University of Pittsburgh
Studio Arts

Wyoming Field Study

In the summer of 2009, the Department of Studio Arts launched a collaborative program with the University Honors College to offer a two-week intensive Field Study in Wyoming to coincide with the six-week Paleoecology Field Study already offered through the Honors College. Both Field Study groups center their activities on the Allen L. Cook Spring Creek Reserve, property that was a gift to the University in 2005. The reserve, 6,000 acres of short grass prairie at an elevation above 7,000 feet in southeastern Wyoming, is situated between the Laramie Mountains and the Medicine Bow Range and is rich in paleontological outcroppings, anthropological artifacts, and abundant animal life.

In both 2009 and 2010, four Studio Arts majors met Professor Delanie Jenkins in Rock River, Wyoming for two-weeks of creative work in late June and early July. Benjy Blanco, Marika DeLozier, Nancy Egger, and Jason Georgiades formed the initial group of students in the summer of 2009 and Benjamin Danforth, Rob Hackett, Nick Reynolds, and Ellyn Womelsdorf formed the group in 2010. Readings offer preparatory frameworks for the field study - in terms of art, culture, and environment - and once in Wyoming the students move between three centers of activity: an encampment of tents on the reserve that serves as the base for fully exploring the property, an in-town base camp of rooms in Rock River, and a studio space carved out of a 1919 era bank building.

The field study offers an intensive immersion in an environment that is likely to be unfamiliar along with the unique opportunity that is in many ways a microcosm of a graduate school experience. Throughout the two weeks, students immerse and focus on their creative work; draw from and participate in the broad interdisciplinary community formed by faculty, students, and visitors of the side-by-side field study groups; and have complete 24-hour access to a studio space to work, along with a community of other artists engaged in the same pursuits. Not surprisingly, creative works and ideas evolve and transform throughout the two weeks, and after.

Students culminate the field study with a public presentation of their work to the larger group as well as interested community members from the town, and can elect to continue their creative work and written materials after returning to Pittsburgh. Creative works from the inaugural group of field study students were exhibited last winter in the University Art Galleries and included sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, and video. Students from the 2010 summer field study are preparing their works for exhibition in January 2011 that will include a concentration of drawing, painting, mixed media works, and sculpture.

The Field Study in Wyoming will be offered again in the summer of 2011. Interested students should contact Professor Jenkins at for details and deadlines; students interested in the Paleoecology field study should contact Edward McCord at