucross residency is Du Yun, whose music will be performed by the DSO in Fall 2011
  The winner of the first Aura Estrada Prize, writer Susana Iglesias Garcia of Mexico City, comes to Ucross for a one-month residency
  The Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper, Wyoming, opens a retrospective exhibition of Ucross visual artists from 1983-2010
  Fund for Teachers hosts its first Teacher’s Institute at Ucross in July
  Planning begins for a new community park to be created at Ucross, at the site of a former salvage yard. Phase One includes the construction of a small nondenominational stone chapel located in the park.
 2011 Ucross hosts a reception in Santa Fe, New Mexico, at the home of Founder Raymond Plank, for artists and others in the community with an interest in arts and conservation
  Arbor Day Foundation names Raymond Plank and Ucross Foundation as recipients of the prestigious Good Steward Award, presented at a ceremony at the Arbor Day Foundation in Nebraska City, Nebraska, on National Arbor Day, April 30
  Second Annual Fund for Teachers Institute takes place during July
  Dedication for the new chapel in the Park at Ucross is planned for July
  Discussions begin to create a library/museum in the new park, honoring the lifelong work of Raymond Plank in areas including education, land stewardship, energy, historic preservation, business, the arts and international affairs
2012
Ucross hosts a reception in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for Ucross Foundation board
members, Santa Fe artists and other members of the cultural community at the 
home of Raymond Plank
 
The newly formed Marion Fellowship Circle meets at Ucross, in support of a “creative journey” for artists to travel to five organizations supported by board member Jesse Marion and his wife Cathy: the Chautauqua Institution, the Alberta College of Art & Design, Ucross Foundation, the Alley Theatre, and Springboard Schools in Egypt. SUNY Fredonia (Cathy Marion’s alma mater) serves at the administrative hub for the Marion Fellowship Circle.
  Raymond Plank’s memoir, A Small Difference, is published.
  An opening ceremony for the Raymond Plank Creative Center takes place on April 28, along with a celebration of Raymond Plank’s 90th birthday (May 29) attended by nearly 200 people
  Ucross enters a new partnership with Pew Fellowships in the Arts and the Alliance of Artist Communities, to support one Pew Fellow (from Philadelphia) annually with a residency at Ucross Foundation, part of a national consortium that also includes the Banff Centre for the Arts, Headlands Center for the Arts, the 18th Street Arts Center and the MacDowell Colony.
  The John P. Ellbogen Foundation holds a Wyoming Education Summit at Ucross
  Ucross Foundation supports the Poetry Award of the High Plains Book Awards, presented at the Yellowstone Art Museum in Billings, Montana
  The Land Series of the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, Colorado, presents an evening with Raymond Plank, moderated by Ucross Fellow Laura Pritchett, on December 6. A reception for over 100 of Plank’s colleagues, friends, family and Ucross Fellows takes place at the Oxford Hotel to kick off the Tattered Cover event. A Small Difference appears on the Denver Post bestseller list the following week.
  Ucross neighbor and bestselling author Craig Johnson gives a Christmas reading at the Raymond Plank Creative Center in December
 2013 Ucross begins a new partnership with The Ford Family Foundation of Roseburg, OR, to support Oregon artists with residencies at Ucross Foundation; the partnership also includes the Djerassi colony in Woodside, California
  Multi-year program on the Ucross ranch begins with the Yale University School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, named the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative
   Fund for Teachers hosts a retreat
  Group residencies for Arts in Healthcare and the University of New Mexico Land Arts of the American West take place
  Ucross collaborates with the Land Series of the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, to present a reading by Eric Rutkow, author of American Canopy, co-hosted with the Colorado Yale Association.
  Wyoming State Treasurer’s Investment Conference takes place at Big Red
  The University of Wyoming’s Haub School for the Environment and Natural Resources holds a board meeting at the Raymond Plank Creative Center
  Raymond Plank gives a talk at the Cactus Club in Denver about his memoir A Small Difference, hosted by the Colorado Yale Association
  A board reception for the cultural community is held in Raymond Plank’s home in Santa Fe, New Mexico
  A community Christmas celebration takes place at the Ucross Park and Raymond Plank Creative Center on December 14; Craig Johnson gives a Christmas reading at the Center on December 22
2014 15th Annual Sundance Institute Playwrights Retreat at Ucross Foundation takes place
  Preparations begin for a collaborative project with The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming and the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, focused on Wyoming grasslands
  Ucross board members gather at Denver’s Oxford Hotel for a brainstorm meeting focused on broadening support for the residency program
  Founder Raymond Plank is honored as Entrepreneur of the Year at the Houston Technology Center
  Members of the Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative (through Yale University) arrive in Ucross for a second year of research
  Ucross co-hosts a conference with the Alliance for Historic Wyoming, and holds an Open Studios Day for the community on June 7
  The musical A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, with music by Steven Lutvak and book by Robert Freedman, wins the Tony Award for Best Musical. Lutvak and Freedman worked on the musical at Ucross during several residencies, first coming through the Sundance Institute Playwright’s Retreat at Ucross Foundation.
  Nine faculty in the arts & sciences from the University of Wyoming come for a group retreat, followed by a public program, “Saturday University,” in a presentation called The Ucross Pollination Experiment. The event is co-hosted with the University of Wyoming, the Wyoming Humanities council, and Sheridan College.
  University of New Mexico Lands Arts of the American West group spends time at Ucross in preparation for a collaborative exhibition in 2015
  New support comes to Ucross from the Laura Jane Musser Fund in Minnesota, through its Rural Arts Initiative, and from the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Foundation
  The Wyoming State Treasurer’s Investment Conference takes place at Big Red
  A greenhouse is constructed for growing vegetables and flowers for the artists-in-residence
  Wyoming Voices: Reflections on the Natural World and Our Place In It, an afternoon of readings, takes place at Big Red, co-presented with the University of Wyoming and the Wyoming Outdoor Council
  Raymond Plank founds a new nonprofit organization, the Plank Stewardship Initiative, focused on long-term rangeland sustainability, which begins presenting ranch practicums at the Raymond Plank Creative Center
  The 2nd Annual Ucross Community Christmas Celebration takes place at the Ucross Park and the Raymond Plank Creative Center on December 13
 2015 Ucross hosts a reception in Santa Fe at the home of Natalie FitzGerald, founder of the Women’s International Study Center
  The documentary The Ucross Experiment, featuring the arts & science collaboration, has its world premiere at the Gryphon Theatre in Laramie
  Under the guidance of Audubon Rockies, Ucross Foundation’s ranch is designated an Important Bird Area by the local chapter Bighorn Audubon
  Ucross presents a Grasslands Celebration weekend, including a screening of The Ucross Experiment at the Mars Black Box Theater at the WYO in Sheridan on May 29, and a Grasslands Symposium, The Art and Science of Grasslands,” at Ucross on May 30
  Ucross High Plains Stewardship Initiative members spend time at Ucross in a third year of research
  The Ucross Experiment is screened in Jackson Hole at the Pink Garter Theatre 
  A United States Congressional tour visits Ucross on August 12
  The renovation of the composer’s cabin, Jesse’s Hideout, with the addition of a bedroom, is completed, increasing the residency program’s capacity from nine to ten artists-in-residence at one time.
  Wyoming State Treasurer’s Investment conference takes place at Big Red
  A public reception is co-hosted with the Wyoming Arts Alliance in the Art Gallery, with a land art talk by board member Bill Gilbert, and music by composer-in-residence Emy Phelps
  The 3rd Annual Community Christmas Celebration takes place at Ucross on December 12 
2016 Yale University’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies presents Ucross: A Portrait in Place, featuring the collaborative work of six land artists and one scientist