Meet Jim and Wendy Franzen; Founders of ART342

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2012 at 6:47 pm

Three years ago Jim and Wendy Franzen turned their property into an artist residency. Since then dozens of artists, writers and composers have created there. To find out why and how it all started we talked with the Franzens:

When and why did you found ART342?

I Remember sitting on the font porch looking at the 3-4 acres in front of the house and thinking it would be a good place for an artists retreat. From there we researched artist residencies around the country. This helped us get a clearer picture of what we needed for facilities. It also helped us refine our vision of ART342.

That vision included several components:

  • A retreat model with uninterrupted time for the work of art.
  • A collegial atmosphere for the residents when they weren’t working.
  • Opportunities for artists to develop the professional and service components of their career.

To these ends we designed and built a studio building with private spaces for each artist. We outfitted certain studios with the equipment needed for specific media. For example a kiln for ceramicists, a computer music station for composers. Later we added a shared wood shop with the necessary equipment.

In order to develop collegial relationships we organized the living quarters into shared homes.

We developed connections in Fort Collins for shows, performances, readings, as well as service opportunities for the residents.

What is the best part about ART342 from your perspective?

Our staff. We were able to attract an exceptional executive director in Amy Reckley and her assistant Anna Maddocks. Their initiative and creativity delight us on a regular basis.

We have been encouraged by the response of the residents to our vision and their acceptance of the parameters of ART342.

The willingness of the CSU art, english, and music departments to invite the residents to hold master classes and readings. In addition, the music faculty has performed the works of our composers and invited them back for the local new music festival.

We have also been very happy that the residency continues to attract increasingly strong participants.

What is the most interesting thing that has happened at the residency in the past three years?

We have been pleasantly surprised by the camaraderie of each group of residents. They gather around the pool table or the porch at the end of the day. They collaborate on meals at one house or the other. There are regular discussions between visual artists, writers and composers about the theory of art and aesthetics, as well as their experiences as professional artists. They accompany each other to tours of the many microbreweries in town or cycling or hiking in the national parks. In many cases they continue to correspond after they have left ART342.

  1. Those Franzens are so cool!

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