The Kingsbrae International Residence for the Arts (KIRA) in the famous Kingsbrae Gardens of St. Andrews, New Brunswick, Canada will be home for Sallie Thompson, a founding member of Gallery 54, here, for the month of August.
Overlooking the Bay of Fundy in the Canadian Maritimes, Thompson will spend the month working directly in the Kingsbrae Gardens “for observational and inspirational purposes,” she said recently. As she readied recently to depart her Skaneateles home she was looking forward to the “gardens as my studio.” She anticipates “the public viewing the world famous gardens will be observing my process and offering their responses and feedback.\,” she added.
Thompson applied for the KIRA program in late 2017, one of 220 applicants. Only 15 were selected for the one month residencies.
Thompson isn't new to the experience of being an Artist in Residence. In 2006 she was an Artist in Residence at the “oldest continually running colony for the arts,” the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock, NY where she resided and worked on her pottery from May through October as one of three ceramic artists in residence. “During that time,” says Thompson, “I started creating the hanging sculptures that are now a major component of my work and expression.”
“I look forward to the opportunity to work from my direct observation of the flora in the 27 berautiful acres that comprise the horticultural Kingsbrae Gardens,” she said recently. While Thompson has specific things she wants to work on developing during her residency she notes that she looks forward to “having time to follow where the work/process leads. It's a time for exploration and discovery,” she adds.
An important part of the residency that Thompson is looking forward to is the opportunity to engage the community in her work. “I expect to interact with visitors in completing a clay flower garden that will be set up at the end of the residency,” she noted.
For certain, as anxious as she is to have her month-long residency begin, it's not a vacation. “It will occupy every waking moment,” she said, “I want to make the most of it possible.”
“One of the greatest benefits to my residency,” says Thompson, “is the opportunity to have uninterrupted time to focus on my work and the influence of working in a unique setting with artists from other disciplines.” Each artist has his or her own studio space but will be sharing meals and experiences.
KIRA is the only residency of it type in the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Thompson, along with four other artists will reside in this historic property, part of the beautiful seaside town of St. Andrews. Each artist has a private studio, furnished and equipped with basic tools and located on the property. “For the artists it's an opportunity to engage with the community, share thoughts, and present our work with other like minded individuals,” said Thompson.
As potter and a founding member of Gallery 54 Thompson creates soda fired pottery and sculptures which are currently available for purchase at Gallery 54 and select shows in the Syracuse area.