Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jentel Residency Program

While in Wyoming, I drove out from Sheridan to visit the Jentel Residency Program. Jentel is not easy to find. From Sheridan, you drive southeast on Hwy 14. If you go by to visit, hopefully the road construction will be done. There were sections where the road just disappeared and you’re driving on either dirt or torn up pavement. You’ll come to a side road (#149) where you’ll turn right. On that gravel road, you drive about one and a half miles before you come to Jentel on the left.

You won’t miss it. It looks just like the pictures on their web page, only more spectacular. The buildings butt right up against huge red boulders and rock. I didn’t drive into the complex because their website requests no visitors except on the 14th when they’re between residents. But I did sit in my car at the end of their driveway and look (stare with mouth agape is more like it).

The buildings are close enough together that you can walk easily from one to the other. But if you wanted to take walks, you would have miles to trek and soak in the scenery.

The nonrefundable application fee is $20. If you’re accepted, there’s no cost except for your travel to and from. You’re given a weekly stipend to pay for groceries. No chef here. You can either make your own meals or get to know the other residents and work with them to combine cooking duties. Jentel is too far from Sheridan for you to walk to, but Jentel takes the residents in to town once a week.

Although I didn’t get to go inside the complex or the writing residents’ building, I did get to meet Lynn Reeves, the woman who manages Jentel. A friend introduced me to her the next day at the rodeo for Don King Days. Jentel has been in operation since 2001. It began year round programming in 2003 and now admits 4 visual artists and 2 writers each month.

The deadline to apply for the Winter/Spring Residency (January 15 – May 13) is September 15. The deadline to apply for the Summer/Fall Residency (May 15 – December 13) is January 15. So, if you’re interested in going during the upcoming Winter or Spring, you need to act fast.

If you’d like to apply, you can download the application.

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