Past Artists-in-Residence

four pieces of artwork, a painting and 3 photographs

The Capitol Reef Artist-in-Residence program began in 2017 with up to four artists participating each year. Get to know Capitol Reef's past Artists-in-Residence.


2017 Artist

Kit Frost

Whether capturing still images, recording time-lapse and video sequences or chasing the light at our National Parks, Kit Frost's photography is emboldened by grand and intimate landscapes. Kit's preferred work method is to explore landscapes over an extended period of time in order to capture the essence of each location throughout the day and into the night. Often found working with traditional film, digital and smartphones, Kit's style is to capture the ever-changing and elusive light in front of her cameras, and her belief is that the best images are not created by the camera, but by the passion and vision of the artist behind the lens.

After retiring from a career of teaching and sharing her passion for art in the classroom, Kit now spends her time in residence at National Parks, Recreation Areas and in the backcountry of her home; the four corners of the Southwest U.S. An avid hiker, and backpacker, Kit carries her gear into some of the most beautiful locations in America. Having spent her early years in a city, she describes as "80,000 people, three square miles," Kit explores and documents the "Unpeopled Landscape". She finds places in our world to record moments of quiet contemplation and peace.

2018 Artists

Benjamin Rusnak

Ben is a South Florida editorial and commercial photographer, who finds solace and strength in the canyons and deserts of the American West. In 2015 he was an artist-in-residence at Zion National Park. For 14 years he documented poverty in the Caribbean and Latin America for Food For The Poor, Inc., an international relief and development agency. Prior to that, he was a newspaper photojournalist for nearly 10 years. His award-winning work has been recognized and exhibited internationally. He won the prestigious Gordon Parks Award in 2008 and he received InterAction's Effective Assistance Humanitarian Photography Award in 2010, among many other honors. His work is represented by ZUMA PRESS. Rusnak grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., where he developed an interest in topics beyond American borders and a passion for the plight of those less fortunate. He graduated from George Mason University in 1992, with a degree in communication. He lives in Boca Raton, Fla., with his wife and fellow newspaper refugee, Susan Bryant.

Zolt Levay

Zolt is Principal Science Visuals Developer in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScl). He became interested in astronomy and photography at an early age and pursued astronomy studies at Indiana University, Bloomington and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He joined STScI in 1983 where he produces images and other visuals from data provided by the Hubble Space Telescope to publicize science results from Hubble and other observatories. Zolt is also an accomplished photographer. He is currently concentrating on an ongoing project to seek out dark, clear skies to explore and photograph the relationships between landscapes, the night sky, and the cosmos.

Kurt Wheeler

Kurt is a jazz saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, educator and composer in the Kansas City area. Shortly after moving to the KC metro, he established himself as a prominent musical figure and has played at countless renowned Kansas City venues. Kurt was born and raised in Warminster, PA. He began playing the saxophone in 4th grade and studied with several local masters. After high school, Kurt moved to Fairfax, VA to pursue a dual major in Music Education and Jazz studies at George Mason University. Kurt played at local and national festivals including Essentially Ellington, International Saxophone Symposium, Virginia Music Educators Association, National Jazz Workshop and Jazz Education Network, where he premiered two compositions for saxophone quartet. Moving forward, Kurt is expanding his influence in the Kansas City area and elsewhere and reaching more students through educational outreach. In 2018, Kurt explored new musical inspirations as an Artist-in-Residence at Capitol Reef National Park, where he connected his passion for music with his love of the outdoors.

Suze Woolf

Seattle-based Suze Woolf's work is usually about human relationships to nature, and she does much of it in the field. She studied ceramics and printmaking at the University of Washington. An early adopter of personal computers, her career has included graphic design for printed materials and computer interfaces. Now primarily a watercolorist, she explores a range of media from paper-casting and artist books to pyrography, sometimes combining all of them. She has won a variety of regional and national awards, such as Artist Trust's GAP grant; artist residencies for Zion, Glacier and the North Cascades National Parks, the Grand Canyon Trust; and art colonies such as the Banff Centre, Vermont Studio Center, Willowtail Springs and the Jentel Foundation.


2019 Artists

Imma Barrera

Imma is a Barcelona-born landscape/nature photographer based in NJ. In 2015, she embarked in a career change leaving the pharmaceutical industry behind and followed her passion for photography graduating from the NY Institute of Photography. Imma identifies herself both as a scientist and an artist combining the analytical skills and scientific curiosity, her love of nature and the world around her, with the artistic sense of beauty and storytelling of photography. Imma has exhibited in numerous galleries in NJ, PA and CA and has won several awards for her fine art photography. Her favorite things to photograph include landscapes from dusk to dawn, including astrophotography. In addition she loves capturing any type of fauna and flora both as part of its environment or as close ups as in macro photography. She is also involved in educational programs about photography and to raise awareness about the need to protect our natural treasures.

Walt Davis

As the director of the Panhandle-Plains Museum in Texas, Walt spent fifteen years creating wildlife dioramas for the Dallas Museum of Natural History. That work required close observation of wild places and their plant and animal inhabitants – experience that served him well as an award-winning artist. He is a signature member and past president of the Southwestern Watercolor Society and signature member of the American Watercolor Society. Walt does demonstrations and conducts popular workshops in drawing, nature journaling, and watercolor painting throughout Texas. He and his wife, Isabel, coauthored the book, Exploring the Edges of Texas - an account of their 4,000-mile circumnavigation of the Lone Star State. “A landscape” Davis says, “is composed of essential elements (rocks, soil, water, plants, animals) playing their appointed roles according to fundamental principles. A work of art is composed of essential elements as well (line, shape, value, color, texture) obeying different, but no less fundamental, principles. The challenge for an artist is to choreograph a delicate dance between art and nature coaxing the fundamental truth of one to illuminate the fundamental truth of the other.”

Virginia Catherall

Virginia is a textile artist, knitwear designer, and museum educator. Virginia has been Curator of Education at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts since 1994 teaching families, children, and teachers about art and museums. In her art she is inspired by the landscape of Utah and the Great Basin. Virginia received her BA in Art History from Brigham Young University and a MA in Museum Education from John F. Kennedy University in California. In 2004 she received a MPh in Educational Philosophy from the University of Utah. Virginia was the 2015 Artist-in Residence of Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area and 2016 Artist-in-Residence of Great Basin National Park. As a knitting and textile artist, Virginia’s work has a close affinity to the land. She currently lives and works in Salt Lake City, Utah and is inspired by the incredible, rugged and sublime landscape around the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau. Her art echoes the geography of her place; a type of knitting “terroir” that brings her home into the forefront of her life. Many of her works focus on interpreting the history, science, geography, and biology of an ecosystem within the traditional craft of knitting. In addition, as part of her art, Virginia hopes viewers think about the traditional medium of knitting in a new way through not only viewing her art and craft but through making their own work of wearable art – made possible through published knitting patterns of many of her pieces.

Lisa Gilley

Olympic Peninsula (WA state) artist Lisa Gilley spends a lot of time in the back country sketching and photographing landscapes that she later renders into oil paintings. Her passion toward protecting the delicate environments where she lives and travels viscerally translates into her narrative landscapes. Gilley's subjects are drawn from wilderness areas and lands seeking protection (and continued protection) under different Wilderness Acts, including National Parks and Monuments, all in attempt to bring awareness to their fragile existence. In the last few years Gilley has been honored art residencies at both Zion (2017) and Grand Canyon (2016) National Parks and an Artist Trust of Washington Grant for Artist (GAP) award for her work around documenting the Snake River (2015) and its surrounding tributaries. Her paintings have been featured in solo and group shows around the country including a show at Woodside Braseth Gallery in Seattle titled American Grandeur—a body of work featuring Western National Parks and Monuments in celebration of the NPS Centennial.


2020 Artists

Phil Sisto

Phil is an educator and landscape / nightscape photographer based in Northeast Ohio. His development as an artist emerged from his love of the stars and the night sky. Long nights driving out into the surrounding countryside to escape the lights of the city eventually became weeks of travel during summers off, all on a quest to find and capture images of the most awe-inspiring and unusual landscapes and pristine dark skies. While hiking and exploring during his travels, Phil also enjoys photographing birds and other wildlife. He views his work as a photographer as an opportunity to capture and communicate the subtle, grandiose, or ephemeral scenes witnessed when experiencing nature. His photographs of the night sky and Milky Way present a platform he uses to advocate for preservation of our world’s darkest places. Phil has taught courses on Milky Way photography at the Cleveland Photographic Society and North Coast Photography Club, where he is competition co-chair. His work has been displayed in multiple venues including the Geauga County Park District’s Nassau Observatory and the Tucker County West Virginia Office of Tourism. When he’s not behind the camera, Phil is a middle school teacher in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. He resides near the shores of Lake Erie in Bay Village with his wife Amy, son Alexander, daughter Julia, and their Dalmatian puppy Perdita.

Lena Rich

Lena, a composer and multi-instrumentalist originally from midcoast Maine has been writing music her entire life. Lena graduated from Oberlin College and Conservatory in May of 2020 with degrees in music and politics. Her first EP, Slow Motion was released in 2015 and her debut album, Something In Between, in 2018. She has performed her music around the United States, from the east coast to Utah. Whether from her upbringing on the coast of Maine or the time she spent in the mountainous west, Lena has always found inspiration in the natural world. Her music reflects this connection, as many of her songs are grounded in themes of place and movement. Lena also draws from the common human experiences of love and heartbreak as well as larger, ineffable questions of being in her songwriting. She enjoys collaborating with fellow artists and finds connecting with audiences through sharing music to be one of the most rewarding experiences

Jim Harris

Jim worked as a ski photographer and writer until he was paralyzed while snowkiting in Patagonia. It took over a week to reach definitive care in the States where five of his nine broken vertebra were fused. “I feel lucky that the doctor never told me I’d never walk again,” says Harris, “There wasn’t much reason to think I would, and I might have believed him.” After his spine fusion he began to wiggle a toe. Within a few months, muscles in both legs began firing. In the four years since that accident Harris has transitioned from wheelchair to walker to cane and continues to challenge the limitations of his disability. Harris brought his interests in visual art and the natural world to Capitol Reef as a printmaker. Harris says, “There’s a symmetry between the printmaking process and Waterpocket Fold geology, eroding down into the layers of block, carving narrow slots and broad washes. Each print off the press has its own fingerprint, as unique as the patterns in cross-bedded sandstone.” Harris is looking forward to sharing his process with visitors at Capitol Reef and perhaps encourage them to observe the landscape with a richer perspective.

Leath Tonino

Leath is a freelance writer. His work appears in Outside, Orion, The Sun, and many other magazines, and he is the author of two essay collections, both published by Trinity University Press: The Animal One Thousand Miles Long and The West Will Swallow You.


2021 Artists

David Hunter

David Hunter is a former photojournalist turned landscape and nature photographer that moonlights during the day as an elementary school teacher in central California.
He has been an artist-in-residence at Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area in Wyoming, as well as the first photographer artist-in-residence at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve in Idaho. David has also photographed special projects for several national parks including biological sky islands in Yosemite, caves in Sequoia National Park, and two BioBlitz surveys in Great Basin National Park. He enjoys photographing all forms of landscapes and focused his skills on the many possibilities Capitol Reef’s night skies and stunning landscapes have to offer. A significant portion of David’s work is centered on awareness and preservation of the natural and cultural environment. He strongly believes it is his responsibility to use photography to promote stewardship of the land and awareness of its cultural and natural history.

Maureen Moll

Maureen Moll is a printmaker who currently resides in Pennsylvania. She has traveled through much of the country and especially loves the Southwest, visiting as often as she is able. A graduate of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and a professionally trained lithographic printer, from the Tamarind Institute for Fine Art Lithography, in Albuquerque, she works in a variety of forms of printmaking from reliefs like woodcuts and linocuts to screen prints and lithographs. Maureen says, “It is with gratitude, joy, and a tinge of heartache that I observe nature, because the beauty I see is fleeting; it will be lost to human development, climate change, or simply the passage of time, and it is that knowledge that informs and inspires my work, whether abstract, representational, or somewhere in between.”

Rick Young

Rick Young is a Colorado-based painter who has explored the West as artist, historian, and teacher. Initially attracted to the high mountains of Colorado, Rick soon found himself drawn to the mesas and canyons of the Southwest and the Colorado Plateau. Rick’s art expresses the sense of awe and wonder he feels when he is out on the land. It is the artist’s hope that his paintings lead viewers to look at the world differently—to see more color, more movement, more whimsy in the landscape. Ever since retiring from teaching, Rick has painted full-time, and his work is exhibited in galleries in both Colorado and New Mexico.

Claire Giordano

Claire Giordano is an environmental artist and writer who creatively tells stories of science, climate change, and the modern experience of nature. Her work was profiled in a 10-page art feature and essay in the Alpinist, and her illustrations have appeared in presentations at the American Geophysical Union Annual Meeting and the The Smithsonian Science Education Center's national curriculum. She works in acrylic and watercolor and creates many of her paintings outside and on-site. Through paint and words Claire strives to forge emotional connections between people and place, and to invite others to approach science and our changing world with curiosity and empathy.
In the last three years Claire's work on climate change and glaciers led her to create paintings in the mountain ranges of her home state Washington, to Greenland as an artist and lecturer with Seabourn Cruises, and to Chamonix where she collaborated with The Research Center for Alpine Ecosystems (CREA). She is also the founder of the Adventure Art Academy and leads monthly virtual watercolor lessons filmed entirely outside.


2022 Artists

Lorraine Bubar

Lorraine Bubar works in Los Angeles, California. She studied at UCLA and Yale University where she bagan a career in animation, that included animating television commercials and effects for films and film titles. She then pivoted to teaching and taught animation and earned a Masters in Art Education and taught studio arts to all ages. Bubar exhibits her art across the country and internationally, including Germany, Lithuania, and Shanghai. She has illustrated children's books and a calendar published by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Bubar was a featured artist in American Craft Magazine. Her love of hiking and traveling has led her to Artist-in-Residencies at Denali, Zion, Petrified Forest, and Lassen Volcanic National Parks. Her work, cut out of paper, illustrates the fragility of ecosystems around the world and in our urban landscapes.

Marty Kotter

Fiber artist Mary Kotter is coming to Capitol Reef as an AIR this spring. After a career as a public school teacher and a park naturalist, she is pursuing her art full time. She melds her knowledge of nature with her painting skills and her love of fiber to produce unique art quilts from hand painted silk. The silk gives a luminous glow, and the quilting adds texture and dimension. She is excited about capturing the fantastic landscapes of Capitol Reef in her work. Natural landscapes and their creatures are the main subjects of her art quilts. In each piece, she hopes to draw the viewer in and promote stewardship with the land and its creatures. Her work can be seen at

Steve Dudrow

Steve Dudrow is a retired software application architect with a forty plus year career in Information Technology. After a stint as full time RV'ers volunteering for the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service, my wife of forty-eight years and I moved to Mesquite, Nevada in 2016 ostensibly to be close to and volunteer at the nation's newest National Monument, Gold Butte. My days are spent volunteering for the Bureau of Land Management, US Forest Service, Utah Division of State History, Nevadans for Cultural Preservation and Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance concentrating on Cultural/Historic site preservation and Wilderness protection.Over the past two years I have plunged into a new line of retiree enjoyment writing and illustrating children's books based on adventures of our grandson Teddy. Our books introduce subjects like science, public lands, archaeology, cultural respect, and space to young readers.My primary photography interests are the Milky Way, airplanes, and rodeos. you can find my work in Nevada Magazine, South China Morning Post, various trade publications, US Fish and Wildlife brochures and public lands focused non-profits web sites. It gives me most pleasure to use my photography skills for public lands projects capturing volunteers doing good things for nature and on the downside but necessary, documenting wilderness and cultural site incursions and damage caused by humans.I am looking forward to my stint at Capitol Reef National Park to combine the natural beauty of our beloved red rocks with the mystery of the ever-moving night sky objects.

Jennifer Alexander

Jennifer Alexander is an emerging artist, excited to pursue her love of beadweaving full-time after retiring from a career in the military. She is inspired by the colors, shapes, and patterns of nature in her beaded works. She has a PHD in Meteorology and is passionate about merging science and art, creating wearable pieces that are visual representations of scientific data. She was selected for an artist residency at Centrum, Port Townsend, WA, in 2022 and has had her work displayed in the Permanent Professor Gallery at the US Air Force Academy.

Last updated: November 30, 2022

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