Sun Valley Center for the Arts Brings Programs Mid-Valley to Expand Reach
Illustration: Red Canoe Architecture PA
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Meanwhile, the Center was able to expand its geographical reach after it was given the historic Ezra Pound house in Hailey in 2005. The Center has already made use of the property, with its good-size post-Victorian house and large yard. “The historic home has two claims, actually,” says Poole. “It was the birthplace of Ezra Pound [in 1885] and has been lived in by the McKercher family, leading citizens of the area.”
The house itself has been revamped for public space and a private residence.
Poole said several rooms have been “very loosely” turned into exhibition space, while the dining room and kitchen are intact, and upstairs “there is a good living space.” That space is designated for the Center’s new writer-in-residence program and will offer a space for a writer to work for a period of time which will include a week of running a writers’ workshop for budding writers in the Valley.
The highly regarded short-story writer Ron Carlson, who is also a professor at the prestigious Arizona State University writing program, spent three weeks in the house this past summer and did a workshop that drew a variety of students.
The move was partly a response to the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, a huge annual event featuring many well-known writers speaking over a several day period. “A lot of local people hoped it would be more of a hands-on opportunity, but it has really evolved into an idea and reading-based week. We recognized there was an opportunity for workshopping,” said Poole. That is a goal of the Center, she said, to respond to what cultural needs there are.
The writer in residence has not been selected for next summer yet, but will be announced when it is settled. Meanwhile, the grounds of the house have provided “art camps on the lawn,” Poole said.
Adjacent to the house, a second building has been constructed on the site to offer additional classroom space. Architects Mark and Jill Corney of Red Canoe Architecture researched the history of the home and discovered that there had actually been a barn alongside the home at one time. So the new construction for the site was conceived as a barn, complete with two sets of classic barn doors. One set of barn doors opens onto the grounds so that classes can spill over into the gardens in nice weather. The barn was scheduled to be completed in early fall.
For more information about the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, call 726.9491 or visit www.sunvalleycenter.org.