SHERIDAN — A working cattle ranch 20 miles southeast of Sheridan in the Lower Piney Creek Valley welcomes four visual artists and two writers to the Jentel Artist Residency Saturday.
The residents will spend a month at the residency to immerse themselves in their craft. Deborah Coombs, a stained glass artist from Vermont, compared the residency to "almost like being a child, no obligations” or “going back to the old days with fewer distractions.”
It will be Coombs' second time attending Jentel, saying she was “thrilled to be coming back again” and “privileged to be among such a prestigious group."
Her stained glass pieces incorporate geometry. This coming month, she plans to further her work of various mathematically precise sculptures and drawings of quasicrystalline structures, as well as an academic paper regarding her experiments.
She said often in residencies new ideas are bound to surface, which she sees as an opportunity to embrace the serendipity.
May Jeong, a writer and journalist from New York, shared similar sentiments.
"My writing is organically influenced by my environment,” Jeong said.
Never having been to Wyoming before, she said it would be refreshing to spend some time away from the distractions of New York.
"Psychic or geographic separation is tremendously helpful for writing and generating ideas," Jeong said.
Previously based in Afghanistan and now in New York, May is a journalist at Vanity Fair Magazine. She plans to continue her narrative nonfiction piece about sex work in the U.S. during her month at Jentel.
Hoping to make headway on her book and collect her thoughts, she expressed excitement the “only job when you wake up is to think about your material.”
David Cote, playwright and theater critic also from New York, looked forward particularly to download ing and forming his thoughts.
Cote has visited two times prior at similar residencies in Ucross and Dayton. He has enjoyed his time exploring different artist colonies in eastern Wyoming.
"It’s much different from New England where I grew up," Cote said. "Deer are everywhere, just walking around.”
At Jentel, Cote will investigate and write a script regarding Aristotle’s rumored lost second book of poetics. The lost writings are musing about comedy, and Cote hopes to convey what the lost writings may have conveyed in his script.
He has been studying old joke books from the 1940s and 1950s to investigate how comedy has changed over time.
"Comedy is all over like oxygen," Cote said, but also hopes to explore the "dark side of comedy and whether its use in politics is really about facism or liberation.”
Landscape painter Laura Collomb, previously working as a college administrator, is pursuing her art full time.
She will be making her first trip to Wyoming this month at Jentel, although she has traveled westward from her Florida home to Colorado, Utah and various spots on the West Coast.
The change in scenery will be the main focus in Collomb’s paintings at Jentel. She typically goes out into the woods for her inspiration at home and profiles the swampy, shrub and brushy environment of Florida.
She says that usually she brings her camera with her into nature rather than painting on sight due to Florida being “characteristically super buggy.”