Willowtail Springs looking for artists

Preserve gets donor, reaches out to students

Peggy Cloy, founder of Willowtail Springs Preserve and Education Center, stands near sliding gallery walls. Willowtail Springs has been a destination for artists, scientists and composers, and Cloy is working to make it more accessible. Enlargephoto

Mary Shinn/Cortez Journal

Peggy Cloy, founder of Willowtail Springs Preserve and Education Center, stands near sliding gallery walls. Willowtail Springs has been a destination for artists, scientists and composers, and Cloy is working to make it more accessible.

A local preserve that has become a destination for artists, writers and scientists is working to make the experience more accessible to up-and-coming creative minds.

The Willowtail Springs Nature Preserve and Education Center is tucked up on the edge of a lake off Road 39, and it has drawn people ranging from Alan Furst, a New York Times a best-selling spy novelist, to a retired entomologist, studying dragon flies, said owner Peggy Cloy.

A donor for the Durango Arts Center recently funded two one-week residencies at Willowtail Springs for artists to extend the opportunity to those who are not established in the art world.

The center is also working with Fort Lewis College to bring in students working at the highest level, so they can share in the creative community at the center.

The secluded cabins and studio are along a lake and offer the opportunity to focus and collaborate on projects.

“People come back and say: ‘you changed our lives,’” said Cloy.

Willowtail, which also has a for-profit bed-and-breakfast, slowed down during the recession. It used to run eight months out of the year, but business is picking up again, Cloy said

Cloy bought the property about 20 years ago after working as an artist in Seattle and saw the opportunity to turn the 40 acres and buildings, in need of extensive remodeling, into a haven for artists.

“Artists need time to be without our partners, without our daily routine, just to concentrate,” she said.

The place also appeals to scientists, and Cloy feels art and science are closely tied.

“One always morphs into the other,” she said.

The deadline for the second arts residency through the Durango Arts Center was recently extended through to March 19

Applicants must be a member of the Durango Arts Center and 18 years or older. Anyone can become a member to apply.

Applications will be judged based on the merits of the proposal. The winner will be invited to present a product from their residency work at the reception of the Annual Juried Exhibit on July 11, 2014.

More specifics can be found at durangoarts.org.

Willowtail Springs near Mancos is a bed-and-breakfast, and a preserve and education center. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Willowtail Springs near Mancos is a bed-and-breakfast, and a preserve and education center.

Some of the amenities at Willowtail Springs Preserve and Education Center near Mancos. Founder Peggy Cloy is working to attract younger artists through residency programs. Enlargephoto

Courtesy Photo

Some of the amenities at Willowtail Springs Preserve and Education Center near Mancos. Founder Peggy Cloy is working to attract younger artists through residency programs.