New group of artists-in-residence are picked to live and work at this Utah national park

The four artists will be showcasing their work in June, July, September and October at Capitol Reef.

(Danny Chan La/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP, File) This undated photo shows Hickman Arch at Capitol Reef near Torrey, Utah. Capitol Reef National Park has announced its 2021 Artists in Residence program, which pays living expenses for artists to live, work and practice their crafts amid the park’s spectacular landscapes.

St. George • A painter, a printmaker, a photographer and a writer walk into a national park — for their artist residency, of course.

Capitol Reef National Park announced the 2021 Artists-in-Residence on Tuesday, marking the fifth year of the program, the Spectrum reported.

The four artists — David Hunter, Maureen Moll, Rick Young and Claire Giordano — will be showcasing their crafts in June, July, September and October, respectively.

Artists-in-residence can be found in over 50 national parks around the country, including Arches and Zion, as well as Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, in Utah.

Residents at Capitol Reef receive a rent-free furnished house in the Fruita district of the park and a $500 award from a local conservation group, the Entrada Institute, for expenses.

“Especially now, during the pandemic, art can bring joy to our lives,” program coordinator Penni Torgerson said in a press release.

The residency allows for these artists to practice their crafts amid spectacular landscapes, the application website said.

Applicants were chosen based on merit and ability to “communicate the park’s national significance and its relevance to park visitors,” it said.

During the program, the artists are required to work 40 hours a week in the park and present one or two 45-minute public interpretive programs. After, they will donate a Capitol Reef-inspired product of the superintendant’s choosing to the Capitol Reef Natural History Association, another sponsor of the program.

This year, the park was particularly looking for a night sky photographer to showcase Capitol Reef’s International Dark Sky certification, a position filled by Hunter.

Hunter, a California elementary school teacher and former photojournalist, has completed previous residencies and showcased his work in other national parks.

“He strongly believes it is his responsibility to use photography to promote stewardship of the land and awareness of its cultural and natural history,” his bio on the park website said.

Moll is a professionally trained lithographic printer from Pennsylvania, who works with woodcuts, linocuts, screen prints and lithographs.

“It is with gratitude, joy, and a tinge of heartache that I observe nature, because the beauty I see is fleeting; it will be lost to human development, climate change, or simply the passage of time, and it is that knowledge that informs and inspires my work, whether abstract, representational or somewhere in between,” Moll said in a statement.

Young is a Colorado-based painter and former teacher who completed a residency at Mesa Verde National Park in 2019.

“It is the artist’s hope that his paintings lead viewers to look at the world differently—to see more color, more movement, more whimsy in the landscape,” his bio on the park website said.

Giordano, a Washington native, is an environmental artist and writer whose recent work focuses on climate change. She is also the founder of the Adventure Art Academy and leads regular virtual art lessons outside.

“Through paint and words, Claire strives to forge emotional connections between people and place, and to invite others to approach science and out changing world with curiosity and empathy,” her bio on the park website said.

Former park superintendent and program founder Leah McGinnis said the program not only build connections with artists but benefits visitors’ experience as well.

“This residency program is an exciting progression of our relationship with the artist community, and will give visitors the chance to know Capitol Reef in a new and different way, through the eyes of an artist,” she said in 2017.

K. Sophie Will is the National Parks reporter for The Spectrum & Daily News through the Report for America initiative by The GroundTruth Project.