LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT & EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF UCROSS
April 1, 2020
On ordinary days, Ucross is a place of peace and profound quiet, but we haven’t seen any ordinary days in a long time. On March 18, we said farewell to a wonderful group of artists, whose residencies were cut short because of the global health emergency. Soon after their departure, Ucross temporarily closed its residency program and art gallery to stay safe and adhere to social distancing guidance.
All of this has created a truly radical silence on our 20,000-acre ranch, or at least it did until recently, when the birds began to return. The cacophony of sound from Sandhill cranes, Canada geese, Red-winged Blackbirds, and my spring favorite, the Western Meadowlark, has provided a welcome solace during these difficult weeks. As Ucross Fellow Nelleke Beltjens wrote to us from The Netherlands,“The sun is out and when I hear the birds sing I am reminded that also this will pass.”
During this period of intentional hibernation, we want to stay in touch with you, we want to hear about your art, and we want to find other ways to champion the invaluable work of Ucross artists. Please stay tuned to our website, Facebook page, and Instagram feed, so that we can connect with you through music, writing, the visual arts, and dance – all of the things that keep our human spirits alive and thriving.
On that note, please enjoy this beautiful piece of music written by composer Gene Back during the 2020 Sundance Institute Residency at Ucross in early February. Gene tells us that Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Op. 1 (subtitled What I Meant to Say Is) is the first instrumental piece he has ever composed. (Click onwww.genebackmusic.com/ucross and enter the password “thehillsarealive” for seven minutes of musical bliss.) We look forward to hearing much more from Gene!
Ucross is proud to be designated an Important Bird Area by Audubon – and we know it to be an Important Artist Area, too. We exist to support artists, writers, composers, and choreographers with the rare gift of uninterrupted time for creative work.
We miss seeing all of you – hiking in the hills, browsing the library, filling the School House with laughter, and sharing a wonderful meal at day’s end. We look forward to the day when, like the birds of Ucross, our residency program, art gallery, and the efforts of artists everywhere will spring to public life again with joyous energy. Until we are together again, please know that Ucross continues to cherish artists and is waiting for your return.
With love and great respect,
Photo by J. Canterbury
Ucross Announces Temporary Closure in Response to COVID-19
Ucross, Wyoming (March 16, 2020) — Today, Ucross announced that it will temporarily close in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The closure will affect current artists in residence, as well as those scheduled for residencies during the spring. Ucross will reopen as soon as it is deemed safe to resume operations, and it will stay in close contact with all artists to keep them updated on when the residency program may resume. The Ucross Art Gallery will also be closed to the public during this time, and all public meetings at Ucross will be postponed.
“While there have only been three reported COVID cases in Wyoming and certainly none at Ucross (population 25), out of an abundance of caution, we’ve elected to suspend our residency and public programming,” said Sharon Dynak, Ucross’s President and Executive Director. “It is difficult to plan for the future in the face of such extreme uncertainty and ambiguity, but the health and safety of our fellows, staff, their families, and the community is our top priority. As a result, we have made the difficult, necessary decision to temporarily close our doors to slow potential transmission.”
Ucross is assisting current residents with early departure, and the staff will work with all artists affected by the closure to reschedule their residencies at a future time. Ucross will continue to monitor developments regarding the outbreak and guidance from local and state officials in the coming weeks. As the situation evolves, new information or any adjustment to the closure will be shared with our community through email and social media, and all updates will be posted on our website at ucross.org.
Thank you for your patience.