Blue Sage Arts Center, Paonia, CO.


This project was the result of a two week residency at Elsewhere Studios in Paonia, Colorado, and was co-created with the community members of this tiny Rocky Mountain town. Paonia has survived and thrived despite major blows to the local economy due to the passage of the Clean Air Act and the resulting closure of two coal mines. Despite the mass exodus of coal miners and their families out of the North Fork Valley, Paonia remains a culturally rich community ripe with volunteerism, community activism, environmentalism, arts and music. I was curious about how this happened and interviewed residents about their impact on the community and development of culture. After I curated my collection of recordings (including influential sounds), I broke them down to a few significant words to make small sound bytes. I took the waveform of the soundbyte, standardized it, and scaled it up to create this sculpture.

Due to limited time and space, I could not include every person’s interview in the final sculpture, but am thankful to have met so many interesting characters, specifically: Eric Darby, Sharon Elaine, Ryan Redeford,  Karen Good, Lael Langstrom, Willow, Thomas Smith, Heidi Hudek, Todd Sheets, Donald Mann, and Paul Maudlin.