BY SARA SCHILLING
SEPTEMBER 30, 2017 1:29 PM
Laurel Terlesky is a celebrated artist who’s spent years exploring touch and memory.
She’s based in Canada, and she’s worked and exhibited around the world.
She’s about to add a stint in the Tri-Cities to her list.
Terlesky is the first participant in the new Guest House Cultural Capital Residency through Washington State University Tri-Cities.
The program invites creative scholars in varying fields to live and work in Richland for short periods of time, from one week to one month. They conduct research that’s inspired by the area or that seeks to build culture and community in the region, and they make connections with students and community members along the way.
“We hope this will culminate in some fruitful projects,” said Peter Christenson, an assistant professor of fine arts and the residency program’s director.
It’s an opportunity for the scholars to work and research in a new setting, and for the community to get an infusion of new ideas and inspiration, he said.
Terlesky arrives in Richland this weekend.
Like the other resident scholars who’ll come to town over the next several months, she’ll stay at the Guest House, a “living learning community” a couple miles from campus.
Terlesky is staying about two weeks.
She’s based in Squamish, British Columbia, and holds a master of fine arts from Transart Institute and a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Victoria.
In recent years, she’s focused on exploring memory and touch, from installations such as Weighted Strings, which used wires to meditate on connection, and Surface Rupture, which explored the skin’s surface and the power of touch.
She’s completed residencies in other places, but the Guest House Cultural Capital Residency is her first in the U.S. She’ll work on a project about hope.
Terlesky said she’s excited to make the trip.
During a residency, “you’re out of your day-to-day situation. You’re there, you’re focused on your work without a lot of other distractions,” she said.
And it’s a chance to make new connections and be inspired, she said. Terlesky said she’s especially looking forward to working with students.
As part of the program, the resident scholars interact with Guest House students and the community through lectures and other creative activities. They’re also asked to donate a piece of research or art to a GH Cultural Capital Permanent Collection.
Terleksy’s schedule of public events will be posted on the residency program’s website, ghccres.tumblr.com, this week.
People also can inquire about appointments with her by emailing Christenson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with Terlesky, five other resident scholars have been chosen for the program so far. Three more will make trips this fall, and two will arrive in the spring.
But, “we’re hoping to grow that number,” Christenson said, noting the program has received more than 50 submissions from creatives all over the world.
The program is funded in part through the Guest House. Chris Meiers, vice chancellor of enrollment management and student services, and Danielle Kleist, director of student life and services, helped make the program happen, along with former WSU Tri-Cities official Brandon Fox.
Christenson said he’s excited to welcome Terlesky and kick off the residency program.
“The goal, first and foremost, is to give students and the community access to diverse research practices and scholarship,” he said. “More broadly, we’re hoping that this continues to build culture in the Tri-Cities. We want to keep Tri-Cities on the map, and we want these (scholars) to think about how we can enhance the cultural capital of the Tri-Cities.”
Sara Schilling: 509-582-1529, @SaraTCHerald
Local artists’ project creates images and poetry of abandoned objects
Jennifer Thuncher | Squamish Chief
April 7, 2016 06:00 AM
Laurel Terlesky sees a single black glove along the trail at Nexen Beach. Instead of passing it by as other walkers do, Terlesky takes out her camera and snaps a photo, it is for her Narratives of the Lost project.
Terlesky takes pictures of left items she finds in her travels and poet Bren Simmers puts words to the images.
Terlesky explains the project: “To be able to develop a narrative about our community and try to get a lens back to the owners who might have had these objects, and also objects have been left in certain places, so really finding a sense of identity through the land and the people that are here…
“I feel like our community is transitioning a lot, there’s a lot of new people moving here and even with Nexen and the Oceanfront starting to get developed too.”
“That was a pretty good one,” she said of the trophy, which didn’t have a nameplate.
A collared dress shirt left on a bench out in the rain was another curious item Terlesky found – a “deflated shirt, like someone had just walked out of it.”
The items point to a unique character of Squamish, Terlesky said.
“It is not that they were just left on the side of the path or something. They are carefully hung up on a tree or put somewhere,” she said.
Rather than just images, Terlesky wanted a narrative added to enhance the project, so she contacted the poet Simmers to develop it more, and along with the photos, “start to create the conversation.”
Simmers, who has lived in Squamish for about two years, says penning poems for each item is an entry point for her into the stories and history of the district.
“I look through the different pictures she puts up and inevitably there will be one that will grab my attention,” Simmers said, adding the discarded trophy was definitely one that got her thinking. “How did it get there? And why didn’t the person put it in the garbage can? They couldn’t actually let go of it and just the whole scene suggested this sort of identity in transition, so I sort of went with it as a larger portrait of Squamish and it changing in terms of its identity in the world.”
The women want to make the project interactive, according to Simmers.
They are asking Squamish residents to send in images of lost objects they have seen, along with the location. Eventually, the plan is to print postcards with an image on one side and a poem on the back, Simmers said. The cards would be distributed around Squamish.
The Squamish Arts Council recently granted the project $2,000 from its 2016 Arts and Culture Enhancement Grant. The funds will help build toward a public show planned for the fall.
To send images or for more information, email Terlesky at email@example.com.
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