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Upper Jay Arts Center launches artist residency program

A performance by SLUGFEST at the Upper Jay Art Center (Provided photo — Upper Jay Art Center)

UPPER JAY — Artist and writer Caitlin Scholl, who grew up in this hamlet, has spent years thinking about ways to launch an artist residency program at the Upper Jay Art Center.

The art center and its artistic director, Scott Renderer, have given countless artists the space to hone their craft and express themselves, both in front of an audience and without one. With permission from Renderer, Scholl herself has worked at there multiple times throughout the last few years.

But Scholl wanted to find a way to make that informal agreement between Renderer and the artists who visit the art center into a full-fledged artist residency program — and that idea is coming to fruition.

Scholl and Renderer announced the creation of CA MP, or creative arts and multidisciplinary performance, in an email blast on Feb. 1. CA MP will give artists who work in all sorts of media a place to live and create for anywhere from one to four weeks.

“We are testing the waters and kind of launching the program, but it’s not fully formed yet,” Scholl said. “It’s actually really exciting. I think this year is going to be a lot about figuring out what it is, trying it out, trying new things. That’s part of the spirit of UJAC.”

An artist residency program isn’t a new concept in the art world. The Lake Placid Center for the Arts, for example, has had artists in residency.

Scholl believes the CA MP program is different because artists who work at the art center will be asked to share their creations with the local community. With other programs, artists might live in-house, work and leave without much direct interaction with residents of the town they’re staying in.

Scholl said these types of programs are a “really, really important part of a working artist’s life and career trajectory.

“It allows the artist to produce work without the distractions of daily life, and really devote and dive into the inner creative space you need to go to to create new work.”

The center is fielding requests from artists to work there and plans to continue doing so for the next year. There’s some limitations to what can happen this year, with the coronavirus continuing to spread, but Scholl is looking forward to a day when there can be a steady schedule of artists working there and sharing their creations with the community.

Musicians, writers and artists who work in film, visual arts, dance, theater or any other medium can contact the arts center at reside@upperjayartcenter.org to learn more.