Meet Our Resident Artists

To get a better idea of the grandeur and scope of the artists who are currently participating in the artist residencies at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, visit this page often for bios and introductions.


TRACY PRISTAS - Visual Artist

Tracy Lynn Pristas is an artist who creates warm, colorful, textured painting. Tracey enjoys custom projects and has designed over 30 commissions for public and private collections. She is a recipient of direct purchase awards from both the Montana Arts Council and Colorado Creative Industries. She is a featured painter in Southwest Art Magazine February 2020 issue. 

You may have noticed her vibrant paintings in a home décor magazine. Or if your television is a shrine in your home, you might have seen Pristas’ paintings on the hit television series, Drop Dead Diva. Movie aficionados may have spotted some Pristas paintings in the movie, The Break-Up.

JEFFREY LOCKWOOD - Literary Artist

Jeffrey Lockwood grew up in New Mexico and spent youthful afternoons enchanted by feeding grasshoppers to black widows in his backyard. He earned a doctorate in entomology and worked for 15 years as an insect ecologist at the University of Wyoming before metamorphosing into a Professor of Natural Sciences & Humanities in the departments of philosophy and creative writing.

His writing has been honored with a Pushcart Prize, the John Burroughs award, IPBA Silver Medal, and inclusion in the Best American Science and Nature Writing. He wrote the libretto for the acclaimed Locust: The Opera which premiered in 2018.

While at Brush Creek, Lockwood will work on the libretti for three very short operettas intended as 15-minute “pop-up” performances to take place in unexpected, public spaces such as bars or coffee houses.


Having recently completed a large collaborative socially engaged project at Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, and two large public art pieces, I am looking forward to the other side of my practice- the quiet, the studio and conversations with fellow residents at Brush Creek. 

I will be working on two bodies of work for exhibitions later this spring. One is encasing objects embedded with gender, surety and sharpness in layers of chiffon and silk, embroidering around them in an attempt to contain them in the gossamer fabric. The other is a textile installation that considers the habitat of our clothing.

NADAV AMIR-HIMMEL - Musician/Composer

Nadav Amir-Himmel is a pianist, composer, music director and music lecturer. He received an international recognition after winning first prize in the prestigious Dvorak Composition Competition in 2012. 
Since then, he earned dozens of diplomas, prizes, and scholarships, and his work has been commissioned and performed around the world by a variety of performers, ensembles and orchestras, including the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, the Orquesta Sinfonica De Michoacan, Excelsis Percussion Quartet, Contempo Quartet, and more.

Nadav received his Bachelor degrees in Piano Performance and in Composition from Tel-Aviv University, a Master degree in Composition from the Jerusalem Academy of Music, and a diploma in Music Technology from Bar-Ilan University.

ALEX GATAEVA - Visual Artist

Alexandra Gataeva is a fine art photographer based in Rochester, New York. Her work has been featured in shows at Blank Wall Gallery in Athens, Greece; Rhode Island Center for Photographic Arts; Praxis Photo Arts Center in Minneapolis, Minn.; and Midwest Center for Photography in Wichita, Kansas.

Gataeva’s recent travels to vast, isolated locations inspire her use of a wide range of mediums and elements such as instant film photography, monochromatic photography, earth elements, landscape and architecture.


Margueritte Meier is a fine art painter, independent curator and an educator living in Fort Collins, Colorado. She graduated from Antioch University in California, and her contemplative works of nature have been exhibited in a multitude of solo and group shows including The Extraordinary People Program with Deepak Chopra and Dr. Wayne Dyer. Meier has also collaborated with Nobel Peace Laureate, Rigoberta Menchu Tum on the Mile of Peace Youth Project founded by Meier.

The focus of her residency is to study and paint water in various forms to honor this remarkable and essential element of life. She will be primarily working with a unique combination of watercolor, oil and encaustic glazes.

LESLIE SCHWARTZ - Literary Artist

Leslie Schwartz has written two award-winning novels, Jumping the Green and Angels Crest and most recently (July 2018), published a memoir, The Lost Chapters; Finding Recovery and Renewal One Book at a Time. 
She won the James Jones Award for best first novel for Jumping the Green and was named Kalliope Magazine’s Woman Writer of the Year. She has also been the recipient of many grants including three artist-in-residence grants from the LA Department of Cultural Affairs, the West Hollywood/Algonquin Award for Public Service in the Arts, and a California Council for the Humanities Fellowship. 

Her two novels have been published in 13 languages. Angels Crest was also adapted for the screen and premiered in theaters in 2013. Her essays and articles have most recently appeared in Salon, LitHub, The Rumpus, Brevity, The Washington Post and Narratively Speaking.

She has taught writing at various universities and creative institutions, and currently offers private mentoring and editing services. Schwartz has an MFA in Writing and at Brush Creek will be working on her fourth book, a novel.

                                               PAST RESIDENTS

Winter-Spring 2019  Summer-Fall 2018  Winter-Spring 2018  Summer-Fall 2017   Winter-Spring 2017  Summer-Fall 2016  Winter-Spring 2016  Summer-Fall 2015  Winter-Spring 2015  Summer-Fall 2014  Winter-Spring 2014  Summer-Fall 2013  Winter-Spring 2013  Summer-Fall 2012  Winter-Spring 2012

Pilot Program 2011