Willowtail Springs, a Mancos nonprofit that hosts artist residencies, will hold a community fundraiser on Sunday.
The Willowtail Springs Bed and Breakfast has been in business for more than 25 years, but for the last five, it has also been the home of a nonprofit supporting one- to three-week residencies for artists of all types. On Sunday, afternoon, the organization will host an “Art in the Afternoon” event, including art demonstrations by former residents, live music and dancing, a silent auction and an art sale. Proceeds from the fundraiser will go to scholarships for prospective artists in residence.
Peggy Cloy, executive director of the Willowtail residency program, said the organization wasn’t able to hold its annual fundraiser last year because one of the staff members was having surgery. But she said the one in 2015 was very successful, drawing about 150 people and raising $10,000 for a matching grant. She hopes for similar turnout this year, not just to raise money, but also to remind Montezuma County residents that Willowtail exists.
“It’s just as much to get the community out here and get them excited about the resource that we have here,” she said.
Willowtail offers lectures, classes and open studio events for residents, all focused on the natural landscape that surrounds the facility. Artists from all over the country can apply for residency, and many study at Willowtail through its partnership with the Durango Arts Center. But Cloy said she would like to see more people from the Mancos area taking advantage of the program, or donating to it. She said she and the rest of the staff are trying to work harder at reaching out to locals, who are often less familiar with her residencies than artists in Durango.
Sunday’s event will be free and open to the public, but Cloy said all donations are appreciated. Right now grants, individual donations and funding from the Durango Arts Center provide enough money to pay for around 20 residencies per year, but Cloy said she would like to offer more.
“I have probably about 15 wonderful applicants from all over the country every week,” she said. “But our funding is not robust enough to accommodate all of them.”
The recent residents who plan to offer demonstrations on Sunday include fabric artist Ilze Aviks, painter Carol Meckling, and mixed media artist Crystal Hartman. Several former Willowtail residents will also display and sell their work. Fly fishing experts will give demonstrations in the lake on Willowtail’s property, and 20 Moons Dance Co., of Durango, will perform along with live music. Cloy said visitors do not have to sign up in advance.
“Hopefully we’ll have great weather, and great music, and everyone will have a good time,” she said.