Signal Fire’s 2018 theme ELEMENTAL looks to the earth beneath our feet: the materials we need, the minerals we’ve killed for, and the matter we still have so much to learn from. Our programs span the West, examining how mining has impacted the culture and ecology of diverse communities, as well as looking at these landscapes through the broad and patient lens of geological time. At each site we visit, we will learn of the present-day threats from extraction and exploitation, and meet people who have dedicated themselves to standing in defense of the Earth.

This year we offer two juried trips in the Pacific Northwest’s Cascade range: a self-directed residency on the slopes of Mt. St. Helens, and Writing in the Pulse, a collaborative journey focused on writing in response to cataclysmic change in the landscape. Both are open to all disciplines.

In addition, we offer expanded programming under Wide Open Studios, our arts and ecology field institute. In July, our fifth-annual Summer Immersion trip will traverse the Klamath-Siskiyou mountains to learn from historic and contemporary conflicts over gold and water. Then, a week-long backcountry film workshop in the Cascades will invite artistic experimentation and discovery.
In October, a second month-long program will support artistic research among the canyons and mesas of the Four Corners region.

This year Signal Fire is excited to partner with the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation and Caldera to host a group of international Indigenous artists among the mountains and lakes of the Central Cascades. And in February, a group of our alumni will walk in solidarity with Apache Stronghold to express defiance against the destruction of sacred land for the construction of a colossal copper mine.

Projects and Publications


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