Past Artists in Residence, 2014-2017
Meredith Leich - 2017
Meredith Leich is a videomaker, painter, and writer, who works with video installation, 3D animation, watercolor, music, and text. Inspired by a desire to observe, preserve, and craft narratives about our changing world, she weaves together stories of history, geography, psychology, and the climate. She is a graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (MFA in Film, Video, New Media, and Animation, 2017) and also has degrees from Swarthmore College and the San Francisco Art Institute. Her climate change-based collaboration with glaciologist Andrew Malone was awarded a 2015-16 Arts, Science & Culture Initiative Graduate Collaboration Grant from the University of Chicago and has been featured in conferences at the University of California in Santa Barbara and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Jowita Wyszomirska - 2017
Jowita Wyszomirska was born in Poland and immigrated with her family to Chicago in the early 90s. With an interdisciplinary approach to drawing, and projects ranging from site-specific installations to video experimentations, she expands beyond the two-dimensional surface to explore edges of tangible and intangible of what cannot be seen with a naked eye. Her work has been shown in exhibitions including Gallery Neptune and Brown, Washington DC, the Baltimore Museum of Art, MD, the VisArts, Rockville, MD, Foundry Art Centre, St. Charles, MO, among others. Wyszomirska received her BFA from the Illinois State University and her MFA from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Keren Lowell - 2016
Keren Lowell works full-time at the Alaska State Council on the Arts, acts as a board member of the International Gallery of Contemporary Art, and keeps an active studio practice. Her work moves freely between the realms of sculpture, installation, performance, and wearable art, exploring the language and metaphor intertwined with the materials and processes associated with fiber work – stitching, mending, repair, weaving, lacing, and braiding.
Shawn Skabelund - 2016
Shawn Skabelund is a visual storyteller who grew up in the small logging village of McCall, ID, in the mountains of Payette National Forest. Within the landscapes he inhabits, he observes and discovers materials he can use to create new landscapes and new forms. Shawn’s work focuses on what Wendell Berry calls the “unsettling of America”: the effects, the marks, and the changes that humans make on the land and cultures of a given area. His installations are designed to give viewers time and space to think about the local communities, economies, and ecosystems they inhabit. Learn more about his work at www.shawnskabelund.com.
Kevin Muente - 2015
Kevin Muente is an artist and professor who seeks out natural landscapes that inspire many. His paintings focus on the details of place and capture environments that awaken the soul. Muente gave a public lecture discussing what it's like to paint in National Parks, how he hoes about finding his subjects, and how he makes realistic paintings of man's role in nature.
Krista Langlois - 2015
Krista Langlois is an essayist and independent journalist living in Durango, Colorado. Her work has been published in Slate, Orion, High Country News, Adventure Journal and elsewhere. After spending two months traveling around Alaska, working on a series of magazine articles, she came to the WMC and shared her work in a public reading.
Erika Hanson - 2015
Erika's work explores the intersection of nature and how we continually try to represent and reproduce it. She creates weavings, videos, and installations, and in each project proposes potential connections amongst material, history, and place. Erika lead a community workshop where people could weave found objects and fibers on rustic warp weighted looms.
J. Jason Lazarus - 2015
J. Jason Lazarus is an Alaskan photographer and university educator who specializes in capturing little-known narratives of the world around him, rendering them as one-of-a-kind, handmade artworks. His work represents a fusion of both digital and analog techniques, including cyanotype, gel medium transfers, van dyke brown, and albumen. He is interested in exploring and capturing stories about historic mines in Alaska.
Zoe Keller - 2017
Zoe Keller uses fine-point mechanical pencils to create large-scale, highly detailed drawings of the natural world. Her images are woven with stories meant to inspire and inform, with a special focus on imperiled species and ecosystems. Her work has been shown in galleries across the country, and is included in the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art. Originally from Woodstock, New York, Zoe’s art practice has taken her around the country, from the rocky Maine coast, to the shores of Lake Michigan, and finally to the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. She currently resides in Portland, Oregon.
Jill Haley - 2017
Jill Haley has released 4 recordings of original music about the United States National Parks. The instrumental music is scored for oboe, English horn, piano, guitar, French horn, cello and percussion. Her 3rd recording, “Mesa Verde Soundscapes,” received the “Best Piano Album- with Instrumentation” award from ZMR in 2014. She presents concerts of National Park music with video of the images that inspired the compositions. She has done programs on Glacier, Zion and Bryce Canyon, and National Park Soundscapes.
She has been an Artist in Residence at 3 National Parks, Badlands, Glacier, and Mesa Verde. This afforded her the opportunity to live in the Park for an extended time while she was creating the music.
Julia Rosen - 2016
Julia Rosen is a writer, photographer, and adventurer based in Portland, Oregon. Her work has appeared in publications including Orion, High Country News, and the Los Angeles Times. Trained as a geologist, she is interested in understanding the processes that shape the natural world—and our fraught relationship to it. Explore her work at https://sciencejulia.wordpress.com.
Peter Bell - 2016
Peter Bell is a San Francisco and New York based director and independent filmmaker. He is currently producing a film about McCarthy and the people of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park. His previous credits include the award-winning film "High Sierra—A Journey on the John Muir Trail" and the Emmy-winning work with the PBS show "Our State" in North Carolina. He has worked for CNN in New York and shot and edited countless other productions across the web and the world. He feels a connection to light, sound, storytelling, and his wife Mimi, a fellow visual storyteller.
Joe Barrington - 2014
Joe is a full-time sculptor from Throckmorton, Texas. He is interested in man’s relationship and impact on the nature world, and he explores this through both subject matter and material choices. As part of his residency, Joe will be worked with found objects and the community to build a public art piece which was unveiled at a First Friday gathering. Learn more about Joe and his work at www.redstarstudio.com.
Jonny Gray - 2014
Jonny is a professor and performer on the faculty of Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Jonny will be lead a Mountain Arts for Youth program for kids of all ages to construct Big Head puppets inspired by the wild creatures we live amongst in Wrangells. He will also be built his own original creations for the Wrangell Mountains Center’s collection. These puppets participated in the annual July 4th parade. Jonny's website
Ann Johnston - 2014
Ann Johnston is an internationally known fiber artist whose pioneering work in low immerse dye techniques are standard practice for today’s textile dyer. Ann was a guest artist at this 2014's SEW FUN workshop and also presented the lecture Which Comes First? as part of our Summer Arts and Lectures Series.
Gabriela Halas - 2017
Gabriela Halas is an emerging writer, testing the publishing waters by submitting short stories and poetry to contests and open publication submissions. Gabriela’s work was featured in the show Arctic Perspectives: An Arctic Art and Science Event, at the University of Alaska Art Department exhibit in March, 2016.
Gabriela explores both prose and poetry, using a diversity of voices to capture the emotionality of everyday life. Her stories are character focused and place driven, engaging natural phenomena with dark, often conflicting, and always complicated human sentiments. Her poems capture fleeting moments, hoping to capture when the ‘natural’ and the ‘human’ are no longer contained in separate words.
Sarah McColl - 2017
Sarah McColl is a winner of StoryQuarterly's 2016 Nonfiction Prize judged by Meghan Daum. Her essays have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, JSTOR Daily, South Dakota Review, Green Mountains Review, In Context Journal, and alongside work by Ander Monson, Brenda Miller, David Shields, and Jenny Boully in the forthcoming anthology, The Shell Game, edited by Kim Adrian (University of Nebraska Press, 2018).
Her work is driven by a sense of wonder and has been supported with fellowships and scholarship awards from the MacDowell Colony, Ucross, Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Slice Literary Conference.
Before receiving her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College, she was the founding editor in chief of Yahoo Food. Her food writing has been featured in print and online for Bon Appétit, House Beautiful, Modern Farmer, Extra Crispy and others. She writes, edits, and teaches creative writing in New York.
Nina Elder - 2016
Nina Elder is an artist, adventurer, and arts administrator. She grew up in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and New Mexico where she cultivated love for the land and curiosity about its use. Nina’s work is exhibited and collected nationally and has been featured in Art in America, VICE Magazine, and New American Paintings, as well as PBS and NPR. Nina examines historic land use and its cycles of production, consumption, and waste. Mines, bombing ranges, and junk heaps are source material for her landscape paintings and representational drawings that explore the line between land and landscape, beauty and banality. Visit her website at http://ninaelder.com.
Megan Grumbling - 2014
Robert Frost Award winner Megan Grumbling’s work explores story, history, and the natural world. She lead a poetry workshop, Renewable Energies, that was open to the public about generating visceral and high energy material for poems.
Nancy Lord - 2014
Former Alaska State Writer Laureate Nancy Lord has spent the last twenty years capturing the Alaskan experience and putting it on the page. Among her published books are three collections of short stories and five works of literary non-fiction, including the memoir Fishcamp, the cautionary tale Beluga Days, and the front-lines story of climate change, Early Warming. Nancy gave a public reading and talk about her work as part of our Summer Arts and Lectures Series.
Elizabeth Irving - 2014
Elizabeth Eero Irving is a multi-media artist living and working in Fairbanks, Alaska. Her work features strong graphic lines of every day Alaskan things and lives. She worked with the community to set up McCarthy’s first Letterboxing site. Letterboxing is an intriguing pastime that combines navigational skills and rubber stamp artistry in a charming “treasure hunt” style outdoor quest. You can find out more about letter boxing here.