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Playa Welcomes New Executive Director, Deborah Ford

Playa Founder, Julie Bryant, announced today that Deborah Ford will be the new Executive Director, beginning November 1st. Bryant said, “We are thrilled to have Deb as Playa's Executive Director. She brings the skills, experience and commitment to nurture Playa beyond its successful beginnings and to realize our highest vision of an interdisciplinary residency. Deb is not only an accomplished artist herself, she has been a professor, developed a gallery, and served as both staff and board member to other residency programs. Deb understands Playa's mission from multiple perspectives: philosophical, managerial, and artistic.”

Deborah Ford has been active as an arts advocate, educator, program administrator and professional visual artist for over 30 years. Most recently Ford was a Professor of Photographic Studies at Prescott College (1994--2013). While teaching there, she raised substantial funds to diversify the visual arts program, to create scholarships, and to renovate the historic Sam Hill Warehouse into a visual arts center and renowned Art Gallery, thereby integrating the arts into the local community. She has also served with a variety of arts organizations, most recently the board of the Biosphere 2 Artist in Residence program. Ford has received numerous awards, fellowships and grants, and her own artwork ( is found in museums and collections around the United States.

Ford looks forward to the challenges of expanding the current program into a truly unique, interdisciplinary residency, inviting scientists, naturalists, visual artists, writers and others to work side-by-side. She says, “Playa is an extraordinary place with great potential to inspire thoughtful engagement with one’s work, as well as with an astonishing setting within the Great Basin.”

Playa, in south central Oregon, is a retreat for creative individuals who are committed and passionate about their work and who will benefit from time spent in a remote location. Playa offers seclusion and quiet in a natural environment and the opportunity for interaction, if desired, with a cohort of residents and the local rural community. A residency provides the time and space to create substantive work or to research and reflect upon one’s creative or scientific processes. Away from the urgencies of daily life, residents can focus on their projects, immerse in a desert landscape of basin and rangeland, and find inspiration through self-directed inquiry.

Playa’s residencies are open to visual artists, writers, performance artists, scientists, naturalists, and individuals engaged in interdisciplinary work or forms of creative research. Playa welcomes a range of applicants--from emerging artists of promise to professionals with an established history of accomplishment.

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