Neltje on Jentel
Who knows where or how ideas germinate? To pinpoint a moment in time when the concept of creating Jentel came into being would be like determining when I wanted to be a painter. Was it when I failed art in the third grade or when frozen in an uncomfortable marriage with two small children; I had to find a way to communicate my visions and feelings? I just don’t know.
My background is in the arts. I was brought up in a book publishing family. Authors, actors, actresses, Broadway producers, book and magazine giants, editors, financial gurus, copyboys all were a part of my young life. Authors and their editors were the seeds. They needed the germination of manufacturing wizardry, the addition of distribution acumen, and financial intellect to be a success. However, the author was the one revered, respected, cozened, and supported.
No longer is the author held in such regard. The book publishing business has become a bottom line business where the chances taken on first novelists or poets or even on non fiction first timers diminish yearly. A pity because an author has the ability to communicate a reflection of our present day society and perhaps forecast a possible future if we could only listen. The sensitivity, perspicacity, intelligence and talent of any artist can be measured by an aware public. If there are no books, paintings, dance, theater, essays, or music to inform, how is the public to learn to measure thought and emotional integrity? Old societies know the worth of art. We of the United States are young and foolish and not yet steeped in wisdom.
I have inherited money, and I have made money. The money inherited has allowed me to live richly due to the past talents of writers and business people who made Doubleday & Co. profitable. Much of the money I have personally made has been invested in land in Wyoming, a land that feeds my soul every day of my life since I moved here in 1966. A combination of these monies funds Jentel.
My focus was clear in the construction of the residency buildings, the interiors, exteriors, and studios. I used American primitive furnishings, worn pieces of wood and textiles to give warmth to a contemporary surround. I landscaped with native and non-native shrubs, trees, grasses, and flowers planted as though nature left them to be discovered. I wanted to create a home and work space that would nurture, comfort, and support the creative spirit. My dream is to offer an artist time apart to think, gather, evaluate, digest, and create. What better heritage to leave on this earth?
Why here in Sheridan County, Wyoming? Why in these rolling hills and valleys east of the Big Horn Mountains? The space. The unlimited vistas of a sea like landscape undulating west to the massive forms of the mountains bring a sense of stability and thereness to those who live here and those fortunate enough to visit. A sky and heaven that stretches from horizon to horizon uninterrupted. A paucity of people to infringe on this space. We who live here live with a neighboring hand. For me psychic space has been the greatest gift. Just plain room to be, to question, to think, to create, and to love.
Neltje, Founder and Benefactor