Arriving on Lower Piney Creek Road in the middle of March
I just spent a month at Jentel, an artist residency, in Banner, Wyoming.  I lived in Wyoming twenty years ago and have a strong memory of the landscape and conditions there but I didn't have a solid visual for what the accommodations would be like at this residency, so for my fellow artists considering going, I hope this helps you prepare.  

I found Jentel to be a real treat, a place to rest and rejuvenate with the permission to do whatever I needed to do.  It was an excellent escape from my  routine of life and work.  While there, I abandoned my normal pressures and relaxed.  Even so, I was productive.  I revisited old ideas, tossing some out while refreshing others, and  I generated truckloads of new ones.  I tracked tangents to their end or folded them in.   I met my self-imposed technical  goals with this newer bigger faster camera enough to build my confidence and use it with more ease.  Plus, I made new friends that I expect to keep for a long time. 

In this post, I'll focus on the resident house, studio facilities and the setting.  

Jentel driveway paved and lined with scoria gravel and boulders.
Jentel office cabin.

Writer's Studio/Coup (2 studios).
Visual Art Studios (4 studios).
Front view of the residence when drive up.

Echo in the snow by the main entrance of the residence.
Mudroom with plenty of orange vests.
Residence foyer.
Open kitchen and living room.
Living room and stairs.
I had the Hans Hoffman room.

The residence houses six artists with two wings, each with three bedrooms and two bathrooms, plus a half bath by the foyer.

I enjoy travel and a change of setting, so maybe in the end for me, home is where you hang your toothbrush?

Upstairs has a library and tv room.

Many details of the house have been thought out.  The house is well insulated so you don't hear your neighbors much or feel like the house is going to come down when the wind picks up.  Sturdy hooks, handles, laundry hampers (labeled by room no less) and generally smart house planning. 

And many pockets of light.

The studio space had everything I needed:  tables, a window, good lighting, a monster wall and lots of floor space and a sink.  It also had a bed that was a welcome comfort where I read more than expected.  (I brought my own big reading pillow but didn't really need it.)


In my mind, the big draw at Jentel is the setting.  

First, below is a view from the tippy top of the mountain directly behind the house and studio.  You can see that water wraps around the place, so when you walk from the house to studio you always hear running water and the birds, insects and toads it attracts.

Jentel is tucked into a bend in a river like an ideal campsite.

Never underestimate the drama of the constantly changing sky in Wyoming. 

Big rocks and big clouds.

The '1,000' is the vast property connected to Jentel available to resident artists to roam and explore.   A lot of the surrounding mountains (left photo) are cone-shaped dormant volcanic vents and stacks.  

Jentel is a working ranch.  Expect to see cowpies!
Important to pack:  If you like to hike, pack a windbreaker, hiking boots and clothes that can get muddy, stained and caked with red clay (especially in Spring), extra shoes or boots, a tick-repelling hat and warm layers and binoculars. For around the house, slippers are nice.

Wear orange vests for safety when you hike around Jentel.

The visual art studios in snow.
Amanda shoveled a path in the snow

While we were there mid-March to mid-April, birds were migrating north and it snowed a few times until Spring finally poked its way out.

See my post a studio of one's own for images of art I made while there. And Sheridan, Wyo for more notes on the area. (Both posts coming soon!)

Me, at the tops.

A fellow artist on another mountain.

If you have also been to Jentel and have more tips to add, that would be great, please include them in the comments!  (Added April 18, 2011.)


Laurie said...

Toni, I didn't know you did this. How neat! What kinds of projects did you work on? I'd like to see your work. Will have you and Bruce out soon to catch up. (and return your dishes)

Tonette said...

Hey Laurie! Yes, I just got back on Thursday and am slowly readjusting. Tomorrow will be a post with some of the studio work I did while there.

We would love to see you, just let us know!

p.s. If you come to town, give me a spontaneous jingle and we can meet for coffee, too. If you come soon, I'll hand off some of Bruce's amazing pretzels to you, too!

trena said...

Beautiful! What a great opportunity & gorgeous setting.

Tonette said...

Yes, it truly is a magnificent area. Hey T, did you see the little bit of Lesotho (and You) I am carrying on my hikes? You can see it more in the next post, too.

Anonymous said...

Great photos, Toni. Impressed with how you've organized and synthesized the experience! I don't have much to add except... there's a telescope for star-gazing; the frogs are harder to catch than one might think; when the wind stops, there are pockets of profound silence; and if you hike to the top of a butte to make a phone call, be sure you aren't standing on an anthill. ;) xo