mesa verde artist in residenceMESA VERDE, CO:  Watercolor painter Larry Hughes will serve as Mesa Verde National Park’s Artist in Residence from May 1 through May 13, 2017. Larry offer two free programs during his residency.  Local residents and visitors are welcomed to join the Larry for a nature walk and watercolor workshop at Parque de Vida in Cortez on Thursday, May 11 from 3:30-5:00 p.m. Park at the Recreation Center parking lot and meet at the Amphitheater (behind the Rec Center next to the pond). This is a great after-school activity for parents and kids.  On Friday, May 12 at 3:00 p.m.meet at Chapin Mesa Archeological Museum lobby and come prepared to hike, observe and paint the wonders of Mesa Verde National Park.  Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Please call 970-529-4642 to preregister. Materials will be provided and space is limited.

During his residency at Mesa Verde, Larry’s artistic focus will explore the Ancestral Pueblo culture’s fit to the natural landscape. In addition to plein air (outdoors) painting along trails and at archaeological sites, his public programs will be a hands-on art class, demonstrating an “anxiety-free” approach to watercolors for people of all ages.  Larry, who is from Memphis, Tennessee, will complete his fourth consecutive national park residency at Mesa Verde. His previous residencies were Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas, 2014; Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona, 2015; and Zion National Park, Utah in 2016. Artist in Residence terms are competitive positions offered by some national parks to promote the goals of preservation by the National Park Service.

This is the first year the park is offering AIR public programs in local communities, recognizing it is sometimes difficult for local residents to make the time to drive to the park for programs. The goal is to include more local residents by taking the programs to the communities. Three of the artists this year plan a local program in either Cortez or Mancos. Dates, times and venue will be announced.

Mesa Verde National Park’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program provides professional artists the opportunity to become part of a long established tradition of artists creating art in our national parks. The AIR program offers professional writers, composers, and visual and performing artists the opportunity to pursue their particular art form while being surrounded by the inspiring ancient architecture of the Ancestral Pueblo people and the sweeping natural landscape of the park. This year’s artists were selected from over 45 applicants by a jury of five consisting of the Chief of Interpretation, MVMA staff, and three professional artists. Other 2017 artists include ceramicist Brad Bachmeier, photographer Christopher Eaton, painter Carol Chamberland, and photographer Kit Frost.

Learn more at www.nps.gov/meve/getinvolved/air_artists.htm and at www.mesaverde.org

The AIR program is managed by the nonprofit Mesa Verde Museum Association (MVMA), the park’s innovative educational partner that inspires life-long stewardship of the Mesa Verde region’s cultural and natural heritage. Through MVMA’s operation of park bookstores, free or low-cost seminars, workshops, and special programs, visitors of all ages gain a new, behind-the-scenes understanding of Mesa Verde. Proceeds from all association programs support Mesa Verde National Park. Learn more at www.mesaverde.org or by calling 970-529-4445.