Four years ago, the Durango Arts Center formed a partnership with Willowtail Springs, an enchanting nature preserve, bed & breakfast and artist retreat located on a 40-acre parcel just west of Mancos, to create an artist-in-residence program that supports local creatives.
This is a fine example of a collaborative relationship between two nonprofits that benefits the community.
Through their dedicated stewardship, owner and accomplished artist Peggy Cloy has worked with her husband, Lee, to preserve and develop the Willowtail property into a haven of serenity and solitude. The general public is welcome year-round to rent the beautifully designed cabins filled with collectibles, antiques and art. In 2012, it was designated as a Nature Preserve and Education Center.
So what is an “artist-in-residence” program? Basically, it’s an opportunity for an artist to remove themselves from daily distractions and become immersed in their craft during a weeklong retreat. Artists of all mediums, both visual and literary, have spent time exploring, rediscovering their talents and often, take a new creative direction.
There are three charming cabins, a studio and gallery where artists can stay and create while surrounded by the beauty of the nature that includes streams, a lovely lake and pathways in this sanctuary for birds, bees and other wildlife. Many of the participants have alternative careers, and here they can enjoy the rare chance to isolate themselves and concentrate on their art. This investment of their time is truly a benefit beyond their expectations.
Since 2014, DAC has subsidized 17 artists and artist groups, such as 20Moons dance theater company, to experience a weeklong residency.
The result of Willowtail’s creative cultivation is the upcoming exhibit of fine works by 25 artists featured in “Reveries: Three Years of Willowtail Springs” that will be on display today through Oct. 21 in the Barbara Conrad Gallery at DAC, with an opening reception at 5 p.m. today.
A special presentation of artist talks and performances will follow from 3-5 p.m. Oct. 14 in the gallery.
Please join us in discovering the world of nature and art that is Willowtail Springs.
Regina Hogan is the guest curator of “Reveries: Three Years of Willowtail Springs.”