555 Rural Artist Residency with Blue Sky Center


We have partnered with Blue Sky Center for this rural Artist in Residency program in New Cuyama, CA, part of the "North Forty" of Santa Barbara County. 555 is Blue Sky Center's pilot artist residency program, hosting 5 artists for 5 days in 5 Shelton Huts on the Blue Sky Center campus.  The residency will take place in collaboration with citizen artist and residency facilitator Mary Welcome.

The pilot will bring together five artists to make work in, about, and with New Cuyama. The aim for the projects is that they help to create meaningful dialogue, socially vibrant spaces, and equitable partnerships in the Cuyama Valley. In the spirit of rural-urban exchange, the residency will culminate in a July exhibition in Santa Barbara, where artists will share their work and experiences during the residency.


SB Seasons: Seeing Rural: Through the Eyes of Visiting Artists in the Cuyama Valley




Meet the artists:


Mary Welcome, Curator, Facilitator

Mary Welcome (Palouse, Washington) is a citizen artist with an emphasis on cultural empowerment in rural and under-recognized communities. Her work is conversational and research-based, in response to the social, built, and natural environments we situate ourselves within. She collaborates with local schools, city councils, civic groups, arts organizations, youth groups, summer camps, libraries, neighbors, and friends to build cooperative environments that encourage civic engagement, radical education, and community progress. She believes in small towns, long winters, optimists, parades, and talking about feelings. 



Butchy Fuego, Visiting Artist

Butchy Fuego is a professional musician/artist and ameteur outdoorsman. He is the founder of Seeing Trails Hike Gang, an artist collective practicing what they call Wilderness Arts: a way of using wilderness practices as a medium and platform for their individual artistic disciplines.

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Designers on Holiday, Visiting Artists

Co-founders Tom Gottelier and Bobby Petersen started Designers on Holiday in 2014 as a unique off-grid design residency for creatives on the Island of Gotland. With the residency and their own design studio, they focus on building site-specific, sustainable, and minimal design that heightens the audience's interaction with their natural environment and showcases what is special in each different location.


Nicole Lavelle, Visiting Artists

Nicole Lavelle is an artist and designer who lives in California. Her research-driven, project-based social practice yields experimental essays, visual narratives, and platforms for participation. She thinks the most perfect art projects don’t identify as art at all, but as community publications, inclusive spaces, found language, weekly routine, landscape studies, or internet memoir. She is an Affiliate Artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts and Artist in Residence at the Prelinger Library.


Noé Montes, Visiting Artist

Noé Montes is a photographer based in Los Angeles. His work focuses on community and social justice issues and he has extensive experience working with educational, cultural and civic institutions and non-profit organizations. Montes' list of commissions includes work for the Annenberg Foundation, the California Community Foundation, the University of Southern California and The Getty Foundation. In 2015 he received an Alicia Patterson Foundation Fellowship for his project about Farm Workers in the Coachella Valley.

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Small Medium Large Productions, Visiting Artists

Angela Wood and Ben Guzman have been making short documentary content as Small Medium Large since 2012. Most recent was their 14 part web series entitled "2 Guys Named Ben" which documented a musical bicycle journey of Ben and his friend Ben Townsend from Townsend's home in West Virginia to Guzman's home in Los Angeles. Angela is a Chicago native with an MFA in film from Northwestern University. The two met while working in commercial post production in LA. Guzman is a Southern California native who is co-founder of the Bicycle Kitchen (LA) and co-creator of the series The Back Porch of America.