What Happens When Artists And Volcanoes Come Together? Whakatāne Museum, located in New Zealand's Bay of Plenty, has been answering this question for the past year. The cultural institution has been hosting dozens of creative people as part of the Southern hemisphere's only Volcanic Artist Residency in partnership with White Island Tours.
Founded by former Museum Director Eric Holowacz, the program includes accommodation in Whakatāne's historic Harbour Master House, a guided day tour to New Zealand's only active offshore volcano, and immersion in the local community.
Former Sedona, Arizona artist Jennifer Epperson has been selected to participate as the program's June 2019 Volcanic Artist in Residence.
"Surrounded by our unique geothermal landscapes and subterranean phenomenon, she will have plenty of time to explore the raw power of the natural world," says Holowacz. "The opportunity offers earthly wonders, exposure to the local Maori culture, and support and inspiration for new creative work."
The New Zealand residency will conclude a year of geographic exploration for Epperson, and her most recent art involves influences from three very different environments, one of Earth, one of Water, and one of Fire.
“It is an honor to be a part of this rare Volcanic Artist Residency in Whakatāne. I am looking forward to living and working in an entirely different place, in the southern hemisphere, where the sun first greets the new day," says Epperson. "I am excited and energized to experience a wholly new community and curious as to how it might affect my art."
Jennifer Epperson, a visual artist and art activist originally from Texas, has enjoyed the magnificence of working in Sedona, Arizona for the past fifteen years.
“I love the red rock landscapes and perfect weather, the light, and spacious skies, the possibility of solitude in the studio or on a hike," she says. “I am enamored and respectful of the Earth energy Sedona exudes and gave to my work.”
Epperson, who recently moved her studio from Northern Arizona to Central Texas, is one of a handful of artists and cultural managers invited to participate in the Volcanic Artist Residency's inaugural year. The offer proved the impetus for Epperson's newest project, a Comix Journal that explores living and working -- and sense of place -- in three very different environments.
“I have always been intrigued by how location affects art, how landscapes and communities change us," she explains. "Now I will chronicle my journey from the red rocks of Arizona to the artesian springs, rivers and aquifer of San Marcos, Texas, and finally to this new destination in New Zealand and the Pacific Ring of Fire."
To learn more about her upcoming project and Epperson's residency in New Zealand, visit TheStudio61.com and look for the artist on Facebook and Instagram.