Henry David Thoreau once said, "I never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude." Easy for him to say. He popped into town once a week for provisions and, in the process, if we're not mistaken, enjoyed Sunday night poker with Emerson and "the boys."
We exaggerate, of course, but you get the point. Artists tend to thrive in an environment of solitude, but like everything else, solitude is a relative term. Solitude can mean writing in your home office undisturbed in the heart of Manhattan or, as in the case of the Ucross Foundation's artist residency program, it can mean holing up on a 20,000-acre working cattle ranch in Wyoming for up to six weeks.
The foundation is now accepting applications for its Fall 2015 session. The program is open to visual artists, writers, composers, choreographers, interdisciplinary artists, performance artists and collaborative teams. Applicants must exhibit professional standing in their fields—both mature and emerging artists of promise are welcome to apply.
There are two residency sessions. The aforementioned fall session runs from August through early December while the spring session runs from late February through mid-June. The deadline for the fall session is March 1, 2015.
The foundation provides living space, individual work space, and uninterrupted time to approximately 85 artists in residency on an annual basis. Residencies vary in length from two to six weeks and in most cases, studios are separate from living quarters. Pop in to Ucross at any given time and you'll find up to nine artists in residence.
The application process is straightforward. Each applicant must complete a Ucross Foundation residency application form and provide the required materials, including three letters of recommendation, a project description and a work sample.
Then there is the property itself. The ranch is situated in heart of the northern High Plains and Rocky Mountain region, an area conducive, as clichéd as it may sound, to rugged, independent, and individualistic thinking. Thoreau would most certainly approve.
And as for the fact that one's solitude may be compromised by extensive cell phone service and on-site wireless internet, we'll just throw out another Thoreau quote: "Things do not change; we change."