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Opportunities: Unwalking the West Retreats and Residencies (Fee)

Unwalking the West
Deadline: midnight on February 29, 2016

Signal Fire announces a call to artists of all disciplines, as well as activists, curators and researchers for Unwalking the West, their 8th year of retreats and residencies on the public lands of the American West. Their 2016 theme is shaped by historic land journeys that informed the cultural and political geography of the contemporary West. Signal Fire will retrace segments of these routes in the reverse direction as a symbolic gesture of “unwalking.” Their discussions will focus on the continuing demand for Indigenous sovereignty, as well as the contemporary legacies of development and resource extraction. From Francisco Vasquez de Coronado’s brutal quest for El Dorado to John Wesley Powell’s strangely prescient survey of the Colorado River Basin, their routes will look to the sagas of European-American exploration and aggression, and attempt to connect those formative journeys to the challenges facing the West today.

Signal Fire trips bring small groups of creative people to a wide range of wild places to inspire and inform their work. Their guides handle the logistics, and their trips are accessible to absolute beginners but will remain engaging for those with considerable outdoors experience. Each journey infuses readings and discussions, visiting experts, personal discovery, and time for solitude in an atmosphere that is safe and supportive amidst a group of compelling new friends.

Applications for all trips are open January 1 through midnight on February 29, 2016. Applications for the Wide Open Studios Summer Immersion trip remain open through April 1. As usual, the process is free and happens online, and Signal Fire has an all new ‘Celebrity Jury’ of Signal Fire alumni: professional artists with diverse backgrounds and accomplishments.

Signal Fire is a Portland, Oregon-based, 501c3 nonprofit arts organization. Signal Fire provides opportunities for artists and activists to engage in the natural world. Their projects instill self-reliance, catalyze creative energy, and invite interdisciplinary collaboration. Signal Fire utilizes public lands to advocate for the access to— and protection of— their remaining wild and open places in order to enrich and sustain society.

Learn more at

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Caden Manson is Editor In Chief and Curator of Contemporary Performance Network and co-founder and artistic director of Big Art Group, a New York City performance company founded in 1999.

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