If you go

What: Caldera Open Studio

When: 1-3 p.m. Saturday (additional Open Studios 1-3 p.m. Feb. 27 and March 26)

Where: Hearth Building, Caldera Arts Center, 31500 Blue Lake Drive, Sisters

Cost: Free, no RSVP necessary

Contact: www.calderaarts.org

Mark your calendar: Open Studio season returns to Caldera Arts Center near Sisters on Saturday.

Each year from January through March, the nonprofit arts education center awards monthlong artist residencies, bringing to the shores of Blue Lake talent from a wide range of disciplines — music composition, choreography, photography, writing and visual art, but also design, engineering and the sciences.

There, nestled in the rugged, wintry landscape, the artists and creative thinkers settle in for four weeks of deep focus on their respective projects.

And on the last Saturday of the month, you’re invited to join them by the hearth for an afternoon of art and conversation as the Artists in Residence discuss their work over the last month.

Arrive early if you want a good parking place: Caldera is off the beaten path, located 16 miles northwest of Sisters, but the public turns out in droves. “In January and February, we get upwards of 100 people,” said Elizabeth Quinn, Caldera’s creative director.

The quality of the work warrants the high turnout, she said. “It’s always pretty amazing, the work that is presented at Open Studios.”

Among this month’s Artists in Residence — or AiRs, as Quinn refers to them — is Portland painter Ryan Pierce, who’s using his month at Caldera to work on paintings for a planned June exhibition at Elizabeth Leach Gallery in Portland.

“Titled ‘Dusk is the Mouth of Night,’ (the show) combines imagery from the so-called Golden Age of Exploration with allusions to a future scourged by climate change,” Pierce said in an email Quinn shared with GO! The paintings are part of an ongoing series looking to past exploration and exploitation to inform our present changing world.

“One new piece tells, through still-life imagery, the story of ‘Filibuster’ William Walker, who in 1855 invaded and overthrew Nicaragua with a mercenary army, hoping to add it as another slave state to the U.S. (it was a short-lived rule),” Pierce said.

The program is open to national and international artists, but all of this month’s AiRs happen to hail from the West. There are two more visual artists among this month’s AiRs: mixed-media artist Anne Greenwood-Rioseco, of Portland, and photographer Marjorie Vecchio of Reno, Nevada.

There are three writers among this month’s group, all hailing from the Bay Area: fiction and travel writer Chaney Kwak, of San Francisco, who’s written for Condé Nast Traveler and other publications; poet Sara Mumolo, of Oakland, who also manages the MFA program in Creative Writing at Saint Mary’s College of California; and essayist Emily Meg Weinstein, whose work has appeared in McSweeneys and Salon.

Portland singer-songwriter Alela Diane, known for her haunting acoustic tunes, which she’s toured across the country and Europe, rounds out the group.

Represented among February and March’s AiRs are filmmakers, choreographers, sculptors, playwrights and circus performers.

The application process for winter 2017 residencies is open through June 17. According to Quinn, about 120 to 170 applicants vie for a total of 21 positions available over the three-month span.

“The thing that we look at and weight the most is the quality of the work and their résumé. The quality, the potential,” Quinn said.

Over the years it’s been in existence, Caldera’s Artist in Residency program has evolved from having five monthly residents to seven. It’s also become more aligned with the youth aims of Caldera, which began 20 years ago as a camp bringing urban and rural youth to the mountains for the purpose of making art.

“The most exciting thing for us is how much it’s integrated with our youth program,” Quinn said.

Artists in Residence work with students from Portland and Central Oregon schools. High school students visit Caldera while working on their own monthlong projects, which result in some form of “exhibition, presentation (or) performance,” Quinn said. “The AiR program is really well-aligned for that.”

While they’re in town — or at least near it — some AiRs also visit middle-school classrooms “to talk about their work or read something,” she said. “Oftentimes, we may meet an AiR who comes back and teaches at camp. We get to know them as an AiR, and bring them (back).”

Students also attend Open Studios, Quinn added, stressing Caldera’s commitment to Central Oregon.

“Over the last few years, the Open Studios in particular have become a place for everyone in this community to get a hit of culture that they can’t quite get in a lot of other places in the area.”

— Reporter: 541-383-0349, djasper@bendbulletin.com

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