Amanda Palmer: Trinidad History Museum’s Second Creative in Residence
Starting this year, the Trinidad History Museum is hosting a Creatives in Residence program for artists from around the country to have the opportunity to create and share their talent with the southern Colorado community. The first Creative in Residence was painter Leigh Ann Elliott, selected earlier this year. The latest is Amanda Palmer, whose residency was announced in August and began in September.
Amanda has spent nearly three months at the Trinidad History Museum, teaching classes and conducting workshops for students and artists of all ages and skill levels. She was kind enough to answer a few questions for the History Colorado blog, and had quite a few things to say about her time in Trinidad.
How did you first come into contact with History Colorado?
Since I first read about Trinidad about two years ago, I’ve been following the progress of Corazon de Trinidad/Space to Create…. As an artist I find the concept very intriguing. My photographer husband and I have been traveling the past four winters in search of a new place to live in the West. (We originally met in San Francisco and both wanted a less harsh climate than northern New York.) I’ve been doing artist residencies—mostly in National Parks—during these trips. I became a fan of many Trinidad pages on Facebook and also did regular artist residency searches online. When I saw that the Trinidad History Museum offered a Creative-in-Residence opportunity, I jumped on it.
Had you been to Colorado before? What did you think of it? And what do you think of it now?
My husband and I lived one winter in Breckenridge many years ago. We really loved our time in the mountains and took full advantage of the cross-country and telemark skiing opportunities there. We lived at 11,000 feet on Baldy and enjoyed just slapping on our skis and taking a quick run up the hill behind our friends’ house. It was amazing. Over the last 20 years I’ve visited the state only to go to ancient sites like Mesa Verde.
I absolutely love Trinidad and the surrounding area. The town itself is still so loaded with charm, great buildings, and more artists than I’ve ever met in one small town!
I’d already been awarded the CiR and was emailing details with [museum director] Kirby Stokes when my husband passed away suddenly in July. It’s been the perfect place for me to reside while I heal and mourn. I’ve met so many artistic and fun people and have been embraced warmly. Trinidad has become my muse and has offered me more imagery and juice for my printmaking and photography than any place I’ve ever lived. It’s also a great town for someone who loves to walk and run as much as I do.
As an artist, what inspires you about Trinidad and southern Colorado?
I’ve loved the Southwest since I was a child traveling here with my family. For almost 30 years my husband and I wandered the deserts, mountains, and ancient sites of the Four Corners region in search of inspiration. I’d never spent time in southern Colorado and am inspired each time I go for a drive or long walk. The mesas, varied history, ravens and magpies, the dry desert air, the amazing blue skies and clouds all pique my interest and inspire my work. In the six weeks I’ve been in Trinidad I’ve nearly completed two 12 x 18 relief prints, and I’m working on my third. The work is time-consuming (it took about 20+ hours to carve one of those relief blocks) and it's unheard of for me to be working so quickly and feeling so inspired. I also love that I can do hours of work and then take a walk down Main Street for a little break and see and talk to other artists...and yet live in a place that still feels somewhat isolated and out-of-the-way. It’s very stimulating.
What brought you back to Trinidad?
Trinidad is the place for me. I see a very exciting and positive future for myself and my artwork here, despite having recently lost the love of my life. The changes I see and hear about happening in the town, the wonderful people I’ve met, and the contributions I can make to arts organizations in Trinidad make it clear to me that there’s an exciting future here. I’ll be moving to town just as soon as I can sell my house and move everything from northern New York.
Amanda Palmer will be with the Trinidad History Museum through November, and invites everyone who has the opportunity to consider paying the museum a visit.