Mammoth Lakes (Population ≈ 8000/Elevation ≈ 8000') is a small rural community in Central California (USA) on the eastern side of the 400 mile long Sierra Nevada Mountain Range.
The Forest Island Project endeavors to establish the Town of Mammoth Lakes as a distinctive rural cultural nexus and a hub of artistic and intellectual capital by supporting creative cultural innovators who are working at the highest levels in their fields and whose work will extend a cultural effect beyond their residency period in the Eastern Sierra.
As an art and advocacy organization, FI believes that positive actionable solutions to social challenges can originate from a critical dialog initiated through artistic and creative practices. Through an artist’s and critical thinker’s fellowship/residency we intend to define a space of conversation and engagement to explore the constructed environment, both built and social, as it relates to the natural one, with the intention of outputting ideas that offer realistic benefit to our local community and beyond.
FI promotes the cultivation of local and broad reaching partnerships to initiate evolving cultural opportunities for the residents of Mammoth Lakes.
KIERSTEN PUUSEMP | Director & Founder
Kiersten Puusemp is an artist and curator working in California. Her performance and installation artwork have been exhibited across the U.S. and Europe. She's worked extensively with Hauser and Wirth Gallery based out of Zurich and David Zwirner Gallery in New York City. Her design work has included major exhibition catalogues for Paul McCarthy, the Tate Modern and Hauser & Wirth. She is founder of the The Weekend Residency as well as the southern California based art and music space A Ship In The Woods. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from U.C. Berkeley and a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Southern California. A life-long skier and mountain culture enthusiast, she is currently based out of the Town of Mammoth Lakes.
CHRIS JAMES | Advisory Board Chair & Founder
Christopher James is an artist, writer and exhibition producer. His artwork has been exhibited in New York and internationally. He has been published in The Believer, Cabinet, artUS, and X-TRA Journal of Contemporary Art. In 2009 he organized the 9th annual SASIC (Surfing, Arts, Science, and Issues) conference at Scripps Institute, La Jolla, and assisted in the formation of High Desert Test Sites in Joshua Tree, California. In 2010 he produced artwork as a guest of the Hotchalpine Forschungsstation Jungfraujoch, a high altitude research station in the Swiss Alps. He and his family own a cabin in Mammoth Lakes and visit as often as possible.
BENJAMIN WEISSMAN | Advisory Board
Los Angeles based Benjamin Weissman is the author of two books, most recently a collection of short stories titled Headless, published as part of Dennis Cooper’s Little House on the Bowry series. His writing about books, art and skiing have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, McSweeney’s, Modern Painter, Art Forum, numerous exhibition catalogues and Powder Magazine. As a vital figure in Los Angeles art and literary culture he has been the long time organizer of the Hammer Museum’s “New American Writing” reading series focused on contemporary fiction and poetry and has spent many years teaching creative writing at Otis College of Art & Design and Art Center College of Design. He’s owned a heavily frequented A-frame in Mammoth Lakes since the mid-1990’s and is currently teaching Advanced Drawing at UCLA.
CORRINA PEIPON | Advisory Board
Corrina Peipon is an artist, writer, and curator based in Los Angeles, where she is Director at The Pit Gallery. Formerly Assistant Curator at the Hammer Museum, Peipon organized Hammer Projects exhibitions with Carlos Bunga, N. Dash, Maya Hayuk, Alex Hubbard, Lucy Raven, and Jonas Wood. While serving as Curatorial Assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, she was Project Coordinator for WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution and co-curated index: Conceptualism in California from the Permanent Collection. Her art writing has appeared in numerous publications such as Lucy Raven: Low Relief, Rebecca Morris: Southafternoon, and All of This and Nothing, and her writing about the outdoors has appeared in RANGE and Adventure Journal. An avid backpacker, Peipon founded Pangaea Outdoor Supply in 2016 to offer a small range of lightweight and ultralight equipment to design-minded outdoorsfolk.
HANS LUDWIG | Advisory Board
Hans Ludwig is a twenty year resident of Mammoth Lakes, senior correspondent and long time columnist for Powder magazine. Trained as a competitive freestyle skier while growing up in Colorado he moved to Mammoth to pursue backcountry skiing in the Eastern Sierra. His work has taken him to many remote mountain ranges and wild back country locations from Alaska to Europe. Having spent many years touring and mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada range and in Europe Ludwig’s work is informed by a deep passion for skiing and local ski town culture.
JOHN WENTWORTH | Advisory Board
John Wentworth is founder of the non-profit MLTPA (Mammoth Lakes Trails and Public Access Foundation) which has worked to organize, steward, maintain, plan and support the official Mammoth Lakes Trail System for the last decade. Prior to settling in Mammoth Lakes, he worked in the motion picture industry, most significantly with auteur director David Lynch. His credits include Co-Producer of the ground-breaking “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me” as well as Co-Producer of the critically acclaimed film “Mulholland Drive”. He has taught at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, CA (Fine Arts Graduate Program), is an avid outdoor enthusiast and an integral part of Mammoth Lakes’ civic fabric.
RUDY DEFELICE | Advisory Board
Mammoth Lakes resident Rudy DeFelice is a former attorney and current tech developer with a degree from Harvard Business School. He is the author of The Pink Box Experience - How Talked-about Companies Got That Way and is presently working as the Senior VP of Business Development and ‘Entrepreneur In Residence’ at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area.
SEAN DUNGAN - SUMMER 2017: Sean Dungan is an artist, writer and peer reviewed expert musical archivist based in Los Angeles. As an avid outdoor aficionado he is a frequent visitor to the Eastern Sierra.