I attended a luncheon yesterday where the presentation was about the Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) Program through the National Parks Service (NPS); in this case, specifically for the Everglades. For those who don’t know, we actually sit between two National Parks – the Everglades and Biscayne, but most of Biscayne is on and under the water. Anyway, the Everglades is visited by millions of people each year and there are multiple entrances. It covers an incredible number of acres and has fascinating ecosystems throughout the area. The point to this post though is that in 2001, the Everglades began participating in the Artists in Residence Program where artists in many different mediums may apply to live and work in the park for a full calendar month. They are provided access to sections of the park sometimes restricted to visitors, and how much or little they choose to interact with the public and the park personnel while in residence is up to them. Visual artists are the logical choice, yet writers, musicians and even dancers are included as eligible. The artist agrees to base at least one work related to their stay and provide that piece to the Park within one year of completing the program. They are welcome to create more than one work and do as they wish with them if there are multiple works.
Since last year was the 10th anniversary of AIRIE in the Everglades, they had a special exhibit of quite a body of work. It is certainly an intriguing program and has become quite competitive. The web site for this specific program is www.aire,org and information about other parks can be found through an internet search of the National Parks System.
It certainly isn’t for everyone, yet it might be exactly the thing for someone you know.