The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts has announced that Ucross will be awarded a $47,000 grant in support of the Ucross Native American Art Curatorial Convening (NAACC).
Presented through the Foundation’s Curatorial Research Fellowships program, the grant will support the next phase of Ucross’s three-year project, which brings together many of the nation’s leading curators of Native art from institutions such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Denver Art Museum, Dartmouth College, and more.
“The Ucross Foundation has embarked on an important initiative that tackles a critical issue facing arts organizations large and small,” said Rachel Bers, Program Director of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. “Namely, developing strategies to promote meaningful inclusion of Indigenous perspectives at the organizational and programmatic level. The Warhol Foundation is pleased to support its efforts to increase Native representation at the junior and senior levels in the visual arts field and to collaboratively set new standards for responsible institutional practices."
In June 2021, Ucross hosted the first NAACC, a historic gathering that convened many of the nation’s leading curators of Native art. Led by heather ahtone (Choctaw/Chickasaw Nation), Senior Curator at First Americans Museum, and John Lukavic, Andrew W. Mellon Curator of Native Art at the Denver Art Museum, this impressive group of participants included leaders and visionaries in the field, including Jill Ahlberg Yohe, Associate Curator of Native American Art at Minneapolis Institute of Art; Kathleen Ash-Milby (Navajo Nation), Curator of Native American Art at Portland Art Museum; Kathryn Bunn-Marcuse, Director of Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Native Art, Curator of Northwest Native Art at Burke Museum and Associate Professor of Native Art at University of Washington; Christina E. Burke, Curator of Native American and Non-Western Art at Philbrook Museum of Art; Karen Kramer, Curator of Native American and Oceanic Art and Culture and Director of Native American Fellowship Program at Peabody Essex Museum; Patricia Marroquin Norby (Purépecha), Associate Curator of Native American Art at Metropolitan Museum of Art; and Jami C. Powell (Osage Nation), Curator of Indigenous Art at Hood Museum of Art and Dartmouth College.
Ucross Trustee Scott Manning Stevens (Akwesasne Mohawk), Director of Syracuse University's Native American and Indigenous Studies program, is the NAACC board liaison and was onsite for the first year of the program.
“This particular group of curators of Indigenous art has never had the opportunity to come together, at Ucross or elsewhere," Stevens said. “Questions are finally being considered, such as, ‘Why is the Native American art usually part of natural history or ethnography — why not display it with Thomas Cole or Winslow Homer?’ In the next two years of the NAACC, we look forward to observing how the group addresses systemic issues concerning Native American art and lays out the groundwork for museum best practices from a Native perspective.”
Aided in part by this generous grant for the NAACC, Ucross will continue to provide Native American art curators with travel stipends, meeting space, living accommodations, meals by a professional chef, staff support, and an atmosphere conducive to intense, productive work sessions.
“We are honored to be among the 49 arts organizations in the U.S. to receive a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in this cycle,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “It is a meaningful vote of confidence for the future of the NAACC.”
The Ucross NAACC was born from the success of the Ucross Fellowship for Native American Visual Artists, created in 2017. In its early stages, the fellowship was also funded, in part, by the Andy Warhol Foundation of the Visual Arts, and it expanded to include writers in 2020.
ABOUT THE ANDY WARHOL FOUNDATION FOR THE VISUAL ARTS
In accordance with Andy Warhol’s will, the mission of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is the advancement of the visual arts. The Foundation manages an innovative and flexible grants program while also preserving Warhol’s legacy through creative and responsible licensing policies and extensive scholarly research for ongoing catalogue raisonné projects.
To date, the Foundation has given more than $250 million in cash grants to more than 1,000 arts organizations in 49 states and abroad and has donated 52,786 works of art to 322 institutions worldwide.
Ucross announced today the publication of The Ucross Cookbook: Cooking for Artists on a Wyoming Ranch. The Ucross Cookbook is available at ucross.org, as well as select independent bookstores, galleries, and shops in the Mountain West.
The book features the most popular recipes of longtime Ucross Chef Cindy Brooks, written with Ucross alumna Cree LeFavour, a novelist; memoirist; and author of several cookbooks, including the James Beard Award finalist Fish.
“Cree’s joyful presentation of Cindy’s enticing recipes and entertaining stories from her 12 years of cooking for artists would be satisfying enough,” Ucross President Sharon Dynak said. “But this goes beyond the ordinary cookbook.”
Interspersed among the dishes are creative passages by award-winning Ucross alumni and sweeping seasonal landscape photographs of Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch by alumna Martirene Alcántara.
“We wanted to give the reader a taste of the Ucross experience, and Cindy’s beautiful food and our majestic landscape are key ingredients,” Dynak explained. “Every evening, after spending the day in the studio, the ten Ucross artists-in-residence gather around the dinner table, passing plates, and sharing stories. So, we asked 10 of our alumni — writers, composers, visual artists, and choreographers — to contribute to our book.”
The resulting pieces range from a poem to a stream-of-consciousness story to a personal essay and more. Contributing Ucross artist-alumni include author Sigrid Nunez, composer and playwright Michael R. Jackson, visual artist Munson Hunt, choreographer Ann Carlson, playwright and screenwriter Doug Wright, writer and former chef Brendan Basham, multi-disciplinary performer and writer Karma Mayet Johnson, operatic baritone Nathan Gunn, novelist and investigative journalist Suki Kim and novelist and nonfiction writer Judith Freeman.
The Ucross Cookbook was funded in part by several donors, as well as a successful campaign on Kickstarter, a crowdfunding platform for creative projects, which raised $44,179 from 261 backers. One hundred percent of the book’s proceeds will benefit Ucross.
“We are grateful to all who helped make this project a reality,” Dynak said. “Our cookbook is a wonderful addition to bookshelves for longtime Ucross friends and those new to our nonprofit.”
ABOUT THE UCROSS COOKBOOK CONTRIBUTORS
Coauthor Cindy Brooks is a California native who owned her own restaurant in Bozeman, Montana, before she brought her culinary prowess to Ucross in 2009.
Coauthor Cree LeFavour is the author of the memoir Lights On, Rats Out, the novel Private Means, and several cookbooks, including the James Beard Award finalist Fish.
Martirene Alcántara is an accomplished visual artist whose work is found in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
Sigrid Nunez is the author of eight acclaimed novels, most recently What Are You Going Through and the National Book Award-winning The Friend. She is also the author of Sempre Susan: A Memoir of Susan Sontag.
Michael R. Jackson is a composer who won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his musical A Strange Loop. In 2021, he was awarded the Windham-Campbell Literature Prize in Drama.
Playwright, librettist, and screenwriter Doug Wright received the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his play I Am My Own Wife. His other acclaimed works include the play Quills and the book for the musical Grey Gardens.
Judith Freeman is a novelist, critic, and essayist whose most recent novel is MacArthur Park; she is also the author of a memoir, The Latter Days. Judith and her husband, award-winning photographer Anthony Hernandez, were the first couple to be in residence at Ucross together.
Munson Hunt’s sculpture, prints, and drawings have been shown nationally and internationally for over 30 years. The scale of her work, raw material (often reclaimed wood) and simple form are both elemental and mysterious.
Multidisciplinary performer and writer Karma Mayet Johnson has worked with renowned directors Robert Wilson and Bill T. Jones, and musicians Martha Redbone, Burnt Sugar, Toshi Reagon, Lizz Wright, Vernon Reid, Meshell Ndegeocello, and The Roots. She is composer/librettist of Indigo, a Blues opera, and her poems have appeared in Nocturnes, Cave Canem’s Gathering Ground, and elsewhere. Her newest play, Race Card, was called “powerful” by The New York Times.
Suki Kim is an award-winning novelist, an investigative journalist and the only writer ever to have lived undercover in North Korea for immersive journalism, which formed the basis for her New York Times bestselling book Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite.
Baritone Nathan Gunn has performed many of opera and musical theatre’s greatest roles on the world’s most prestigious stages. He has also been seen and heard on television, radio, video and live simulcast performances, including the first Met in HD broadcast, The Magic Flute, in which he sang Papageno, one of his signature roles.
Brendan Shay Basham (Diné), awarded the inaugural Ucross Native American Writing Fellowship, is a fiction writer, poet, and former chef. His first novel, Swim Home to the Vanished, is forthcoming from Harper.
Ann Carlson is an award-winning interdisciplinary artist, with an emphasis on choreography and performance. Her work borrows from dance, theater, visual, and conceptual art and has been seen around the world.
After 25 years at Ucross, the prestigious artist residency program in Wyoming, Sharon Dynak has announced her retirement, effective April 2022. William (Bill) Belcher, an experienced arts professional and Ucross’s current Director of Development and External Relations, has been named the next President of the organization. Dynak will continue to serve Ucross for several months afterward in an advisory capacity, ensuring a seamless transition.
Dynak moved from New York City to Wyoming in 1996 to join Ucross as Residency Program Director. She was appointed Executive Director of the organization in 2005 and President in 2007.
“It has been a long and exciting adventure and a great honor to work on behalf of contemporary writers, artists, composers, and choreographers — as well as scientists, curators, educators, and others,” said Dynak. “I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside so many creative and dedicated trustees, staff, and other advisors — all of whom have been instrumental in the success of Ucross.”
Prior to Ucross, Dynak spent 15 years in the publicity department of the book publisher Scribner. She was introduced to the organization by award-winning author Annie Proulx, who had spent time as a Ucross resident and is a former Ucross trustee.
During her tenure, Ucross has grown into one of the nation’s most distinguished and distinctive artist residency programs, offering uninterrupted time and studio space to approximately 100 individuals each year. (The organization was founded in 1981 by Raymond Plank, and the residency program welcomed its first artists in 1983.)
The residency experience, expertly stewarded by Dynak since she arrived, is known for its attention to detail, its hospitality, and its artist-centric support, as well as its breathtaking location, sweeping views, and connection to the vast Wyoming landscape. Under Dynak’s leadership, Ucross has helped hundreds of individual artists — from emerging to highly acclaimed — focus on the creation of original work amid this inspiring landscape.
A key program expansion directed by Dynak was the development of numerous national partnerships with prominent national organizations, such as the Sundance Institute, PEN/Hemingway Awards, Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, Pew Fellowships in the Arts, the Aura Estrada Prize, the Marion International Fellowship, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Alley Theatre, and The Ford Family Foundation, among others. In recent years, new partnerships have begun with Cave Canem; the University of Houston’s MFA Program in Creative Writing; Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music; and Yale University’s Schools of Music, Drama, and Visual Art. Regional partnerships with the Wyoming Girls School, the WYO Theater, and the University of Wyoming have also taken place.
Dynak was also instrumental in the vision and creation of the Ucross Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers, which have provided increased support and program opportunities for Indigenous artists at Ucross.
The Ucross property looks different, too, thanks to Dynak’s participation in various capital projects and improvements during her time, including the creation of two composer studios, a community park with public gardens, a nondenominational chapel, and the Raymond Plank Center. An art gallery in the historic Big Red Barn at Ucross is currently undergoing a renovation to be completed later this year, and ground has been broken for a new dedicated dance studio.
Dynak helped lead the way for the Ucross ranch to be designated an Important Bird Area by the Bighorn Audubon Society, and she has worked closely with the Wyoming Chapter of The Nature Conservancy. During her tenure, Ucross was awarded the Wyoming Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. She currently serves on the board of the Wyoming Arts Council.
The Ucross Board of Trustees has named William Belcher the next President. Belcher has served as Ucross’s Director of Development and External Relations since 2017 and has more than 20 years of experience in art administration with high level positions in development. He has dedicated his career to working with cultural organizations that support artists and the creation of new work.
“As a founding member of the foundation, I can say that Sharon has had a tremendous impact on the organization,” said Jim Nelson, Chair of the Board of Trustees. “Having worked with Bill over the last four years, I’m confident that he will build on our past successes and position Ucross for a bright future. Not only does he bring a proven track record of successful fundraising in the arts, but he also brings a refreshing level of directness, strategic thinking, and professionalism to Ucross. We are excited and pleased that he accepted the role of president at this pivotal moment in our history.”
Prior to Ucross, Belcher served as Director of Development at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA) and Director of External Affairs at The Hyde Collection. As a consultant, he has helped dozens of arts organizations with strategic planning, campaign planning, grant writing, fundraising, institutional messaging and board development. His clients have included the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, Skidmore College, Collar Works (Elizabeth Murray Artist Residency Program), and others. He has served on the boards of Caffe Lena, a historic folk music venue, and Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education, a community art center. Belcher is also a published novelist whose debut novel, Lay Down Your Weary Tune, was released by Other Press in 2016.
“Ucross is a rare and remarkable place. As Director of Development and External Relations, I’ve had the benefit of working alongside the board, staff and Sharon for more than four years,” Belcher noted. “It’s an honor to be named the next President of this renowned artist residency program, and I look forward to preserving the Ucross experience, championing its alumni artists, and strengthening the organization so that it can continue to serve artists and the community in its awe-inspiring setting for years to come.”
Dynak and Belcher will work together between January and April to implement a thorough transition plan, designed to provide continuity and maintain excellence, as well as continue Ucross’s momentum heading into its 40th anniversary in 2023.
Today, the National Endowment for the Arts announced that Ucross has been approved for a $30,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its artist residency program. Over the next two years, the grant will fund four residencies with an emphasis on increasing support for underserved artists, including Native American visual artists and writers.
“The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support arts projects like this one from Ucross that help support the community’s creative economy,” said NEA Acting Chair Ann Eilers. “Ucross is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being, and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.”
Ucross’s grant is through the NEA’s Artists Communities discipline, which provides assistance to artist communities for projects that encourage and nurture the development of individual artists and foster and inspire their creative processes.
Since 1983, Ucross has supported the creation of new work by providing the gift of time and space on a historic 20,000-acre ranch in the majestic High Plains of northern Wyoming. The program serves about 100 artists each year, including the four recipients of the Ucross Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers.
“Ucross is honored to receive this significant national support for our work, especially in amplifying contemporary Indigenous art and voices,” Ucross President Sharon Dynak said. “We are gratified to be recognized alongside so many peer organizations, who are all working on behalf of the country’s artists.”
“The NEA grant award will directly help us fund four residencies,” added Ucross Director of Development and External Relations William Belcher. “These residencies provide uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and a stipend. This time to work, think, and experiment is so valuable to artists. We thank the National Endowment for the Arts for recognizing the need and supporting artist residencies like Ucross.”
Ucross’s work is among 1,248 projects across America totaling $28.8 million that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category.
For more information on other projects included in the Arts Endowment grant announcement, visit arts.gov/news.
During the first weekend of December, Ucross, the prestigious artist residency program in Sheridan County, will present award-winning composer and performer Steven Lutvak in a free community master class in partnership with Sheridan College and a ticketed Broadway cabaret concert at the WYO Performing Arts & Education Center. The weekend’s events will also include an exclusive preview of The Ucross Cookbook: Cooking for Artists on a Wyoming Ranch.
Lutvak, a Ucross Fellow who is based in New York City, composed the music for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder, which won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2014 and was written in part during Lutvak’s residency at Ucross. He is currently working on two new musicals headed for Broadway and the movie adaptation of A Gentleman’s Guide.
“We are thrilled to showcase Steven Lutvak’s amazing talent for composition, performance and education to the greater Sheridan community,” said Steve Jimenez, Ucross Executive Producer of Public Programs and Outreach. “And we can’t wait to give our neighbors a special early look at The Ucross Cookbook, especially at the start of the holiday season.”
Ucross is partnering with Sheridan College to present the Master Class, which will be free and open to the public on Friday, December 3, at 1 p.m. Lutvak will play music; tell stories; share secrets of the trade; and offer tips to the next generation of rising stars, including several Sheridan College students, who will perform a few Broadway tunes. The Master Class will be in Sheridan College’s Room W129. There is no need to register in advance.
On Saturday, December 4, Lutvak will head to the WYO Performing Arts & Education Center. The event will begin in the WYO lobby at 6:30 p.m. with a reception celebrating The Ucross Cookbook: Cooking for Artists on a Wyoming Ranch, which will be published in mid-January. Guests will be able to preview the book, meet legendary Ucross Chef Cindy Brooks, and enjoy complimentary hors d’oeuvres. The reception will be free and open to the public.
Then, at 7:30 p.m., Lutvak will take the stage in the WYO Mars Black Box Theater for an entertaining performance of Broadway and holiday cabaret. General admission and VIP tickets to the concert are available here.
Fireworks, caroling, treats — the ninth annual Ucross Community Christmas Celebration will take place on Saturday, December 11, at the Raymond Plank Center. Free and open to all, the family-friendly festivities will begin at 4 p.m. sharp and continue through 6 p.m., culminating in the lighting of thousands of Christmas tree lights and a fireworks display.
Among the most enjoyed traditions of the Ucross Community Christmas Celebration is a special reading of a new short Christmas story by bestselling author and Ucross neighbor Craig Johnson, known for his series Longmire. This year, the event will also include a piano performance by Ebenezer Eferobor, an internationally experienced composer who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and developed deep-rooted connections in the area while attending Sheridan College. In addition, the Buffalo Balladiers will sing Christmas carols. The event will be complete with crafts for children and festive refreshments for all.
In the spirit of Christmas, Ucross invites guests to bring canned goods and non-perishable food items for families in need. After the event, Ucross staff will distribute the donated items to several local community food pantries.
“The Ucross Community Christmas Celebration has become a beloved annual tradition,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We look forward to welcoming our friends and neighbors back to Ucross to celebrate the holidays together.”
At the conclusion of the evening, a cannon will be fired by Ucross neighbor Joe Reed to announce the start of a spectacular fireworks display by Bruce Burns and his expert crew, followed by the lighting of Christmas trees in the Park at Ucross. The Powder River Energy Corporation team will again volunteer to hang the Christmas tree lights.
Named for the artist residency nonprofit’s founder, the Raymond Plank Center is located at the intersection of Highways 14 and 16 East in Ucross. For further information, contact (307) 737-2291 or email@example.com.
Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts in Wyoming, and The Blank Theatre, a Los Angeles institution celebrating 31 years of imaginative theatre, today announced the second annual Ucross + The Blank Theatre – Future of Playwriting Prize, a one-of-a-kind award for emerging playwrights nationwide. Ucross and The Blank have partnered to showcase the importance of emerging artists across the country and to celebrate the innovative work that is asking questions and evolving theatre as we know it. Submissions for the national prize open November 8 and run through December 20.
The award is given annually to an emerging playwright (ages 21 to 30) who best personifies the “Future of Theatre:” someone whose voice will shape theatre for decades to come, and who will bring new thoughts and views to the American theatrical conversation. Eligibility and submission guidelines can be found at TheBlank.com.
The chosen playwright will receive a $5,000 cash award, a professionally produced staged reading in The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series (a new play development program), and a two-week residency at Ucross’s 20,000-acre ranch at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains (including transportation). Two additional finalists will be selected to each receive a $500 cash prize. There is no entry fee.
Though originally designed to honor an individual winner, last year saw two winners named. They were Kori Alston, a writer and poet whose work takes a particular interest in the way in which young people of color process trauma, and Dave Osmundsen, an autistic playwright and dramaturg whose work explores the intersections of queerness and neurodiversity.
“The Blank has always supported and believed in young playwrights as seen through our Young Playwrights Festival and the incredible work we’ve produced over the years,” said Daniel Henning, the founding artistic director of The Blank Theatre. “This award, developed alongside the Ucross team, profoundly impacts young, emerging voices by offering them monetary support, uninterrupted time and space during a residency, and a platform to showcase their work.”
“Ucross is thrilled to sponsor this annual award with The Blank, as it expands our long-standing support of new and emerging artists across disciplines,” said Sharon Dynak, president of Ucross. “For years we have watched the amazing work and development happening at The Blank and are excited to welcome a winning playwright to our campus each year.”
At Ucross, artists in residence experience an inspiring combination of solitude and community, with expansive time for private work, as well as lively exchanges at group dinners with fellow artists. Facilities include four visual arts studios, four writers’ studios, and two composers’ studios, and a large loft space suitable for dance and theatre collaborations.
Ucross, a prestigious artist residency program in northern Wyoming, is now accepting applications for general studio residencies and dedicated Native American fellowships in Fall 2022. Selected Fellows will enjoy uninterrupted time and space on the nonprofit’s historic 20,000-acre ranch. All applications are due March 1, 2022.
Ucross’s general studio residencies are open to visual artists, writers, composers, choreographers, interdisciplinary artists, and performance artists, as well as collaborative teams. Emerging artists, mid-career artists, and established artists are all encouraged to apply. Applications are reviewed by a rotating panel of professionals in the arts and humanities. The quality of the applicant’s work is given primary consideration. Ucross provides each artist with a private studio, living accommodations, meals prepared by a professional chef, a $1,000 stipend, and more.
The Ucross Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers represent an expansion of the organization’s commitment to supporting contemporary Native American art and voices. Native American Fellows receive the same residency benefits as general Ucross Fellows, as well as a $2,000 stipend, a waived application fee, and opportunities to present their work publicly.
“We look forward to receiving applications from dedicated artists spanning all creative disciplines,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “We recognize that the gift of uninterrupted time and space for concentrated work is becoming increasingly important to contemporary artists.”
Ucross residencies, which range from two to six weeks, are awarded to 100 artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers and two composers.
Since Ucross’s first residencies were awarded in 1983, more than 2,500 artists have participated in the program. Distinguished Ucross Fellows include Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez and Tayari Jones. Recent National Book Award winners Susan Choi, Sigrid Nunez and Sarah M. Broom have been residents, as have Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, recent Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Colson Whitehead, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
Artists may learn more and apply here.
Today, Ucross, the renowned artist residency program in northeastern Wyoming, announced its Fall 2021 Fellows.
Sixty-five artists from a variety of disciplines were selected by an independent panel of jurors for the fall session, which is operating at full capacity for the first time since March 2020. Residents include PEN/Hemingway finalist Madeline ffitch; Pew Residency Fellow Jennifer Nikki Kidwell; Toi Derricotte/Cave Canem Residency Fellow at Ucross Darrel Alejandro Holnes; and a special multidisciplinary group with Eiko Otake, Liz Sargent, and Stephanie Sleeper, who came to Ucross through a partnership with UCLA’s Center for the Art of Performance.
“We are gratified to once again welcome 10 artists at a time to Ucross,” said Ucross President and Executive Director Sharon Dynak. “The artists are able to have the complete Ucross experience, from concentrated work time in studios to hikes in the spacious hills and communal dinners at the School House. We look forward to seeing how our unique combination of solitude and community engages the artists’ creative spirits.”
Each Ucross Fellow receives uninterrupted time and space to create on the nonprofit’s historic 20,000-acre ranch, located in the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains in northeastern Wyoming. Ucross provides each artist with meals, a studio, living accommodations, and the unparalleled experience of the majestic High Plains. To increase accessibility to the program, each Fellow receives a minimum of a $1,000 stipend to defray the cost of travel and other expenses associated with a residency. The fall session opened two weeks early this year, in order to expand opportunities for artists after time lost due to the pandemic.
"After a year and a half of pandemic-related isolation and distraction, Ucross allowed me to return to that space of writing with focus and purpose and time,” nonfiction writer P. Carl said at the conclusion of his residency. “I left with a solid start to my next book and new friends I was able to meet in person — not on Zoom. I reveled in the joy of being in the live company of other artists."
The Fall 2021 Ucross Fellows hail from 21 states across the country. The roster includes the most recent recipients of the Ucross Fellowships for Native American Visual Artists and Writers, as well as residents joining the program through new partnerships with Yale School of Music and Cave Canem. Additional fellowship partnerships active in Fall 2021 include the Alley Theatre, the PEN/Hemingway Award, Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Ford Family Foundation, Blank Theater, Marion International Fellowship for the Visual & Performing Arts, and UCLA Center for the Art of Performance.
Ucross’s Fall 2021 Fellows include:
Since its first residencies were awarded in 1983, more than 2,500 artists have received the gift of time and space at Ucross. Residencies, which range from two to six weeks, are awarded to 100 artists each year. Ten artists are in residence at one time, typically a mix of four visual artists, four writers and two composers.
Ucross has provided residencies to such distinguished fellows as Annie Proulx, Terry Tempest Williams, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Patchett, Ricky Ian Gordon, Bill Morrison, Theaster Gates, Anthony Hernandez and Tayari Jones. Recent National Book Award winners Susan Choi, Sigrid Nunez and Sarah M. Broom have been residents, as have Academy Award and Tony winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Emmy Award winner Billy Porter, recent Pulitzer Prize winners Michael R. Jackson and Colson Whitehead, and current United States Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
The next call for applications to Ucross’s artist residency program opens on October 25, with a deadline of March 1, 2022.
Ucross Fellow Lucas Bessire’s book Running Out: In Search of Water on the High Plains is on the shortlist for a prestigious National Book Award in the nonfiction category, announced the National Book Foundation on Tuesday. Bessire, an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, spent a month in residence at Ucross in May.
Bessire is an anthropologist, filmmaker and writer. His nominated book, published this spring by Princeton University Press, recounts his search for water across the drying High Plains of western Kansas, where five generations of his family lived as irrigation farmers and ranchers.
Writer Rivka Galchen has called it “a beautiful and unusual book, and wholly original,” and Francisco Goldman said, “Running Out is destined to be a contemporary classic.”
“We are proud to count Lucas among our esteemed alumni,” said Ucross President and Executive Director Sharon Dynak. “We are thrilled that his work is being recognized with this honor and will be rooting for him in November.”
During his Ucross residency, Bessire lived and worked in the historic Depot, which was once the Burlington Northern train depot in nearby Clearmont. The building was relocated to Ucross in the 1990s to house writer studios and bedrooms.
The National Book Award winners will be announced Nov. 17 in an online ceremony. For more information, visit www.nationalbook.org.