Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM), in partnership with the Escalante Canyons Art Festival, piloted the Escalante Canyons Artist-in-Residence (ECAiR) program in 2012.  Nancy Lewis, a landscape artist from Palisade, Colorado, was selected as the first artist-in-residence and spent the month of September painting in and around Escalante and the Monument.  

Lewis, who works in pastel, watercolor and oil, was provided with accommodations, a stipend, and exhibit and sales space during the festival, held at the end of her residency the end of September. In exchange, she agreed to produce 15 en plein air (“in the open air”) paintings, conduct a community service project and an artists’ workshop during the festival, and allow use of a selected artwork for reproduction and promotional purposes.

“This residency provided me an opportunity ... to study and paint in an area of extreme beauty and intrigue,” Lewis said. “This region has unique design elements: massive shapes, value ranges, contrasting colors, and atmospheric perspective.” 

The first ECAiR proved to be a resounding success for Lewis, GSENM and ECAF. Many of the 90-plus artists attending the festival requested more information about the program and promised to submit applications for 2013. Applications are scheduled to be solicited in January 2013.

The purpose of the ECAiR program is two-fold. First, it promotes awareness through art of the exceptional natural and cultural treasures preserved and protected by GSENM. Second, the program seeks to firmly establish the Escalante Canyons region in southern Utah as a destination for artists and those who love art. The ECAiR aspires to share the scenic beauty and unique stories of the NLCS with the public through the world of art.