One of the oldest dreams of mankind is to find a dignity that might include all living beings. And one of the greatest of human longings must be to bring such dignity to one’s own dreams, for each to find his or her own life exemplary. . . . A way to do this is to pay attention to what occurs in a land not touched by human schemes, where an original order prevails.
- Barry Lopez - Arctic Dreams
The goal of The Mesa is to construct, promote, operate and maintain a residency center where, at any given time, eight writers and visual artists can work without outside intrusions. The program is patterned after other national retreat centers such as the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross, and Hedgebrook. The Mesa is distinguished by its spectacular setting along with its expansive arts and humanities community programs.
Residents will spend two to eight weeks in environmentally and artistically designed studio apartments working on creative projects, which will be shared with the public through presentations and exhibits throughout the state of Utah, and in particular, Springdale, St. George, Cedar City, and the smaller communities of Washington, Iron, Kane, Garfield and Piute Counties. These programs will include readings, lectures, exhibits, demonstrations, workshops, public media interviews, and school (K-12) programs led by Mesa residents. The Mesa will sponsor some of these events, while approved outside groups may organize others. The programming will provide a flow of creative expression between the participants and the Utah communities.
A selection committee of seasoned professionals from diverse disciplines will choose residents from a range of applicants, ensuring a rich exchange of ideas and perspectives and the possibility of generative collaboration. During certain periods between residency sessions, The Mesa will be available to other suitable individuals and groups, such as educators and students, for workshops and retreats.
Utah will benefit immensely from the long-range impact of work created at The Mesa. Residents at MacDowell and Yaddo, for example, have won Pulitzer Prizes, National Book Awards, and other major recognition with a worldwide cultural impact. The MESA is designed to support authors and artists in creating works with similar potential.
WORKING AT THE MESA
Writers and visual artists in residency at The Mesa will experience a grounded, productive, creative environment free from the noise and clutter of everyday life.
The residence periods are divided into eight-week blocks. The residents can choose to stay two to eight weeks. In the shorter time slots a new resident will replace one who is leaving, thus maintaining full occupancy during each time block. With this rotating schedule, The Mesa can serve between seventy-five and eighty residents a year. From time to time, The Mesa will invite individuals or groups to be guests. Individual fellowships may go to experienced writers, advisors and others who contribute to the health of The Mesa and its programing.
Residents are expected to observe certain simple guidelines for living at The Mesa. First and foremost is that they work. They must respect the land, plants and animals as well as the spirit of the place. They are free to walk the land at any time. During evenings, they may choose to socialize, have readings, games, music, etc.
Residents prepare their own breakfasts, the makings for which they will take back to their rooms after dinner the previous evening. Lunch will be delivered to their door unobtrusively. Dinner will be served in the dining room of the Commons. Residents are asked to be prompt at the evening meals, While the house staff will make every effort to meet special dietary needs.
Every effort will be made to ensure the solitude of the guests' workday. No visiting is permitted from cabin to cabin until after 4:00 p.m., and then by invitation only.
Writers must provide their own writing equipment, pencils, paper, computers and printers. Likewise, artists must also bring their supplies. Easels are provided. Everyone is expected to do their own housekeeping and laundry and at the end of their stay, leave their rooms as they found them.
Residents should plan on going without their pets, TVs, and without visits from friends and family except on weekends and evenings. If a guest wishes to spend the night with friends or family, he or she may check out. There are a variety of motel accommodations and camping places in and around Springdale.
Although residents may bring their cars to The Mesa, staff can pick them up in St. George for those arriving by air, shuttle or bus and return them at the end of their stay. There is a community library, restaurants, pharmacy, bookstore, grocery store and other small shops in Springdale within walking distance of The Mesa.
Applications and guidelines will be available here in the fall of 2018.