Artist Profile

Spring Creek, Nevada

Gretchen Skivington

Skivington, Gretchen

Gretchen Holbert Skivington has a M.A. from the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) in Spanish/Basque/French. Working as an oral historian at the Basque Studies Department at UNR, she was also the lexicographer for the first Basque-English dictionary and completed a collection of oral histories on Basque hotels. While attending the University of California, Davis, Skivington received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature. Recently, she received the Nevada Arts Council’s Artist Fellowship and has been recognized by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Sierra Arts Foundation. She has lived and taught in Mexico, Germany, Spain and France. Currently, she teaches languages and humanities at Great Basin College in Elko and is helping to establish the Great Basin Indian Archive of the Shoshone-Paiute tribes. Her work had been published in Dibo, Brushfire and Halcyon. Skivington was born in Elko and has returned home to live on forty acres at the foot of the Ruby Mountains with her husband, two children and innumerable crickets and spotted leopard toads.

Program/Residency Activity Descriptions: Schools/Communities
“Although I’ve been out and about in the world, I am a native plant and a ruralist at heart – Elko with Super Wal-Mart now is getting too big for me! As an oral historian and a writer of stories, I am allured by the word “voice” and captured by the question: Whose History Is It? I think of my stories as “scriptural” histories emerging as they do from my lifelong chats with folks around here in the wondrous space called the Great Basin. Like my mother Lenore before me, I especially like to visit with people. I look at my twenty-five year career as a teacher – preschool through university – as one extended community workshop. I would revel in the opportunity to listen to the rich rolling cadence of folks in the rural West as we share the miracle of life and the wonder of personal expression.”