Jentel Artist Residency Program lies in the Lower Piney Creek Valley with spectacular views over scoria topped hills to the majestic Big Horn Mountains. The fertile valley grows abundant hay and alfalfa for cattle. Few houses or signs of human existence dot the two mile stretch of Piney Creek that flows through the property. Many reservoirs provide oases for cattle, wildlife, and humans. The seven separate structures which form the residency village architecturally reflect the landscape and agricultural setting. Log faced cabins on the old Collins' ranch serve as office, reception, conference area and writer studios, while a pole barn houses the visual artists studios. The sweeping lines of the Residency echo the surrounding mountains and hills and provide dynamic spaces and living quarters for the residents. The surrounds of the village are thoughtfully landscaped with a variety of trees and shrubs and an abundance of uproarious flowers. Sage and native grasses extend to the horizon and stretch across the foothills.
The Jentel Foundation strives to protect and sustain the pristine natural environment of the Piney Creek Valley by protecting and responsibly managing the unique plants and wildlife, by preserving the land from development, by protecting and preserving the Indian artifacts, by protecting and preserving any geological phenomena and through responsible land management practices.
The Jentel Artist Residency Program offers a spectacularly beautiful place to peacefully work and achieve personal artistic goals in an unfettered environment. The program provides a resource of time and space for artists to create their best work. Artists and writers know the value of time and space apart from normal life to create substantive work. For any artist in whatever media, protected time from the day to day necessities of earning a living, answering the phone, and taking care of family to examine and reflect upon work and the creative process is essential as a catalyst for artistic development.
The Jentel Artist Residency Program supports artists and writers who are hardworking and serious about their intent, who have proven themselves by publication or solo exhibition or who may not necessarily be well known and who show the ability to articulate a personal vision. The program welcomes artists in all media and writers in all genre.
Facilities: Old Collins Ranch
After operation for two years at a temporary site, Jentel began year round programming on January 15, 2003 on 80 acres at the site of the former Collins Ranch. The Lower Creek Valley and the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains shape the landscape and define the setting for the residency located 20 miles southeast of Sheridan. Jentel includes seven buildings: two renovated ranch buildings and five new uniquely designed structures.
Facilities: Seven Structures
Renovation of one of the original ranch houses began almost immediately after breaking ground for new construction in September 2001. The Cabin now features a reception area, spacious offices for staff with views of the surrounding landscape and a large conference room. Other structures offer private studio spaces for artists and writers and storage and housing for Jentel and staff.
A weather worn wooden barn was dismantled and was reconstructed to house two studios for writers. A pole barn, a typical metal ranch outbuilding is outfitted with ventilation and lighting to accommodate four artists with large high ceiling studio spaces and maximum wall space.
Cathedral ceilings open the views to the west and further expand the spaciousness of the common areas in The Residence, the main house that provides a comfortable living space with communal areas designed for research, recreation, food preparation and dining and relaxation, as well as a private living area for each resident. A floor to ceiling glass wall in the living room area of the residence faces a west-south-west direction taking full advantage of the beautiful Big Horn Mountain range, including Black Tooth and Cloud’s Peak as well as Bomber Mountain. A woodstove and this beautiful view welcome activities in the living and dining areas. A cooking island and lower ceiling allows meal preparation in the kitchen area to be a more intimate experience, but also permits interaction from the living space. An open staircase defines a sunken conversation area beneath and leads to a library and a recreation room that both include balconies overlooking the creek and rolling hills to the east. The library offers a selection of art books, contemporary fiction and reference books along with Internet access. Times Square, the adjacent recreation room, offers a TV, VCR and video library, a CD player, a few board games and a place to relax.
Each residence has a private room with generous space for sleeping, relaxing and journaling. All rooms have immediate access to the outdoors and to spaces leading to the common areas. Clusters of common washroom facilities are well spaced for easy access and privacy.
Antique and contemporary furniture, assorted lighting fixtures, unusual baskets, hand woven rugs, forged metal work and a variety of brilliant textiles and brightly glazed and bulbous ceramics bring color and interest throughout The Residence. Ceiling to floor windows and open walls in rooms throughout the complex add to the beauty and richness of the Lower Piney Creek Valley with the majestic backdrop formed by the Big Horn Mountains to the west. Antique architectural details from area residential and commercial spaces play off contemporary and natural building materials.
Working side by side in step with the construction crews and the seasons, landscaping crews undertook major plans after the excavators contoured the immediate environs. Gardeners used native plants and grasses to create sitting and recreation areas around structures in the complex, while offering a transition to the wilder, natural setting of a working cattle ranch.
Throughout most of the year, a 1000 acre pasture adjacent to the complex offers residents
the opportunity to roam on an uncultivated and natural expanse and to experience another environment rich with history, wildlife and natural beauty. Sage, native grasses and plants texture the scoria topped hills and further define gullies and washes that serve as hiding and nesting places for a variety of birds and animals native to the area. Commanding views of the Big Horns are possible atop the Snake Hills. Wildlife trails and cow paths randomly crisscross the land and may be shared by residents as they explore unusual spots that are distinguished by their geological, historical, archeological or ecological value. They may also opt for trail blazing their own routes to solitude or a wandering walk shared with other residents.
Other pastures, a gravel county road and Lower Piney Creek shape the boundaries of the 80 acres on the Jentel site. Black Angus are raised on the ranch for beef and hay and alfalfa are the two agricultural crops that are raised to support that production. Numbers of cattle and numbers of acres in ranching country are never discussed in polite company. The question would be the equivalent to publishing details of someone’s investment portfolio, asking what their annual salary is or inquiring about net worth.