Volume XVII | Issue 1 | Spring 2017
Ryan Pierce, a 2016 Golden Spot artist-in-residence at Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, works on one layer of his six-color lithograph, “Sentinel.” Photo: Crow’s Shadow

Golden Spots

Artist residency program provides annual grants of $25,000

Art isn’t easy. An inspirational environment can help, and providing this space for Oregon artists is the goal of The Ford Family Foundation’s Golden Spot residency program. 

The program provides annual grants of $25,000 each to four “Golden Spot” residency programs in Oregon that offer opportunities for artists to explore and conceptualize new work. Golden Spots are defined as distinctive environments that artists find particularly compelling and stimulating.

Funding is provided to organizations for a two-year period, for a total of $50,000. Half of the grant funds support the organization’s residency program and the balance provides stipends to the selected artists to help offset life and work expenses while attending the residency. 

The Golden Spot program is the in-state component of the Visual Arts Program’s artists-in-residence opportunities. The Foundation also supports residencies for Oregon visual artists in national programs such as Djerassi Resident Artists Program, The MacDowell Colony, Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Ucross Foundation, Vermont Studio Center and Yaddo.

Print facility

Crow’s Shadow Institute of the Arts, on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla reservation near Pendleton, is one recipient of the Golden Spot grant, which enables it to offer three residencies per year. 

Its world-class print facility enables visiting artists to translate their works in a new medium with the support of a master printer.

 “It’s a real draw for a lot of artists,” says Karl Davis, the Institute’s executive director. 

“We are providing a very high-quality experience for their art-making but they don’t have to be tech experts. We offer two-week residencies in a remote location that is quiet and serene, and give them 24-hour access to the print studio.”

The Golden Spot opportunity can be transformative for artists. “As a painter, I work in a lot of layers, which is a really graphic style that complements the lithography process,” says Ryan Pierce. “To be able to work with someone with skill and knowledge like Frank Janzen, the master printer, was amazing.”

In addition to Crow’s Shadow, other Golden Spot locations have included Caldera in Central Oregon, Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Otis, Playa near Summer Lake, Oregon College of Art and Craft in Portland and Pacific Northwest College of Art near Oregon City.

Time, solitude

“Golden Spot residencies give established Oregon artists the concentrated time, solitude and interaction with other artists they need to research or complete their work,” explains Kandis Brewer Nunn, senior adviser to The Ford Family Foundation’s Visual Arts program. 

All of the residency programs host artists from different disciplines. More than 75 Oregon visual artists have participated in the Golden Spot residency programs so far, representing such diverse mediums as carving, digital images, photography and ceramics. 

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