Colorado Art RanchPhoto: David Peterson

Trinidad Artposium May 15-17, 2009

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Living Without a Skin
By Laura Pritchett

I recently found myself in Trinidad, Colorado, a town I’m enamored of because it’s sparse enough to still be designated as “frontier lands” by the U.S. government (which means, essentially, that there are six or fewer people per square mile in the county), because of the old-fashioned brick streets, and because it’s known as the “Sex Change Capital of the World.”

I wasn’t in Trinidad for gender reassignment surgery—but I was there to attend a symposium that was, aptly enough, about “sex and sexuality.” I had driven across the entire state of Colorado not only to teach a class on “Writing Sex Well,” something that emerged from my own writing on the topic, but also to be an attendee, so I could pop in on various lectures and art shows, where I saw everything from a male artist who knits superhero costumes to an expert on the biology of human attraction and sex.

The event in Trinidad was particularly educational for me. I was not aware, for instance, that animals that are monogamous— Homo sapiens, gibbons, foxes, bald eagles, and sea horses—are those that have offspring that have the longest childhoods. (Go figure!) Nor was I aware that some babies are born whose sex is undetermined, or the huge effect hormones in the womb have on our sexuality. I was not aware of what it might feel like, emotionally or physically, to undergo a gender reassignment, nor did I know that the doctor who performs most of these operations has undergone a sex change herself. I was not aware that Trinidad is considered the spiritual center for many transsexuals, and I did not know about the controversy this has caused for locals.

Which is to say, when I left this shindig, my heart felt greater, more expansive, and maddeningly alive. I felt as if the contemplative tenderness within me, which I know is there but is often masked, had emerged. D.H. Lawrence was said to have lived as if he were a man without skin—more alive and jubilant and uncontained than the rest of us. For a moment, I understood that. I felt what it was like to live without skin.

  schedule Schedule

Dr. Marci Bowers
Marci Bowers is a 1986 graduate of the University of Minnesota medical school. During her 20+ years as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist, she has delivered more than 2000 babies, and has served as Ob/Gyn Department Chairperson at Swedish (Providence) Medical Center and as the only physician member of the Washington State Midwifery Board. She took over the Gender Reassignment Surgery Department in Trinidad, Colorado, in 2003 having been hand-picked by the legendary Dr. Stanley Biber. She has now performed more than 550 primary MTF vaginoplasties and annually performs more than 220 gender-related surgeries.


Charles Baxter

Charles Baxter was born in Minneapolis and graduated from Macalester College, in Saint Paul. After completing graduate work in English at the State University of New York at Buffalo, he taught for several years at Wayne State University, in Detroit. In 1989, he moved to the Department of English at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and its MFA program. He now teaches at the University of Minnesota.

The Feast of Love is just that–a sumptuous work of fiction about the thing that most distracts and delights us. In a re-imagined Midsummer Night's Dream, men and women speak of and desire their ideal mates; parents seek out their lost children; and adult children try to come to terms with their own parents and, in some cases, find new ones.


Melinda Barlow
Melinda Barlow, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Film Studies, researches the work of living female independent video and film makers. She is the editor of Mary Lucier: Art and Performance (JHUP, 2000), and the author of Lost Objects of Desire: Video Installation, Mary Lucier and the Romance of History, forthcoming from the U. of Minnesota Press. Professor Barlow received the Boulder Faculty Assembly Excellence in Teaching Award, the Gold Best Should Teach Award from the Graduate Teacher Program, and the Dorothy Martin Woman Faculty Member Award from CU.

Wire frrame Katy Haas
Katy Haas is an artist from Morrison Colorado. She works with wire forms that simply and elegantly portray human forms. Her work is featured at 150 Gallery in Salida and throughout the front range.

Katy has been doing various types of artwork for over 50 years. She received a BFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 1973.  Katy enjoys both drawing and sculpture and decided to combine the two in her wire sculptures. If she can draw it she can make a sculpture.


Mark Newport
Mark Newport’s work has been exhibited throughout the U.S., Canada, and Europe, including solo exhibitions at here gallery, Bristol, United Kingdom; The Arizona State University Art Museum, and The Chicago Cultural Center. His work has been recognized with grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the Arizona Commission on the Arts, and the Herberger College of Arts at Arizona State University.

Newport is the Artist-in-Residence and Head of Fibers at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. He earned his BFA at the Kansas City Art Institute in 1986 and his MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1991.



Laura Pritchett
Laura Pritchett is the author/editor of five books. Her fiction includes the novel Sky Bridge, which won the WILLA Fiction Award; and the short story collection Hell's Bottom, Colorado, which won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and the PEN USA Award.

She is also the editor/co-editor of three anthologies: The Pulse of the River, Home Land: Ranching and a West that Works, and Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers.




Joe Quirk
"Joe Quirk is a TV talk show darling for his hilarious non-fiction It's Not You. It's Biology: The Science of Love, Sex & Relationships, making him a crowd pleaser with his layman's look at the latestscientific research that explains the biology of human courtship."
– Carmel Authors & Ideas Festival








Trinidad Artposium: Sex and Sensibility
May 15-17, 2009
Registration Sliding Scale: $200 value, $25 minimum.

We have secure online registration, but if you don't like that new-fangled stuff, you can call Grant Pound (executive director) at 303.279.5198 or send a check to:

Colorado Art Ranch
6878 Taft Court
Arvada, CO 80004

Click here to Register for the Trinidad Artposium

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La Quinta

We have reserved a block of rooms at the La Quinta in Trinidad for those attending the Artposium. We arranged a reduced rate of $79/night. Call 719.845.0102 and tell them you are with Colorado Art Ranch.

La Quinta Inn & Suites
2833 Toupal Drive
Trinidad, CO 81082
Phone: (719) 845-0102

See Tourist Information for other lodging.