Azule is much more than just a residency or arts incubation program - it is a palace that holds the webs of ever recursive webs of creativity and connection. Our administrator Shannon Gallagher has been kind enough to share with us some words as to what Azule has meant for her, from her first visit as arts resident to her current role.

I learned of Azule in early 2014, during a time when my intuition was telling me to make radical changes in my life. I had finished graduate school in Chicago, and was working as a writer, curator, and custom framer for a North Shore gallery. Though I was fortunate to be surrounded by contemporary art and artists, finding time and energy to create for myself was a challenge. I had grown weary of the city and all of its commotion. Having recently spent time in Western North Carolina, I was drawn to return. My heart swelled with possibility when I received an acceptance letter from Azule.
I packed my supplies, and drove from Chicago for a two week residency at Azule. It was a wintery March in Appalachia, and I was the only resident for the majority of the two weeks. I was enamored with the beautiful and intimate details of the house and property, and I felt at ease upon meeting Camille, whose presence radiates warmth.

Camille would pop and see what I was working on, or join me for tea in the kitchen, but I had a lot of time to be in solitude and ruminate. My work at the time was about transformation, biology, and desire. I recall sitting on the bathroom floor late one night, sketching out a self portrait in the mirror, and wondering whose reflection was staring back at me.

I was inspired by the sunlit studio downstairs, and the plants that were thriving there. I spent each afternoon painting, collaging, and embroidering. At night, by the heat of the wood stove (and my electric blanket), I sipped tea and wrote poems in bed. I was not aware of it at the time, but my soul was craving quiet and calm after many years of chaos and stress. I decided to leave Chicago and relocate to North Carolina.

I arrived in Asheville in September of 2014 and never left. I continue to create and sell my work, participating in local exhibitions, and even performing a live painting at the beloved (and now defunct) West Asheville venue The Mothlight. My goal for the future is to write a memoir about my experience with sibling loss and grief. I spend my free time exploring nature with my dog, roller skating, and training on trapeze.

Thankfully, I was able to keep in touch with Azule over the years through potluck events and social media. When the Azule Administrator position became available, I applied. In late 2019, I joined Azule’s team! I now have the great honor of assisting artists in planning their residencies, participating in Azule field trips and artist presentations, and being part of an incredible team of people who each have their own attachment to this fantastically unusual and wonderful place. We hold a common goal to share Azule lovingly with others, while preserving its mission and history.