Page One

In mid-March we were driving up 287 from Denver to Laramie when we first saw Hale-Bopp. We pulled over and got out of the truck and as we admired that beautiful comet sprawling across the sky we knew it was an omen. It clearly meant that it was time for us to start putting together this issue of High Ground.

A project that we'd been talking about for several years is finally being done. Being an artist couple ourselves and having run across so many artist couples in this area over the years, we've wanted for a long time to put together a story about some of them. We call it Two Studios/One Bed but I hasten to add that the title is journalistic license, and we cannot vouch for the domestic accuracy of the title. Frances DeVuono, artist, writer and teacher in Spokane, wrote an insightful introduction, and the couples themselves chose who would write about them. We thought we would have perhaps a dozen, but we found many more. Of course we began with Nancy Kienholz. She and Ed were the best known artist couple in this area, and talking with Nancy and her friends and assistants about that collaboration was a moving experience.

Good news and bad news. The good news is that High Ground continues to bring good fortune to those mentioned in it. Both Cheryl Shurtleff (profiled in '96) and Marilyn Lysohir (co-editor) were awarded artist fellowships by the Idaho Arts Commission. The bad news is that Ethos, the art magazine based in Missoula bit the dust.

Art publications lead delicate lives it seems and in this issue, Chris Schnoor, who now writes for the Boise Weekly, and other Idaho publications, has provided an interesting post-mortem on the death of Reflex, the Seattle based art paper now replaced by Aorta.

Our official poet Loretta Anawalt provided us with a long lyric poem about love... appropriate for Two Studios/One Bed we think. Richard Swanson, who was one of the artists whom we talked with at the Archie Bray (High Ground '96) has for several years collaborated with Amy Ragsdale, artistic director of the Montana Transport Company a dance group in Missoula. Poet Rick Newby describes an on-going outdoor installation/performance growing out of that collaboration that you might have seen from the highway outside Drummond Montana.

We discovered a tradition that we hadn't planned on but which seems to have sneaked up on us. Each edition has gone outside the plateau for one story... to Russia in '95, and to China in '96. So.... we continue that outside-the-plateau tradition. This past winter quarter co-editor Marilyn Lysohir was a visiting artist at Ohio State University in Columbus. Not only is Ohio exotic (sort of), it's certainly a few days drive from the plateau. So Marilyn introduces us to a few little-known aspects of that flatland state.

Censorship of the arts is something that we all should be concerned about. During the past year some incidents were brought to our attention and we share our thoughts about them.

Bob Green of Bookpeople did the drawing again for the James Lavadour print portfolio and the winners are: Tom Spanbauer (Portland), Frances DeVuono (Spokane) and Joan and Gregory Pease (Tecumseh KS).

The frontispiece is a beautiful print by Kirk Mangus. Kirk got his M.F.A. at Washington State, and teaches in Ohio. He is a nationally recognized ceramist, and he and Marilyn both grew up beside the Shenango River.

A very special thanks go to Alberta Mayo who was been our eyes and ears in Boise. She interviewed Reinhard Onnasch and allowed us to use portions of that interview for the story of the Kienholz collaboration.

And of course as always, a big thanks to Roy de Young and Temel West, and Lithocraft in Boise, for the excellent design and printing of High Ground.

Next year (we have given this some thought... it must have been the comet) we plan to feature film, and to do a section on architecture.