A RAiR Change

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When Stephen Fleming first arrived in Roswell as a new grantee in 1986, he could not have imagined that 32 years later he would be retiring from directing that same residency for 25 years! But a productive and successful RAiR year kept him in touch with the Program and led to a second residency from 1991-92. In late 1993 he succeeded Director Stuart Arends (also a former RAiR) as the Program Director, where he and his wife Nancy lived, worked, and raised their daughter Sienna, for a quarter century. During his tenure, he oversaw the selection and residencies of at least 120 artists, helped facilitate the move to the new facility, helped organize three RAiR anniversary events, and dug out from the monumental 1997 and 2015 snowstorms. He continued to sculpt, paint, and draw, as well as periodically teach, exhibit and write. Stephen looks forward to retiring to a renovated house and studio just west of the residency and continuing his preparatory work at the Anderson Museum – it seems he’s not done with Roswell yet! Thanks Stephen for your frugality, your informed wit and artistic knowledge, your common sense and hard work! You’ve left big shoes to fill.

Thanks to the Zen of Don Anderson and his vision, I have had the good fortune to live and work among some of the most interesting and gifted artists around. It’s been a refuge for me and my family and an honor to serve in a small way, the man who made all of this possible. Without being fully aware of it, the Program has become my entire life. It’s only recently that I realize what an incredibly lucky life it has been. Here I learned how to fix things, probed the inner workings of the swamp cooler, how to deal with other people’s egos, figured out the computer, became passably proficient in writing prose, acquainted myself with the wildlife of southeastern New Mexico, raised a hundred trees, did a bit of architecture and interior design and even learned some of the nuances of farming alfalfa. But in the end, the art world moves on and I’m delighted with my younger colleague who has the talent, energy and a full appreciation for the unique character of life on the Residency. And I’m guessing being retired just means that I’ll be available for whatever new projects the RAiR Foundation might rope me into. – Stephen Fleming, August 2018