Back Again!

I’ve been away for two weeks assisting Jerry Jackson and Jane Wells Harrison at Penland for their workshop ‘Reconsidered’, which was primarily about material exploration, encaustic collage, and assemblage work–All which I’m excited to incorporate into my classes at the Bascom.

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But man was it a exciting reintroduction to reality: Collective Spirits, new exhibitions, and my first classes of the summer. The Highlands Recreation is merging science and art together in STEAM based classes that are focusing on outer space. Our first camp focused on the planets with the kids actually orbiting as the respective planets and creating their own planetary sun catchers. I want the kids to learn information and then use their own imaginations to build on those facts.  Will Barclift and I have been plotting how to bring Printmaking into the light again and making use of a really great Conrad press. Cashiers Senior Center printed mono prints and the Boys and Girls Club printed silkscreen patterns a la Corita Kent.

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First group of artists… Amazing!

I couldn’t have asked for a better group of young artists, it seemed like “Have Fun” could be the only rule. They made so many things this first week, getting plenty messy in the process!  We explored sculptures outside, and got inspired by gallery exhibitions upstairs.

Look out world!  The next generation of makers is here.

Having so much fun,

Brendan Best



Youth Art at The Bascom


This summer I find myself in the beautiful town of Highlands North Carolina after receiving the residency as summer youth arts instructor.  I am currently earning my MFA at Western Carolina University with a concentration in ceramics, however my passion has always been teaching.  I jumped at the opportunity to interact with young artists this summer; so that I could take part in their excitement of artistic creation, and see their honest and unfiltered ideas come to fruition.  Like so many adult artists, artistic purity can be lost along the way.  I personally search for a way back to the simple “play” in which I feel the true passion and power of artwork is achieved.  I foresee The Bascom being the perfect environment to experience this first hand, and to foster the abilities of the great makers of tomorrow, today!   It has become obvious that the entire staff at the Bascom has the goal of bettering the art world for both artists, viewers, and art teachers like myself.  I truly feel blessed to have this opportunity to help and to learn.  I look forward to teaching, making, and enjoying the western North Carolina summer with everyone here at the Bascom.

-Brendan Best






Into the Wild Unknown

After a full year as The Bascom’s Community Artist in Residence, I can’t believe my time here in Western North Carolina is coming to an end.  In about an hour, I am going to begin my cross-country trip back to California.  My car is jam-packed with all of my paintings and earthly possessions.  I got an oil change, and checked all my fluids.  I cleaned and cleared out of my house.  I visited every last place that I had left on my checklist.  I had many celebrations with the people I have been fortunate enough to know and love.



I don’t believe in good byes.  I believe in “See you laters”.  I am leaving North Carolina, but I am not leaving behind the connections and relationships that I have built here.  I will always cherish the relationships I built at The Bascom and within the communities of Highlands and Cashiers, from my preschool classes to my classes with older adults and everyone in between.

I have learnt so much over the course of this past year.  I have learned about patience, perseverance, and balance.  I have learned about compassion, empathy, and adaptation.  I have had the opportunity to seriously hone in on my teaching skills and classroom  experiences.  I learned how to create opportunities tailored to meet the needs of individuals and groups within Highlands.  And most of all, I learned about the importance and value of community.


Look at this vibrant natural community of lichen!

For me as an artist, community is essential.  I used to think I was an artist more akin to Agnes Martin, who beautifully contemplates the value of solitude and isolation in her painting practice-

I Love the Whole World 1999 by Agnes Martin 1912-2004

Agnes Martin, “I Love The Whole World”, 1999

I have come to discover that community is everything to me.   It is what keeps me thriving, stimulated, impassioned, grounded, and uplifted.  It is what makes me excited to wake up in the morning and be in my studio creating.  While in the process of painting, I make my art for myself- but it only truly comes to life when it is put out into the world and shared with others. I am grateful for the opportunity to have discovered that, and will carry that insight with me going forward.


See you later, NC

So I’m off to find my next community.  The road is opening up to me and I’m excited for the opportunities to come.  I will always remember my journey at The Bascom.  I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.

Until next time,

Kristina Rose Baker



June 17th Introductory Digital Photography Workshop Register Today!

June is here! Prepare yourself for your summer adventures by taking a photography workshop that will meet all of your photography needs and enhance your photography skills. The Bascom will be offering a unique Workshop for the beginning photographer on June 17th from 10am-4pm. Spaces are still available so make sure to register today. Register Here picssharing-3

Discover the limitless possibilities of digital photography while immersing yourself in the scenic beauty of The Bascom Campus. Whether you’re new to the digital photographic medium or a seasoned photographer looking to enhance your skill set, this workshop introduces the technical aspects of digital photography and the concepts behind photographic images. Learn how to prepare for a photo shoot, prevent camera shake and blurring, adjust image size and quality, effetely usage of lens, and a thorough understanding of optimal camera controls for different shooting styles. Instruction will cover apertures, shutters, ISO, white balance, using available light and composition topics. The lectures are complemented by a field trip to explore and photograph some of The Bascoms Campus most beautiful spots!

Byron Tenesaca, Photo Resident

The Bascom   

Two Weeks in

Much has happened since first starting here at The Bascom. A good bit of moving and reorganizing, but also being able to start experiencing the classes and groups that Bascom Outreach works with. I’ve been plotting out some, what I hope, to be exciting programming for summer and can’t wait to get started teaching. Also, if you have never been to the Bascom–Come visit! I’ve been really impressed with the exhibitions–present and future- and the programming that happens alongside exhibitions, from panel discussions, giant pinhole cameras and activities for all ages and interests.

I’ve also been busy getting my studio set up in the Bascom before I head out to assist ‘Reconsidered’, a mixed media workshop taught by Jerry Jackson and Jane Wells Harrison at Penland School of Arts. I’m really grateful to have a place to continue my studio practice and love being in the midst of all the activity in the Bascom–So stop downstairs and say hi!

In between plotting summer programming and getting settled in, I’ve been putting in some studio time in preparation for a couple of exhibitions coming up. I was honored to be invited to participate in an exhibition, In/Home at The Printmaking Center of New Jersey with Hannah and Blake Sanders, Josh Dannin, and Myles Calvert this summer and then in an exhibition this fall at Morehead State University with Hunter Stabler, Julie Abijanac, Laura Alexander, Andrea Myers, and Lauren Kussro. Excited to be busy producing. Currently on the table are some dresden plate piecework made from silkscreened wallpaper and a new, soon to be, three color wallpaper.

I’ll be gone until June 10th, but after that come past and say hi–I have a comfy studio chair with your name on it.



New Faces and Places

I hope everyone is having a lovely weekend. I wanted to update you all on how I’ve kept myself busy for the past couple of weeks as well as welcome new individuals to The Bascom family and of course share some images from my travels, encounters, projects, and documentation of our event “The Bascom Celebrates Photography.”HighlandsStreetPhotos-37

First I would like to share with a few photographs that my students and I took during our last photography workshop on “Travel and Street Photography.” After watching the documentary “Everybody Street” at our monthly Photography Club Meeting we had a short discussion and commentary on the film. This reminded me of the photographs we took on main street in Highlands as part of our workshop, which covered the importance of equipment, the usage of natural light, alternative shooting methods and techniques, bad weather tips, and how to expose your travel images with a bigger audience. After meeting in the classroom, we spent an hour in downtown highlands, treating the town as if we were there for the first time. This is what we got:

photographs by Claude Sullivan, Sarah Morgan, and Byron Tenesaca (myself).

With new exhibitions in our galleries and around our campus there are also new faces that you might see around The Bascom campus this summer. I would like to welcome the following people as they have currently become part of The Bascom family. They are on either on their first month, week or will be joining us soon. Good luck with everything guys!

  1. Zachary Rogers, Exhibitions Resident
  2. Grant Benoit, Communyt Artist Resident 
  3. Jessica Kovak, Exhibitions Manager
  4. Bianca Colangelo, Ceramics Resident
  5. Randall Emerson, Finance Intern
  6. Brendan Best, Summer Program Instructor (not pictured, yet)

I’ve been assisting with the documentation of Eric Araujos, Sculpture Fellow, Sculpture Installation. Here are some of the photographs from the work he has been doing with the help of Will Barclift and Zach Rogers.

Often I go into antique shops looking for old cameras that might still function and I’ve collected a good amount, but recently I’ve also developed an interest in old photographs and snapshots since my encounter with a few albums at an Antique Shops in Waynesville. I have been scanning old photos and digitally manipulating them in order to create a new narrative or interpretation. I’ve also kept adding more photos to my series Human Mounds. Here is an example of two of my most recent works.

Speaking of Photography. I wanted to share with everyone a few photos from the reception for the photography exhibition “NC A Sense of Home.”

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Byron Tenesaca, Photo Resident 

The Bascom