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Monumental art

ASHLAND — On just the right kind of morning, Pilot Rock rises out of its misty shroud like a majestic basalt canvas with the sun as its palette.

But how would that morning vision appear to a real painter? Or a silkscreener? Even a potter?

The Bureau of Land Management and the general public will find out this summer when the agency unleashes an artist-in-residency program on the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument.

Three artists will each get two weeks in the monument to capture what President Bill Clinton declared as "the spectacular biological diversity" when he created the monument east of Ashland in 2000.

"We want to get an appreciation and understanding of the monument that we wouldn't normally have — through the eyes of an artist," says BLM spokesman Jim Whittington.

And as most artists know far too well, their creations will be their rewards.

It's BYOArt supplies. Even BYOFood. You'll get free use of a trailer at BLM's Hyatt Lake Campground, but local artists selected for the program can commute.

There's no pay, "except sunrises and sunsets," says Christine Beekman, the BLM interpretive specialist who is running the program.

Artists in residency certainly aren't new to public lands, but it's new to the monument.

Beekman's past work at monuments and parks in Utah and elsewhere included artist-in-residency programs, and she thought, "Why not?" when she came to the BLM's Medford District last year.

The idea garnered fast support from monument officials and a private group supporting the monument, Beekman says.

BLM is now taking applications through March for three artists, each of whom will spend one to two weeks in the monument in June, July or August. Along with the three artists, two alternates will be chosen.

Sometime during their stay, the artists will share their vision of the monument through a display and 45-minute presentation either on the Greensprings or in Ashland, Beekman says.

Following their residency, the artists will donate at least one digital image of their completed work to the monument, Beekman says. The monument will hold a publishing copyright to the donated digital imagery for use in promoting the program, and the artists will retain a nonexclusive use copyright, she says.

This round, Beekman is focusing on visual artists such as photographers, painters, silkscreeners and graphic artists, and she hopes to expand it to artists in other media next year, she says.

— Reach Mail Tribune reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470 or mfreeman@mailtfribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/MTwriterFreeman.

Artists in residence will be able to capture the beauty of the Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in summer, including wildflowers on Grizzly Peak. [Mail Tribune / file photo]