PLAYA, A Center for the Intersection of Art and Science

For over 10 years, PLAYA has supported new works and collaborative efforts in the arts and sciences. PLAYA’s programs promote innovation and creative solutions through a spectrum of interactions between the arts and sciences.

Today, Playa is focusing on expanding and deepening the field of art and science and empower the problem solving and human motivation necessary for a healthy and whole future on this planet.

In the next 10 years, PLAYA will engage artists, scientists and the local area community in diverse and unique ways including through residencies, workshops, themed weekends, presentations, exhibits and events. PLAYA will facilitate and host unique activities that inspire and provoke at the nexus of art and science.

Playa is uniquely positioned to do this work due the following factors:

  • The landscape offers inspiration from and immersion in the natural assets of basin and range.
  • The landscape offers a living desert lab.
  • The landscape connects and convenes urban and rural communities by way of shared respect for place.
  • The openness and exposure to the landscape and elements lends new ways of thinking at the nexus of art and science. 

  • A 10-year history and resident alumni artists and scientists.

PLAYA acknowledges that it resides on the ancestral homeland of the Yahooskin Paiute and Klamath tribes. In the spirit of truth, reconciliation and association, PLAYA will continue to steward this land and invite people to reside here that are actively working to learn from and share our natural environment.

PLAYA (pronounced “ply-uh”) is a nonprofit organization supporting positive change for our world and environment through work in the arts, literature, natural sciences, and other fields of creative inquiry. PLAYA was organized in 2009 and began its residency program in May 2011. For all of the latest information, including upcoming residency opportunities go to our application page.

PLAYA nurtures innovative thinking in the arts and sciences through its residency and workshop programs on the edge of the Great Basin, to promote dialogue and positive change in the environment and the world.

We will transform the world through creative inquiry by providing programming that encourages investigation, immersion, and exploration in the arts and sciences.


  • The influence of science and art on one another leads to powerful progress in both disciplines. 

  • Place based programming is a strong way to engage and activate community. 

  • The power in science – art intersections lies in the fact that both sides share a common goal of trying to understand and describe the world. 

  • If human society is to maintain a vibrancy of culture and biodiversity, it needs new ways of seeing the world.


In 2006, PLAYA founders Julie Bryant and Bill Roach purchased the Summer Lake Inn, a bed & breakfast establishment, from its previous owner. After extensive construction and reconstruction of the buildings and grounds, PLAYA hosted its first residents in 2011.

Julie Bryant, Co-Founder
Julie and her husband Bill founded PLAYA in 2009. Former Board President, she continues to serve on the Finance Committee of the Board. Julie’s background includes a degree in Geology and a J.D. from Stanford University.  Julie’s work experience has been largely volunteer, focused on social, environmental and economic justice and progressive philanthropy.  She has also worked as a consultant to environmental engineering firms.  Her greatest joys are hiking through remote back country, working on the land, and spending time with her two daughters, Meg and Lindsay.

William Roach, Co-Founder
Over the past 40 years, Bill, an architect/designer, has been involved in all phases of designing and constructing mixed­ use developments, primarily in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. He enjoys collaborating with the many talented crafts people in the design and building trades. Bill worked on a prefabricated home project, the first prototype now housing the Executive Director on the PLAYA campus. As co­-founder of PLAYA , former Board Secretary and dedicated supporter of PLAYA, Bill is torn between his attachment to the desert and paddling his kayak on the coast of British Columbia. 


Since its founding, PLAYA has provided residencies to hundreds of artists and scientists. The 75–acre property includes six fully equipped and spacious cabins, two fully equipped live/work studios, three studio/research spaces (including one shared living quarters), a large open shed/studio, and outdoor field research areas. Access to most facilities is barrier-free.The Commons, a central gathering building, has a communal kitchen, dining room, fireplace room, an outdoor terrace, and two adjacent spaces for presentations, projects, or dance. The Commons also houses PLAYA’s office and laundry facilities. As the central gathering space, the Commons offers limited Internet, a landline telephone, a developing library, communal recreation area, and space for food preparation and dining.

Located at the northwestern edge of the Great Basin in south-central Oregon, PLAYA sits at the base of Winter Ridge, which rises to 7,200 feet. PLAYA’s campus, at an elevation of 4,200 feet, borders Summer Lake to the west and includes a large pond, wetlands, grass fields, and walking paths. Summer Lake is 20 miles long and five miles wide and is defined as a playa, which is a seasonal desert lake, shallow in the winter and spring, and dry in the summer and fall. Weather varies with wind, snow, rain, and sun.

At the north end of Summer Lake, the state-owned Summer Lake Wildlife Refuge is one of the finest desert wetlands in Oregon. It is a destination for birds and birders year-round. The surrounding semi-arid terrain has diverse wildlife and a varied geology. Fifteen-thousand years of human use of the Summer Lake basin has left a rich record of human habitation.

Lake County, with a population of about 8,000 and over 8,000 square miles, is Oregon’s only county without a stoplight. Ranching, outdoor recreation, government land management, and a developing alternative energy industry provide the region’s economic base.

PLAYA, rural and remote from many services, is located on Highway 31, two hours southeast of Bend, Oregon, one hour north of Lakeview and five hours northwest of Reno, Nevada. The nearest commercial airport is in Redmond, 17 miles north of Bend.