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Town provides update, statement on Vail’s Artist in Residency cancellation

May 15, 2024, 2:24 pm

The Town of Vail on Tuesday issued the following statement on the Artist in Residency program, which was cancelled amidst controversy last week:

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In recent days, you have read about the decision by Town of Vail to suspend the Summer 2024 Artist in Residency program, that would have featured artist Danielle SeeWalker.

It was premature to have announced the residency before a mural had been proposed and a contract put in place. That’s on us. And we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience. If Ms. SeeWalker would like to discuss expense reimbursement incurred while preparing for the residency, we will speak with her.

The decision to suspend the residency program, now in its second year, was made in part to allow the town time to reexamine its approach and create robust and specific guidelines, timelines and deliverables for both artists and the town to ensure a positive experience for all moving forward. 

By way of further background, in January, SeeWalker was approached by Vail’s Art in Public Places to discuss creating a mural as a part of the town’s public art program based on SeeWalker’s existing body of public art murals highlighting Native American culture. Our decision not to move forward with SeeWalker’s residency was not made in a vacuum; after releasing her name in an announcement, community members, including representatives from our local faith-based communities, raised concerns to town staff around SeeWalker’s recent rhetoric on her social media platform about the Hamas-Israel war. As public representatives we will not support messaging that targets one group of residents or guests over another as we are a welcoming and inclusive community for all.

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