SHERIDAN — The Ucross Foundation in Sheridan County hosts artists from all over the world who live in residency and create in different disciplines for an extended period of time.
The Ucross Foundation has close relationships with a few schools in Sheridan, two being Sheridan College and the Wyoming Girls School. Tracey Kikut, residency manager at Ucross, said the residency works with Sheridan College to connect artists and students through community engagement.
Artists involved in community engagement will lead workshops for students from Sheridan College and the girls school.
During a workshop with the girls school, artists talk about their work, teach writing or lead the girls in a visit to the Ucross campus where they can experience gallery of the artist’s work if there is an exhibition. Students also have the opportunity to speak with the artist during the workshops.
“The program between Sheridan College and Ucross is amazing,” said Brittney Denham-Whisonant, instructor of photography and printmaking and the WCA gallery coordinator.
The exposure of world-renowned artists, writers and composers provides an opportunity for students to gain outside exposure to the arts.
“The artists are gracious enough with their time that is so important to their making — just the fact they got into the residency in the first place is amazing — and the fact that they’re willing to share the small amount of time they have with our students and community is a huge gracious act,” Denham-Whisonant said.
With more limited access to art education through multiple museums like in bigger cities, Ucross provides similar education through its community engagement program.
To hear where the artist came from, how they arrived to Ucross or Wyoming, why and how their work is made is similar teaching by professors at the college. However, Denham-Whisonant said the impact is a lot different when the artist of that work is standing in front of the students.
“We accept a diversity of artists to Ucross,” Kikut said. “Emerging artists and well-seasoned artists are all welcome to apply to the program.”
Ucross artists are not required to participate in the community engagement program only about 20 percent of artists who are accepted at Ucross join community engagement, and partnering with Sheridan College is fairly new, starting in 2017.
Ucross helps bring a higher level of education to schools that may be more challenging to access due to Sheridan’s limited resources.
The artists in residency come from all over the world and share their skills and artwork with students in hopes of them gaining a broader understanding of art world.