The Ranch is currently abuzz with a wonderfully happy, enthusiastic and productive group of participants as part of the January Studio Immersive that runs Jan. 3 – Jan 21, 2011.
It really should be no surprise. This eclectic group of artists (35 in total)—which in terms of the program’s official capacity translates as “sold out”—quite literally have the run of the place. As program director Paul Collins puts it, “It’s like they have unlocked the candy store”. Artists gone wild? Artists gone to heaven? Well, actually, yes.
Each participant is provided with a generously-sized studio space which are scattered throughout all the different programs so there is activity in all areas. This deliberate “spreading out” has resulted in a very organic, interactive and spontaneous cross-pollination across disciplines. Sculptors are experimenting in printmaking. Photographers are experimenting with turning wood. Painters are building in clay, and so forth.
Because the January Studio Immersive is really a hybrid programmatically, as a cross between the Artists’ Residency program (10 weeks in length) and the Summer Workshops (1- and 2-weeks in length), the participants have enormous flexibility and accessibility. With a pre-determined schedule of mini half-day workshops and demonstrations in every area (14 total) participants are given exposure to all media, which includes access to all facilities and studio/technical support from the Ranch’s amazing artistic staff.
Some of the mini-workshops that have been run include: Monoprints, Encaustic Painting, Welding, How to Build Your Own Website, How to Photograph Your Work, Handbuilding in Clay and Intro to Building Stretchers and Frames, among others.
Most of the mini-workshops were pre-determined but as a result of specific interests additional mini-workshops were developed to meet those demands. The program’s greatest strength is its fluidity and cross-disciplinary spirit.
Participants are also encouraged to present, discuss and give and receive critical and technical feedback on their work. Voluntary critiques are programmed as part of the program in which nearly every artist elected to participate. This week, Visiting Critic David Humphrey visited each studio to meet the artists and discuss their work. Sculptor Charles Long will also be at the Ranch next week as a Visiting Critic. Critical discourse is an important aspect of the program as demonstrated from the get-go when all participants displayed and discussed their work in a group slide talk on day two of the program.
The participants are a diverse group ranging from an 18 yr-old high school student focused in Photo/Digital as she prepares for college to artists in or preparing for graduate school to established, practicing artists. For about half the students this is their first time to the Ranch as students/program participants—which says something about the strong allure of this unique program. For many, the draw was discovering a program with its uncommon length, its interactive and cross-disciplinary character and its deep support in regards to staff and technical facilities. The refrain heard again and again in the studios is, “I’ve been looking for a program like this for a long time. This is perfect to work in one program and to move into other areas to explore”.
Gauging from the off-the-charts enthusiasm, high spirits and productivity levels, the participants are most definitely enjoying the “unlocked candy store” which is the Ranch in January.
For more on the January Studio Immersive program visit our website at: andersonranch.org