Ucross announced today the second annual Founder’s Day on Saturday, June 3, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The community is invited to tour the artist residency campus, visit the artists in their studios, explore the Ucross Art Gallery, enjoy a picnic on the lawn, and celebrate the program’s 40th Anniversary. The event is free and open to the public.
“This is an opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at our residency program and what makes it special,” said Ucross President William Belcher. “It’ll be a fun afternoon that will honor Raymond Plank’s legacy and celebrate our mission to foster the creative spirit.”
The community will be invited to visit the studios of nonfiction writer Catina Bacote of Hamden, Connecticut; visual artist Gerald Clarke of Anza, California; photographer Michael Kolster of Brunswick, Maine; poet Sally Wen Mao of New York, New York; nonfiction writer Elizabeth Owuor of Oakland, California; multidisciplinary creator and performance artist Annie Saunders of Los Angeles, California; interdisciplinary artist and performer Andrew Schneider of Brooklyn, New York; and nonfiction writer and Ucross Trustee Scott Manning Stevens of Syracuse, New York.
As they explore the picturesque campus grounds, visitors will encounter live music from the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra based in Casper, Wyoming, including Gary DePaolo (Principal Viola), known as Möbius Strings, who will be joined by Jennifer DePaolo (Principal Second Violin), and WSO Horn Quartet musicians Katherine Smith, Zarah Mattox, Colleen Perry Shaffer, and Sarah Zhukenova.
Visitors may also enjoy a picnic on the lawn outside of the Big Red Ranch Complex. Present at the event will be Sheridan-based food trucks Java Gypsy, which offers an array of coffee, tea, and other beverages, and Stoked, which slings wood-fired pizzas.
The first Founder’s Day was held in 2022, drawing nearly 200 attendees to the artist residency. The event recognizes the anniversary of the birth of the late Ucross founder, Raymond Plank. Born on May 29, 1922, Plank grew up on his family farm in Minnesota. He entered Yale University in September 1940 but left just three months later, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, to enlist in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserves. During World War II, he piloted B-24 bombers, completed 40 combat missions and earned numerous commendations. After the war, Plank went on to graduate from Yale; form an accounting and tax service; and eventually co-found and become chairman and CEO of Apache Corporation, which was based in Minneapolis and is now based in Houston, Texas. Plank passed away in November 2018 at age 96.
Plank founded Ucross Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in 1981, and the residency program welcomed its first artists in 1983. In the four decades since, the program has developed into one of the most respected artist communities in the nation. More than 2,600 visual artists, writers, choreographers, and composers have been to Ucross, benefiting from its uninterrupted time, studio space, living accommodations, and meals by a professional chef, as well as the experience of the majestic High Plains. Many alumni have gone on to earn national recognition, including Pulitzer Prizes, MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships, National Book Awards, Tony Awards, and Academy Awards, among others.
Learn more and get free tickets to Founder’s Day here. Ucross is located at 30 Big Red Lane, a half-mile east of the intersection of U.S. Highways 14 and 16. Parking is limited, and carpooling is encouraged.