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2021 New River Gorge Creative Residency

November 16, 2020

We are thrilled to be able to continue the New River Gorge Creative Residency in such a turbulent year. We know that now, more than ever, everyone needs creative writers and artists to lift our spirits and inspire our minds, to remind us of the beauty and talent in West Virginia and throughout the country.

So we are happy to announce the recipients of the 2021 New River Gorge Creative Residency: Jessica Sands of Breesport, New York and Amy Pabst of LeRoy, West Virginia.

Jessica Sands

Jessica Sands

Jessica Sands

Residency Dates: Late December – January  

Jessica Sands has served as Senior Lecturer, Multilingual Writing Special at Cornell University since 2012. Before moving to New York, she taught in South Korea, Australia, Turkey, and elsewhere throughout the United States. After growing up in Southern Pennsylvania, Jessica graduated from Bethany College and achieved her master’s degree at West Virginia University.

During her winter residency, Jessica will be working on a project that highlights the outstanding international women living, working, and finding inspiration in West Virginia. Her finished project will showcase new and exciting perspectives of the rich fabric of West Virginia culture through curated personal essays and interviews.


Amy Pabst

Amy Pabst

Amy Pabst 

Residency Dates: Late February – March

Amy Pabst began quilting in 2011 after she randomly checked out a book about quilting from her local library. Since then, Amy has taken quilting from “craft to art” according to Fran Kordek, a quilting teacher certified with the National Association of Certified Quilt Judges. “Her fabric palette includes challenging fabrics. Color is used carefully with well-planned choices and placement. Repetition, balance and other design elements and principles are all masterfully applied.”

During her winter residency, Amy will be working on quilts for her second series which she started in December 2018, entitled “Micropiecing.” The series comprises 25 miniature quilts. The pieces in each quilt are 1/8” wide or less, and each quilt has between 5,000 to 20,000 pieces.


Since 2015 the New River Gorge Creative Residency has afforded writers and artists the unique opportunity to live and work at Lafayette Flats Boutique Vacation Rentals in Fayetteville, WV.

The residency is designed to provide creatives with an opportunity to develop their skills while devoting uninterrupted time to a particular project. Additionally, the New River Gorge Creative Residency provides the opportunity to create an alternative narrative for West Virginia: to present a view of the state and its people that doesn’t follow the tired old stereotypes that are so prevalent in literature and art.

We are hoping to have a virtual reception for the 2021 New River Gorge Creative Residency recipients in early March. Stay tuned for more information.


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