Ucross, WY (May 28, 2020) – Ucross announced today that it was selected to receive a grant from the Amazon Literary Partnership to support its program and operations. Ucross is among a list of sixty-six 2020 Amazon Literary Partnership Grant Recipients, collectively awarded a total of more than $1 million. The funds to Ucross will support residencies for two emerging writers from the High Plains or Intermountain West regions.
The Amazon Literary Partnership (ALP) has a goal of helping writers tell their stories and find their readers, empowering writers to create, publish, learn, teach, experiment, and thrive. Since 2009, ALP is committed to uplifting and amplifying the voices of overlooked or marginalized writers by supporting the literary community through grants to writing programs and nonprofit literary organizations including groups like Ucross whose mission is to support artists from all backgrounds at all stages of their careers.
“We’re honored that the Amazon Literary Partnership program recognized Ucross with this support, which will provide emerging writers from our greater region with the gift of time and space to create,” says Sharon Dynak, President and Executive Director of Ucross. “We’re thrilled that ALP has recognized Ucross’s continued commitment to supporting a diversity of voices, and we look forward to welcoming the soon-to-be selected writers to the breathtaking setting of Wyoming’s High Plains.”
In addition to selecting artists from a diverse range of backgrounds, Ucross is committed to supporting artists and writers from the Native American community. The Ucross Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists has supported the work of contemporary Native American artists since 2018. Ucross expanded the Fellowship program to include Native American writers in 2020.
“The Amazon Literary Partnership grants are awarded to innovative groups whose core mission have a deep impact on the lives of writers and the broader literary and publishing community,” said Alexandra Woodworth, Amazon Literary Partnership manager. “We are proud to support all of this year’s ALP grant recipients and applaud their commitment to nurturing a vibrant and diverse literary landscape.”
UCROSS ARTISTS HONORED WITH OVER A DOZEN MAJOR AWARDS THIS SPRING | Prestigious honors include two Pulitzer Prizes and Six Guggenheim Fellowship
UCROSS, WY (May 26, 2020) – In the past three months, Ucross artist alumni have received an unusually high number of high-profile, prestigious honors and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction to Colson Whitehead and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama to Michael R. Jackson. (Jackson’s win for his musical A Strange Loop marked only the tenth time a musical has won in the Drama category in the 102-year history of the Pulitzer Prizes.) Whitehead’s win was also historic, as it marked his second Pulitzer Prize, placing the author in a rare group of two-time winners, including William Faulkner and John Updike.
Six Ucross alumni received Guggenheim Fellowships in a variety of disciplines, including choreography, film/video, drama/performing arts, fine arts, and fiction from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Six drama alumni received Lucille Lortel Award nominations (with one win), and two visual artists were named Pollock-Krasner grant recipients from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. One writer won a prestigious Whiting Award, and the Library of Congress reappointed Joy Harjo to a second term as the United States Poet Laureate. For a full list of award recipients, see below.
“It has been a quiet yet challenging spring everywhere, no less for artists and arts organizations. So it was extremely exciting to see the national awards roll in for Ucross alumni in literature, the visual arts, and the performing arts,” says Sharon Dynak, President and Executive Director of Ucross. “This is important recognition for the artists and it also underscores how meaningful artistic creativity is to the world. The mission of our residency program – located on a 20,000-acre ranch in northeast Wyoming – is to support individual creators with space and time to work. Their time in Ucross bears amazing fruit in future years, and 2020 has been an especially fruitful year so far.”
For nearly 40 years, Ucross has been dedicated to supporting the creation of new work, from a diverse range of artists, working across disciplines at varying stages of their professional careers. The recent prizes, awards, and fellowships are among a long list of Ucross alumni achievements that include 13 Pulitzer Prizes, nine MacArthur “Genius” Awards, seven National Book Awards (including two winners in 2019), eight Tony Awards, 85 Guggenheim Fellowships, two Academy Awards, and many more. These distinguished honors – some of which have been awarded to works created in part at Ucross – serve as a testament to the power of the “time and space” and the High Plains experience that Ucross provides.
Pulitzer Prizes – 2020 Pulitzer Prizes, announced on May 4, were awarded to Michael R. Jackson’s musical A Strange Loop in the Drama category and Colson Whitehead’s novel The Nickel Boys in the Fiction category. Jackson worked on his musical during two separate residencies at Ucross. He also provided a sneak peek to attendees of Ucross’s first New York Gala & Awards Dinner in 2018. In addition, the organization’s first Ucross Spotlight event coincided with the premiere of A Strange Loop at Playwrights Horizons in New York
City. Two additional two Ucross alumni were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize: Ann Patchett for her novel The Dutch House in the Fiction category and Jeanine Tesori (with David Henry Hwang) for Soft Power in the Drama category.
Guggenheim Fellowships – Announced in April, six Ucross alumni were among the 175 scholars, artists, and writers honored with 2020 Guggenheim Fellowships from the John S. Guggenheim Foundation: Moyra Davey (Film-Video), Branden Jacobs-Jenkins (Drama and Performance Art), Alex Ketley (Choreography), Helen Mirra (Fine Arts), Sigrid Nunez (Fiction), and Helen Phillips (Fiction).
Lucille Lortel Awards – Six Ucross alumni were nominated for Lucille Lortel Awards, which recognize off-Broadway artists and productions. One alumnus, Dave Malloy went on to win in the Outstanding Musical category for Octet. Other nominees were: Aziza Barnes for BLKS in the Outstanding Play category; Eisa Davis for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical in The Secret Life Of Bees; Michael Jackson for A Strange Loop and Jeanine Tesori for Soft Power in the Outstanding Musical category; and Matthew Dean Marsh for We’re Only Alive for A Short Amount of Time in the Outstanding Solo Show category.
Ucross alumni have recently received additional honors and grants: visual artists Rhona Bitner and Munson Hunt were awarded Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grants in contemporary art; Ling Ma received a Whiting Award in Fiction for her novel Severance; John Kelly, Sheila Tousey, and Jennifer Kidwell (who plans to come to Ucross soon) were named recipients of the Mabou Mines 2020 “Ruthie” Award named in honor of Ucross alumna Ruth Maleczech; Tanya Barfield was named the winner of the PEN/Laura Pels Theatre Award; Peter Rock was named a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for his novel The Night Swimmers.
Ucross, WY (March 16, 2020) — Today, Ucross announced it will temporarily close in response to the coronavirus crisis. The closure will impact current artists in residence, as well as those scheduled for residencies during the spring. Ucross will reopen as soon as it is deemed safe, and it will stay in close contact with all artists to update them on when the residency program may resume. The Ucross Art Gallery will also be closed to the public during this time and 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.”
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 (ucross.org).
Ucross was founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank and has provided more than 2,200 residencies to some of the world’s most accomplished artists. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers. Located in northeastern Wyoming at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, the artist residency program is situated on a historic 20,000-acre ranch at the confluence of three creeks in Ucross, population 25. Its connection to the land, its vast open spaces, and its view of the contemporary American West have proven to be inspirational and uniquely generative for artists. Residencies are awarded to nearly one hundred artists each year.
Ucross has been home to 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, eight MacArthur “genius” grantees, seven Tony Award winners, nine National Book Award winners, two Academy Award winners, and an Emmy Award winner. Through its residencies, partnerships, and support of emerging artists, it continues to have an impact on the cultural dialogue of the country and the world. Alumni of the program include Billy Porter, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Adam Guettel, and Joy Harjo.
About Ucross Foundation
Located in northeast Wyoming in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross fosters the creative spirit of deeply committed artists and groups by providing uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and the experience of the majestic High Plains, while serving as a responsible steward of its 20,000-acre ranch. Residencies are awarded to nearly one hundred artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers, and two composers.
Since its establishment in 1981, Ucross has provided more than 2,100 residencies to writers, visual artists, and composers, including such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Colson Whitehead, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez, Tayari Jones, Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, National Book Award winners Susan Choi and Sigrid Nunez, recent Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
National partners of Ucross include the Sundance Institute Theatre Program, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Whiting Foundation, the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Alliance of Artist Communities, the Alley Theatre, the Dramatists Guild Foundation, UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance, and the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Novel. In 2020, new collaborations have begun between Ucross and the University of Houston’s Creative Writing Program, and the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University. The Ucross Art Gallery is a significant cultural resource for surrounding communities and beyond. For further information, visit ucross.org.
UCROSS ANNOUNCES NEW EXHIBITION ENTWINED: JENNIFER REIFSNEIDER + MARTHA TUTTLE TO OPEN FEBRUARY 14
Public workshop and reception with the artists to take place Sunday, April 19
UCROSS, WY (February 13, 2020): Ucross is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibition in the Ucross Art Gallery with work by Ucross Fellows Jennifer Reifsneider and Martha Tuttle. Entwined showcases 24 contemporary multidisciplinary works that incorporate various elements including fabric, sculpture, paint, and fiber techniques such as weaving, spinning, crocheting, and knitting. The exhibition opens on February 14, and it will be on view through May 15, 2020. Gallery hours are M – F 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays by appointment.
A workshop and public reception are scheduled for Sunday, April 19 in conjunction with the 2020 Celebrate the Arts festival in Sheridan. The artist-led fiber workshop will take place from 12:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the Raymond Plank Center in Ucross. Materials will be provided. Please RSVP before April 10 by calling 307-737-2291. The opening reception with artists talks will take place from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Ucross Art Gallery. Both the workshop and reception are free and open to the public.
“We are honored to present the work of Jennifer and Martha in our new exhibition, Entwined,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “Their work reflects a depth of multi-faceted engagement with the world, and leads us to find fresh ways to encounter and interpret our complex lives and surroundings.
“Each work in this exhibition tracks a single element from a simple source to tell stories that help us notice ways a material is inextricably contingent on and bound to what we both do and do not see,” writes Yasmeen Siddiqui (a writer, editor, teacher, and Ucross alum) in the exhibition essay. “Reifsneider and Tuttle have made offerings: ways of seeing celestial and earthly phenomena as they permeate our consciousness.”
Jennifer Reifsneider has exhibited her work in more than 70 solo and group exhibitions across the United States, most recently in the Montana Triennial at the Yellowstone Art Museum, the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Center for Craft in America, and the Craft and Folk Art Museum. Her work is in private and public collections, including at the Museum of Modern Art / Franklin Furnace Artist Book Archive and the Yellowstone Art Museum. Reifsneider participated in High Desert Test Sites as part of the artist collective, Constellation Lab. She’s the recipient of an Investing in Artists grant from the Center for Cultural Innovation, and an Artist’s Innovation Award, made possible by the Montana Arts Council, an agency of State Government. She was an artist-in-residence at Ucross in 2000 and 2017. Reifsneider was raised on a working farm in rural southeastern Pennsylvania. She earned her BFA from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1995 and MFA from California State University, Long Beach in 2011. She lives in Missoula, Montana.
Martha Tuttle works between painting and textile. Her fabric-based wall works and sculptural interventions engage with the nuances of form and the hopeful fluidity between states of matter. Recent solo exhibitions include Baccante by the Sea (Geukens and De Vil, Belgium), Dances with Atoms (Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago) and I long and seek after (Jack Tilton Gallery, NYC). She was an artist-in-residence at Ucross in 2016, and has also received residencies from The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program, The Josef Albers Foundation, and The Beinecke Rare Books Library. She received a B.A. from Bard College in 2011, and an M.F.A from the Yale School of Art in 2015. Born in Santa Fe, NM, she now lives and works in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Seven fellows participate in a cross-disciplinary program reimagined for the next wave of storytellers
UCROSS, WY (February 6, 2020): Sundance Institute, a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for independent artists in film, theatre, and media to create and thrive, and Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts, and have announced seven fellows participating in the 21st annual Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross in Wyoming, currently taking place February 3–21, 2020. This year, the retreat was renamed (formerly the Sundance Institute Playwrights & Composers Retreat) to reflect its cross-disciplinary structure.
After more than two decades of success, the Residency will continue to provide the transformative benefits of uninterrupted time for creative work. This year’s participants experience a fresh energy that mirrors the changing landscape of contemporary storytelling – one that is increasingly fluid and cross-genre. Fellows enjoy blocks of solo creative time to create, augmented with organic conversations where they can reflect on process. While Sundance Institute has curated several artists who identify theatre as their primary discipline, for the first time, the group of selected fellows represents a multidisciplinary range of artistic work. As always, the Residency remains dedicated to uninhibited creativity, professional growth and peer mentorship.
“The refreshed format of this year’s Residency is deeply timely,” said Sundance Institute Theatre Program’s interim Director, Christopher Hibma. “We’re grateful for the Ucross team’s collaboration in devising innovative and exciting ways to support artists in responsive and evolving ways, to best reflect how they’re pushing the boundaries of form across disciplines.”
“We are excited about this year’s newly configured Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “Connecting artists of varying disciplines has long been an invaluable part of the Ucross vision. We are honored to support this extraordinary group of artists with the gift of time and space for creative work at our inspiring location on the High Plains of Wyoming.”
The retreat is one of 25 residency Labs the Sundance Institute hosts each year for independent artists in theatre, film, new media, and episodic content. This particular long-tested retreat in Wyoming is made possible through a partnership with Ucross. More than 90 artists have benefitted from the partnership between Ucross and Sundance in the last 20 years, including Billy Porter, Hannah Gadsby, Michael R. Jackson, Charlayne Woodard, Jeanine Tesori, Doug Wright, Annie Baker, Adam Guettel, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, and Tanya Saracho.
The 2020 Sundance Institute Artist Residency at Ucross Foundation fellows are: David Adjmi, Haley Anderson, Gene Back, Aziza Barnes, Charlotte Brathwaite, Karim Douaidy, and Raqi Syed.
Read the full press release
Read the Lab Book
UCROSS TO RECEIVE $30,000 GRANT FROM THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS TO SUPPORT RESIDENCIES FOR NATIVE AMERICAN ARTISTS AND WRITERS
The funds will support three residencies in 2020 and expand Ucross’s fellowship for Native American visual artists to include Native American writers
UCROSS, WY (January 15, 2020): Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts, today announced that it has been awarded $30,000 from the NEA’s Art Works program to support residencies for Native American visual artists and writers.
The grant award, which was funded through the NEA’s Artist Communities program, will allow Ucross to expand its successful fellowships for Native American visual artists, now in its third year, to include Native American writers.
“As Governor and a former board member of the Ucross Foundation, I’d like to congratulate Ucross for securing this funding from the NEA,” said Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon. “It’s well-deserved recognition. I’ve heard over and over from artists whose masterpieces were inspired by their time at Ucross and its historic Wyoming ranch, which has become a leading artist-in-residence program in the country—Ucross is a special place."
According to the National Endowment for the Arts, the Art Works funding category supports projects that focus on public engagement with, and access to, various forms of excellent art across the nation; the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence; learning in the arts at all stages of life; and the integration of the arts into the fabric of community life. Overall, the National Endowment for the Arts has approved 1,187 grants totaling $27.3 million in the first round of fiscal year 2020 funding to support arts projects in every state in the nation, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Through its Artist Communities program, the NEA is committed to providing assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes. Since this funding field was created in 2009, the NEA has granted more than $4.4 million to artist residency programs around the country. This is Ucross’s first NEA Art Works grant award.
“We are honored to be awarded this grant,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We’re especially proud of our work to expand residency opportunities for Native American artists and writers. NEA’s support is a boost of confidence in this initiative, as well as recognition from the NEA that our residency program is exceptional.”
Specifically, the grant funding will support three residencies for Native American writers and/or visual artists in 2020. Each resident will receive uninterrupted time, living accommodations, and studio space on Ucross's 20,000-acre ranch on the majestic High Plains in northern Wyoming. In addition, each artist will receive a stipend. Participating artists will be encouraged to share their work and participate in public programs, such as workshops, panel discussions, open studio events, and/or readings.
“The arts are at the heart of our communities, connecting people through shared experiences and artistic expression,” said Arts Endowment chairman Mary Anne Carter. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support projects such as Ucross’s fellowships for Native American artists and writers.”
Ucross was founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank. It has provided more than 2,200 residencies to some of the world’s most accomplished artists. Located in northeastern Wyoming at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, the artist residency program is situated on a historic 20,000-acre ranch at the confluence of three creeks in Ucross, population 25. Its connection to the land, its vast open spaces, and its view of the contemporary American west have proven to be inspirational and uniquely generative for artists.
Ucross has been home to 10 Pulitzer Prize winners, eight MacArthur “genius” grantees, seven Tony Award winners, nine National Book Award winners, and two Academy Award winners. Through its residencies, partnerships, and support of emerging artists, it continues to have an impact on the cultural dialogue of the country and the world. Alumni include Billy Porter, Colson Whitehead, Yaa Gyasi, Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, and Adam Guettel.
For more information on projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.