Artists’ residencies are a time for artists to create new work, often in a distinctive setting. They are usually highly competitive and offer a rare opportunity for artists to focus on their work without distraction. This summer, local artist Lori Sams is participating in a residency that runs counter to the traditional model and is more about using the distractions in everyday family life as fuel for art making. She’ll present the new work she created in One Summer (of Motherhood) in the Lorenzen Board Room Gallery at the Pendleton Center for the Arts Sept. 5-28.
From June 7-Aug. 29, Sams participated in the Artist in Residency in Motherhood (ARiM) program, a project conceived by Lenka Clayton while she cared for her own young children. With ARiM’s goal of “reframing of parenthood as a valuable site for creative practice, rather than an obstruction to be overcome” Sams was encouraged to look around and embrace all that was around her as a parent.
“Changing my perspective in this way, from being frustrated by perceived artistic constraints of motherhood, to embracing and incorporating them, has been very liberating, freeing and exciting,” she said.
Artists sign up for the residency at Clayton’s website, filling out a form to keep them accountable and finding ideas for structuring their experience. Instead of traveling to an exotic location, participants work at home, with their locations added to a map on ARiM’s website. There are currently more than 750 Artists-in-Residence-in Motherhood participants in 55 countries.
To allow for an ongoing sense of completion over the summer, Sams worked to make 100 3.5” x 2” collages out of materials she had close at hand. This format allowed her to work in ten-minute creative bursts, and also allowed her to repurpose a large stack of business cards left over from a job she held before becoming a mother. She exceeded her goal, completing 103 works.
“Luckily my daughter is interested in creative activities too, so I can sometimes find a few minutes while she’s busy drawing or coloring,” she said.
The exhibit opens with a reception on Thursday, Sept. 5 from 5:30 – 7 p.m., and is held in conjunction with the Small Works Invitational exhibit in the East Oregonian Gallery t PCA. Admission is free, thanks to support from Northwest Farm Credit Services. More information is available at pendletonarts.org or by calling 541-278-9201.