Friday, November 20, 2009


I am very humbled and drained by the loss of Jeanne-Claude. Since 1993 she has been an artist of record on all the pieces created by her and Christo. I am well aware of the affect of a partner in any enterprise and it was clear from seeing Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s talk and conversing with them at the Artposium that she was a force, and an inspiration with everything they did. Jeanne-Claude's contributions to the projects is very evident in the films of the Maysles Brothers. Watching the films left me convinced that the projects could not have gained their scope with out her guiding hand.

I hope that Christo can continue with the projects that they had planned as they had intended. There is no question I am a Christo & Jeanne-Claude fan, and I wish the best for Christo and their family.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Colorado Art Ranch at DIA

The Colorado Art Ranch is excited to announce The Denver International Airport Art Program has offered us one of their high profile exhibit spaces January 15 through April 15, 2010. The area on the bridge to concourse A security screening will host an exhibit titled 28 Ideas and features 28 works from those who have been Nomads, speakers, or residents of Colorado Art Ranch. Work will be selected by a jury. Finalists will be selected based on work that demonstrates how the artist uses their passion, skills and knowledge to address, envision, or question human and land issues.

DIA is the fifth busiest airport in the country and 10th busiest in the world. The security screening area sees approximately 40,000 passengers and employees per day. During the length of the exhibit almost 5 million people will pass across the bridge. Now, a lot of those people will be concentrating on their lattes, late flights, angst and irascible children. That leaves maybe one million that will notice the exhibit and 750,000 who will actually look at some or all of it.

We will have the artists work and statements online so visitors can learn more.

The show will go up in early February, 2010, and be up for three months. The letter to artists and RFP is available on our home page.

Ranch Community

Here at the Ranch we've been pondering a redesign of our website. Having completed six Artposia and six residencies, we are bogged down by constant changes to the site. With a redesign we plan to migrate to a data-base driven site. That would make admin changes easier. Blah blah blah.

The more important part is the online community–all of you who do or do not participate physically, and are interested in exploring the intersection of art, science and land/human issues. We would like to have the site do more than report upcoming events and store past events. What if the site could be a meeting space for individuals of all types who are interested in a certain topic? Based on that topic, what if we could link to artists, orgs, scientists, and other thinkers? What if discussions could take place? What if recommendations could be made for future Artposia? What if the community could help envision an actual ranch for residencies and events? Huh? What if?

There is a site out there called Polyvore that allows people to create collages of fashion items. The picture becomes what we used to call a brand board–a reflection of color, mood, tone and image. Now, this site attracts me not a bit. I wear blue jeans and t-shirts unless I am getting dressed up to go to Safeway, and then I might wear a button shirt. The technology, however, is intriguing. What if (yup, another what if?) the viewser could select a topic and then add elements such as: presenters, artists, music, images, books, articles, performances, of videos to that topic? The resulting think-collage could be saved and become a point of discussion for the next person. Would you like this?

What else would you like to see on our site?

Monday, November 9, 2009

Carpenter Ranch Residency

The Nature Conservancy in Colorado has agreed to collaborate with Colorado Art Ranch on an annual residency on the Carpenter Ranch near Hayden, Colorado. They previously allowed us to host three artists and an Artposium at the ranch in 2008. The ranch is in a unique setting along the Yampa River in Routt County and boasts a rare narrow-leaf cottonwood forest. The property has the original ranch house and barn that are on the historical registry.

We will begin hosting three visual and literary artists at the ranch in September 2010. These artists will work a few hours each week for the ranch and meet with school groups for one day. The rest of the time they are free to pursue their work and ramble around on the 900 acres of the ranch. There are materials available for sculpture in the bone yard, and birds, beeves and beaves on the property. Information is on the residency section of the Colorado Art Ranch web site.

Friday, November 6, 2009

TAPPED in Golden

Peggy and I went to the screening of TAPPED last night at the Mountain Center in Golden as part of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival. This is a movie about all aspects of the bottled water industry in the United States although the effects are global. The film covered issues such as the privatization of water, problems with aquifer depletion, chemicals in the plastics (both in manufacturing and for consumers), and what happens to the bottles when they are empty.

I had been aware of these problems, but not the severity. Nestle's (Perrier and Arrowhead in the west) attempts to control water supplies have been legendary, but they are not alone. Coca-Cola (Aquafina), Pepsi (Dasani), Suez, RWE and Vivendi. See Public Citizen for descriptions.

I also did not fully understand the effects of bisphenol-A. The off-gassing was known to me and that it had been linked to reproductive problems, but that is just the tip of the ice berg. More than 200 animal studies have linked ingesting minute amounts of the
substance to a range of reproductive problems, brain damage, immune deficiencies, metabolic abnormalities, and behaviors like hyperactivity, obesity, learning deficits.

Prior to the screening we had dinner with John Graham and Michele Riggio of Chaffee Citizens for Sustainability who have been fighting Nestle in the Arkansas River Valley. We were also joined by Jim Wilfong, a former Maine legislator, who has been fighting Nestle in Maine for the past six years.

TAPPED is a good example of artists using their skills and passions to react to what they find in the world. What else is being done? Where are the arts being used to address water issues? Email me and let me know.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Metro Design Students and the Ranch

I used to teach graphic design and typography. I enjoyed the interaction with the students and watching to see what their minds could come up with. There was always a mix of students and over time they seemed to form archetypes–the talented, the lazy, the clueless, the hard worker, the disadvantaged. I loved them all. I knew they would not all be designers, but I could teach them to see and to think visually. I could teach them to use their creative abilities to solve problems regardless of what they ended up doing to make a living. The ones who had the drive, passion, and talent would actually become designers. It was all very fulfilling. Unfortunately it was also fulfilling of all my time, and did you know what teaching pays?

I have continued an association with Metro State College of Denver, where I last taught. For three Colorado Art Ranch Artposia I have worked with classes of design students to create graphics. What's So Funny About Art, Sex and Sensibility, and now Wade in the Water have all used student designers. It gives the students a chance to work with a real client with real parameters and real foibles. The winning student gets the added advantage of having printed work for their portfolio.

The latest winner is Marlena Baker. Marlena's work stood out from the other 17 students for it's grace and relationship to the water topic. She will now work with me to develop postcards, posters, a program, fliers, and a banner. The mark she created is at the top of this blog. Congratulations Marlena, and thank you to all the students who worked on this project and the instructor, Jess Wurtzel, who put the project together.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Water Music

Next May Colorado Art Ranch is hosting an Artposium called Wade in the Water. We'll explore art, science and policy as they relate to that most precious liquid–water. Peggy and I have been researching all aspects of water and the people who are doing inspired work related to water. The gospel tune, Wade in the Water, is compelling theme for this Artposium. It is a simple song with layered meaning. The song was sung by slaves in America and some say it is partly advice on eluding tracking dogs. It also suggests troubled times and yet hope. Beyond all that it is a beautiful song that reverberates in the soul and sticks in the mind.

Choosing an Artposium title led me to other songs about water. There are quite a few. I asked musician David Tipton to come up with a list. David can play many instruments, but his focus is on the Chapman Stick. This instrument combines elements of a guitar and synthesizer. It appears to be very complicated guitar, and can play an incredible range of sounds. David performed for two of our Artposia, What's So Funny About Art? and Sex and Sensibility.
David lives in Salida and plays gigs whenever and where ever he can.

Here is David Tipton's water music list in no particular order. Please contact us if you would like to add to it.

Water Music - Handel
Aquas De Marco - Antonio Carlos Jobim
Wade In The Water - Traditional
Washing Of The Water - Peter Gabriel
Slish - Splash - Bobby Darin
Rain - The Beatles
Take Me To The River - Al Green
Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon and Garfunkel
Cool Water - Sons of the Pioneers
When The Levee Breaks - Led Zeppiln
Here Comes The Flood - Peter Gabriel
Water - The Who
Beyond The Sea - Bobby Darin
Hands Across The Water - Paul McCartney
The Water - Feist
Cool, Cool, Water - Beach Boys
Down By The Water - PJ Harvey
Black Water - Doobie Brothers
Smoke On The Water - Deep Purple
Clear Blue Water - Oceanlab
Water - Blue King Brown
Cold Water - Damien Rice
Bring Me Some Water - Melissa Etheridge
Gimmie Some Water - Eddie Money
Water - Brad Paisley
Glass Of Water - Coldplay
Still Waters Run Deep - The Four Tops
The Water Is Wide - Traditional
Water Line - Sage Francis
You Don't Miss Your Water - Craig David
Deep Water - Jewel
Cold Water Music - Aim
Sea Of Love
The Ocean - Led Zeppelin
Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
Lazy River - Hoagy Carmichael
Don't Go Near The Water - Beach Boys
Cry Me A River - Julie London
Dock Of The Bay - Otis Redding
Waterfalls _ TLC
Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea - Cab Calloway
Singing In The Rain - Gene Kelly
How Deep Is The Ocean - Irving Berlin