VOICES OF THE WILDERNESS
US Forest Service, National Park Service, US Fish & Wildlife ServiceResidencies open to: Artists and art professionals in all media – visual (two and three dimensional: photographers, sculptors, painters), audio (musicians, singers, composers), film (video/filmmakers), and writers (poets, fiction, essays, storytellers).
Residency period: June through August; dates vary
Contact: Barbara Lydon at (907) 783-0090, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The summer of 2013 will mark the third year of our Voices of the Wilderness artist residency. It is modeled after traditional residencies in the national parks…with a twist. Instead of staying at a remote wilderness cabin, our participating artists are paired with a wilderness ranger and actively engaged in stewardship projects, such as research, monitoring, and education. The idea is to give artists a sense of the stewardship behind America’s public lands, fostering an artistic exploration of these natural and cultural treasures. The hoped-for result is artwork that communicates something of the meaning of these lands.
Artists in Public Lands
Artists have long contributed to the preservation and interpretation of our public lands. Early examples include George Catlin, Albert Beirstadt, and Thomas Moran, whose nineteenth-century paintings inspired pride in America’s wild landscapes and influenced designation of our first parks.
In subsequent generations, artists used song, photograph, poetry and other mediums to celebrate America’s public lands. Their work demonstrates that artistic expression plays a vital role in connecting people to the natural world.
Now it’s your turn.
Recognizing that today’s artists continue to link people to the land, the Forest Service, Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service are sponsoring Voices of the Wilderness, an artist-in-residence program on the Tongass National Forest, Chugach National Forest, and various national parks and national wildlife refuges across Alaska.
Your job? It’s to be inspired. Experience the wilderness and use your creative energy to bring its voice back to the community.
In the summer of 2013, artists will be invited to participate in one of our residencies being offered in a variety of different wilderness areas across Alaska. The purpose is to share with the community artwork that conveys the inspirational and other values of wilderness.
Ten wilderness areas currently participate in the Voices of the Wilderness program. They range from the towering old growth rain forests of the Tongass National Forest to the sweeping arctic valleys of Western Arctic National Parklands. In each residency, the artist travels alongside a ranger and is exposed to public lands stewardship projects. It’s an opportunity few experience: You may find yourself in an inflatable canoe on the Noatak River, or a sea kayak in Prince William Sound, or perhaps walking among ancient Sitka spruce trees on the Tongass National Forest in southeast Alaska. From the water, you might see a bear foraging among intertidal mussels, or seals hauled-out on icebergs freshly calved from enormous tidewater glaciers. On remote beaches, your steps may mingle with the tracks of wolves, bears, birds, maybe even a mink. A wilderness soundscape will embrace you with the screeches of eagles or the songs of whales. Along the way, you’ll get a peek at what it’s like to care for the land by sharing time with a ranger. And there will be plenty of time to sit back in your camp chair and absorb your surroundings.
Each artist will be provided the same safety training as other volunteers (includes aviation and boat safety, kayak safety, use of radios and satellite phones, and review of Job Hazard Analyses). While each residency is different, in most cases the Forest Service, Park Service and Fish & Wildlife Service will provide food, transportation to and from the field, and most camping and kayaking gear (see more details of each residency under “Participating Wilderness Areas” below).
Residencies will occur June-August, each varying in length—typically seven to nine days. As a volunteer, each artist will assist with some basic ranger duties, which may include boarding a tour boat to provide education, participating in research projects, such as seal counts or climate change studies, walking a beach to remove litter, or other generally light duties. However, an emphasis for the artist will be experiencing the wilderness and exploring how to communicate its inspirational qualities through their artwork.
Travel to Alaska is the artist’s responsibility. Participants should plan to arrive in Alaska at least one full day prior to a residency to ensure enough time for safety training. Return travel should be planned for a couple days after a residency, as weather sometimes delays the return from the field.
Participating Wilderness Areas:
AK Peninsula/Becharof National Wildlife Refuge
Alaska’s second largest lake borders the Becharof Wilderness, all encompassed by the Becharof National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge protects spawning habitat for millions of sockeye salmon, the foundation of the regional economy. It also protects critical habitat for the Northern Alaska Peninsula caribou herd, uncounted numbers of enormous brown bears, and a host of other wildlife, from ptarmigan to wolves. Anglers and wildlife photographers find world-class experiences here.
Within the Becharof Wilderness, a cluster of small cabins provides a home for the refuge’s annual Taquka Kuik (Bear Creek) Science and Culture Camp. These cabins can be home for you and a companion as a base for experiencing the solitude and challenge of wilderness. You should bring someone with you, as we don’t allow any volunteers to be alone in the field. Required training includes bear safety, first aid, and the use of a shotgun.
We seek someone interested in spending 1-2 weeks in the Bear Creek cabins, followed by a week sharing your creative skills with students from the village schools as part of the science and culture camp. Camp takes place in the 1st or 2nd week of September. This is a time of increasing brown bear activity, providing frequent sightings in a true wilderness setting.
Artists will fly into Anchorage, and USF&WS will fly them to King Salmon. Duties will include helping to clean up debris at the Bear Creek site, clearing brush and arranging the cabins for the upcoming camp.
Contact Julia Pinnix at Becharof National Wildlife Refuge for more information: 907-246-1211 or Julia_Pinnix@fws.gov
Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
In 1794, when Captain George Vancouver sailed through Icy Strait west of present-day Juneau, Alaska, the entrance to today's Glacier Bay was a wall of ice that extended more than 100 miles northward. By 1916, the ice had retreated 65 to 70 miles and the bay was formed. In very few places are the powerful, changing forces of nature more evident than in Glacier Bay, and rarely is the full spectrum of pioneer to climax species as apparent within a circumscribed area. Glacier Bay is also a part of the vast Kluane/Wrangell-St. Elias/Glacier Bay/Tatshenshini-Alsek World Heritage Site; together these areas comprise one of the world’s largest terrestrial protected areas. Glaciers, icefields, high latitude, and diversity of plant and animal life, combined with the magnitude of the protected area adjacent to Glacier Bay, conspire to make this wilderness an ideal, unfragmented living laboratory for many scientists. It is a place renowned and protected for its diversity, change, and opportunity for study. 3.28-million-acres of Glacier Bay National Park has been designated Wilderness.
Dramatic change and the ebb and flow of nature occur at every scale: within centuries, seasons, and hours. The glaciers continue to retreat on the bay's eastern and southeastern sides, but they are growing in the west arm, fed by copious amount of snowfall in the upper elevations. The tides swell and recede dramatically twice a day, oftentimes by as much as twenty vertical feet. Long days in the summer months become markedly brief in the winter, as the earth’s axis slants away from the sun. Many species follow this pattern, disappearing from Glacier Bay during the winter months, only to return or re-emerge in the spring.
Surrounded by a spectacular, glaciated horseshoe rim of mountains, Glacier Bay is sheltered by the Fairweather Range to the west and the Saint Elias Mountains on the north. The highest peaks, topped by Mount Fairweather at 15,300 feet, stand almost three miles above the sea and attract intrepid mountaineers. No trails exist; most visitors see the Wilderness by boat, and the sea kayaking ranks among the best in the world. The main bay divides into East and West Arms, which are split into many inlets. The water is dotted with islands, and the paddling goes on and on in eye-aching splendor. Campers share the shorelines with black and brown bears, moose, bald eagles, among other wildlife. Sighting of humpback whales, sea otters, harbor seals, sea lions and orca are common.
The majority of our backcountry patrols utilize sea kayaks. The selected artist for this residency will accompany one of our backcountry rangers on a 5-7 day patrol of Glacier Bay. Artists will depart for the wilderness from Gustavus.
Contact Barb Bruno at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve
for further questions: (907) 697-2603 or Barbara_M_Bruno@nps.gov
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge
Kenai National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) encompasses 1.9 million acres and is located southwest of Anchorage in the central Kenai Peninsula. Over half of the Refuge (1.35 million acres) is federally designated wilderness.
Kenai NWR is often called Alaska in miniature because it encompasses a variety of habitats from the 7,000 ft. Harding Ice Field to the tidewaters of Chickaloon Bay. The Refuge protects the majority of the Kenai and Kasilof River watersheds, which are important spawning grounds for 4 species of salmon, rainbow trout and Dolly Varden. Large lakes such as Skilak and Tustumena (third largest lake in Alaska) provide important water access to wilderness lands. Wildlife that rely on wilderness habitat include moose, brown and black bears, lynx, wolverines, wolves, eagles, loons, trumpeter swans, and a variety of migratory birds.
As an artist-in-residence, you will experience Kenai National Wildlife Refuge in a very special, unique way. Traveling alongside backcountry rangers, you’ll boat the remote lakes and rivers, hike trails through forest and alpine tundra, and camp in the beautiful backcountry settings or stay in historic wilderness cabins. You will also assist rangers with duties including maintaining public use wilderness cabins and trail construction and maintenance. As you work with rangers, you’ll enjoy the project teamwork, scenic landscapes, wildlife sightings, and wilderness solitude.
Artist will need to fly into Anchorage; USF&W will fly the artist into Kenai from there. Residency duration may be up to two weeks.
Contact Candace Ward at Kenai National Wildlife Refuge for further information: (907) 260-2807 or email@example.com
Misty Fiords National Monument
Misty Fiords National Monument Wilderness encompasses 2.2 million acres of coastal rainforest on the southern tip of the Alaska Panhandle. The area is characterized by numerous streams and river systems; alpine and subalpine lakes; forested mountains; and an abundance of fish and wildlife. Past glaciations have formed picturesque fiords, such as Walker Cove and Rudyerd Bay, which are surrounded by granite walls rising 3,000 feet above the ocean. Flightseers, boaters, and hikers come to Misty Fiords to photograph, kayak, explore, fish, and hunt, and to view the outstanding scenic beauty of the rugged terrain. Brown and black bears, mountain goats, and black-tailed deer are common sights in Misty Fiords. Moose, marten, wolves, wolverines, and river otters may also be found in abundance. All five species of salmon share the waters with sea lions, harbor seals, killer whales, humpback whales, and porpoises.
As an artist-in-residence, you will experience Misty Fiords like few others. Traveling alongside a ranger, you’ll kayak the fiords, hike trails to subalpine and alpine lakes, and camp along the shoreline. You’ll also assist with some basic ranger duties, which may include cleaning up campsites, monitoring visitor use, and light trail maintenance. The artist-in-residence selected will have outdoor experience and be physically and mentally prepared for a primitive travel and camping experience. As you work with wilderness managers, you’ll have plenty of time to take in the sights and sounds of the scenic landscape. Artists will depart for the wilderness from Ketchikan. Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer.
Contact Lorelei Haukness at Ketchikan-Misty Fiords Ranger District for further questions about Misty Fiords National Monument: (907) 228-4102 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area
(western Prince William Sound):
The Nellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area is a stunning region located in western Prince William Sound in south central Alaska. Spanning over two million acres on the Chugach National Forest, this wild landscape features countless glaciers—the densest concentration of tidewater glaciers in the world, some flowing over twenty miles from ice-capped peaks to terminate in cliffs of ice towering hundreds of feet above the water. The history of glaciation is evident everywhere you look, from newly de-glaciated barren hillsides, to ancient moraines just below the water’s surface. Traveling by sea kayak in these expansive fiords, you’ll look straight up at peaks rising 2,000-9,000 feet right from the water’s edge. Camping alongside the ocean shores you’ll be able to follow the tracks of an animal, check out glacier ice up close, or take a short hike up to the alpine for an expansive glimpse of the fiords. Diverse wildlife is prevalent in the Sound, including black bears, humpback whales, sea otters, Dall’s porpoises, harbor seals and sea lions.
Artists will be partnered with a ranger for seven days, participating in various wilderness stewardship duties, including invasive weed surveys, visitor contacts, visitor use trends monitoring, campsite monitoring, and air quality monitoring (such as collecting lichens) and climate change studies. While working alongside a ranger, there will be plenty of time to experience the solitude and wildness of this place.
Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer. Artists will depart for the field from Girdwood, located approx. forty miles southeast of Anchorage.
Contact Barbara Lydon at the Glacier Ranger District for further questions about Nellie Juan-College Fiord WSA: (907) 783-0090 or email@example.com
Petersburg Ranger District Wilderness areas
Work will be in one of the three wilderness areas on the Petersburg Ranger District; Tebenkof Bay, Kuiu, or Petersburg Creek-Duncan Salt Chuck Wilderness. All of these wilderness areas are good examples of the island rainforest environment of the Tongass National Forest. Participating artists will be partnered with a ranger for a five to ten day trip working on projects such as invasive plant eradication, solitude monitoring, or campsite inspections. The crew will live in small tents, travel by small boat or floatplane, and spend days in what can be a cold, wet environment.
Specific dates are yet to be determined and will be between mid-June and late August. One artist will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer. The artist will depart for the field from Petersburg.
Contact Brad Hunter or Karisa Garner for further questions about this opportunity: (907) 772-3871.
South Baranof Wilderness
Alexander Baranof, the first governor of Russian America, built his headquarters in nearby Sitka and left his name on this large island (1,600 square miles) with most of the southern extremity of the island (319,568 acres) designated as the South Baranof Wilderness Area. Bounded on the west by the Gulf of Alaska, the scenery is stunningly picturesque with granite glacier-scored mountains, long saltwater fiords and hanging lake valleys. On the east side of the wilderness by Chatham Strait, the saltwater coastline is not as rugged and there is a higher snow accumulation over the whole area with over 200 inches of precipitation per year. Permanent snowfields and active glaciers blanket the high country above 2,000 feet, giving way to dense undergrowth in a coastal forest of spruce and hemlock. The wildlife that inhabits this area includes brown bears, Sitka black-tail deer, mink, marten and river otters, as wells as eagles and shorebirds. Seals, sea lions, whales, and a large population of sea otters are often seen offshore, and crab, shrimp, herring, salmon and halibut are harvested from the sea.
As an artist-in-residence you will be joining in a unique collaboration between the Sitka Ranger District and the Sitka Conservation Society in monitoring this rarely visited Wilderness Area. Access will be by floatplane or motorboat. Trips will consist of basecamps in remote locations or by roving monitoring from a sea kayak. Artists should be available for at least a two-week period to allow for adequate weather windows given the area’s exposure to the wide-open Pacific Ocean. Artists will depart for the wilderness from Sitka. Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer.
Contact Darrin Kelly at Sitka Ranger District for further questions about South Baranoff: (907) 747-4280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Tracy Arm-Ford’s Terror Wilderness
Tracy Arm-Fords Terror Wilderness Area is located fifty miles south of Juneau. Two steep-walled fiords cut into the immense coastal mountain range running the boarder of Alaska and Canada. The fiords fork and terminate at three glaciers; these are three of the most southerly tidewater glaciers in the northern hemisphere. Rich soundscapes reveal the abundance of life in an old-growth temperate rainforest and contrast to the sounds of creating new terrestrial habitat as the calving face of a tidewater glacier exposes land that hasn’t seen the sky in hundreds of years. Our stewardship projects are as various as the characteristics of this wilderness.
Each selected artist will accompany a wilderness ranger for up to nine days. Transport to the wilderness will be by floatplane or skiff.
During the fieldtrip, the artist and ranger will divide their time between Holkham Bay, Tracy Arm fiord and Endicott Arm fiord. The teams will travel by sea kayak and camp in two-person tents near shore. Artists will depart for the wilderness from Juneau. Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer.
Contact Solan Jensen at Juneau Ranger District for further questions
about Tracy Arm-Fords Terror: (907) 789-6231 or email@example.com
West Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness
The West Chichagof–Yakobi Wilderness Area occupies the western portions of Chichagof and Yakobi Islands in the extreme northwest portion of the Alexander Archipelago of Southeast Alaska. The wilderness consists of 265,286 acres of wave-pounded open coastline, remote rivers, forests of old-growth western hemlock and Sitka spruce and uplands of alpine, muskeg, and rare karst cliffs. Sitka black-tailed deer are common here along with brown bears and an abundance of smaller furbearing animals including mink and marten. Migratory waterfowl frequent the more protected bays and inlets in remarkable numbers. Marine mammals include sea otters, Stellar sea lions, and harbor seals.
As an artist-in-residence you will be joining in a unique collaboration between the Sitka Ranger District and the Sitka Conservation Society in monitoring this rarely visited Wilderness Area. Access will be by floatplane or motorboat. Trips will consist of basecamps in remote locations or by roving monitoring from a sea kayak. Artists should be available for at least a two-week period to allow for adequate weather windows given the area’s exposure to the wide-open Pacific Ocean. Artists will depart for the Wilderness from Sitka. Up to two artists will be selected to participate during the 2013 summer.
Contact Darrin Kelly at Sitka Ranger District for further questions about West Chichagof: (907) 747-4280 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Western Arctic National Parklands: Cape Krusenstern
In cooperation with the Inupiaq people, Cape Krusenstern National Monument preserves and interprets evidence of human migration from Asia and thousands of years of cultural adaptation in arctic Alaska. The Monument preserves a landscape supporting dynamic processes of coastal erosion, accretion, and aggradation in an arctic environment as exemplified by the formation of over 100 beach ridges containing a 5,000 year record of sequential human use. Cape Krusenstern National Monument and the adjacent Noatak River Valley are some of the most intact wilderness areas in existence, in the sense that they have remained largely free from the influence of modern human control and manipulation. Intricate food webs and wildlife populations are unchecked by modern human interference, allowing communities to retain their diversity and complexity and find their own balance. The community of life here has a noticeable freedom – many species will travel hundreds of miles in their lifetime without encountering an impediment. For those that migrate seasonally, these wildernesses areas provide unfettered corridors and thousands of acres of protected wetlands.
Selected artist will accompany a backcountry ranger or staff biologist in Cape Krusenstern National Monument for an 8-10 day trip. They will be dropped off and picked up by float plane, and each individual will have their own inflatable expedition size kayak. The pair will spend approximately 8 days kayaking the Krusenstern Lagoon area and inland waterways within the Monument. All kayaking will take place in protected waters and would be fine for folks with minimal boating experience. Artist is responsible for transportation to & from departing city, Kotzebue, and for their food. NPS will provide all field gear and all backcountry flights.
Contact Dan Stevenson at Western Arctic National Parklands for more information: (907) 442-8306 or Dan_Stevenson@nps.gov
Qualifying artists will include visual artists (e.g. painters, photographers, and sculptors), writers, musicians, and storytellers. Their selection will be based on:
-Statement of Purpose
-Proposal for donated artwork and community extension, and willingness to work with the Forest Service, Park Service or Fish & Wildlife Service to make this program a success
-Ability to camp in a remote location and travel by skiff, airplane and sea kayak, and willingness to assist with light ranger duties.
Please note: unforeseen safety, budgetary or other constraints may require certain units to withdraw from the VOTW artist residency program or make changes to proposed field projects. Any withdrawals within the program would happen before May 1, 2013.
Art Work Donations and Presentation
|2010 TAFT AIR Brenda Schwartz-Yeager|
Each participant is expected to donate one piece of artwork to the hosting agency (Forest Service, Park Service or Fish & Wildlife Service) for use in publicizing the values of the public lands. Donated artwork should be representative of the national forests, parks, and refuges, and communicate its inspirational or other values. Artwork should be delivered to the appropriate ranger district within six months of the residency.
Artwork from visual artists should be framed with glass or otherwise prepared for hanging before donation.
A written statement should accompany donated artwork and should include a short biography, a description of the residency, and how the experience influenced the artist’s process and final piece. Artists are also encouraged to share any thoughts on wilderness, the public lands, or the stewardship projects they experienced during the residency, including wildlife studies, climate change monitoring, or other work. The purpose of the written statements is to help us celebrate and initiate dialogue about our public lands and the issues they face.
Electronic copies/digital images of artwork should be provided where appropriate (e.g. photography). The artwork will be shared with the public through exhibition, publication, websites, or other means.Donated pieces will be displayed at ranger districts or visitor centers. The original work resulting from the residency will be donated to the United States Government, which means that the artist signs over publishing and reproduction rights to that work. The artwork will be shared with the public through exhibition, publication, websites, or other appropriate means.
Our long-term goal is to host a traveling art show in Alaska, to include venues in Juneau, Anchorage, Ketchikan and Sitka, as well as a show in Washington D.C. in 2014 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act. The show will include at least one piece donated by each participating artist. Artists need not be present at the 2014 shows.
Artists are expected to provide one public presentation within six months of completing their residency, such as a slide lecture, demonstration, or workshop that publicizes the program and connects the community to its public lands. Other examples include a performance, explorative hike, or participation in the public lecture. Collaborative projects and programs that coordinate with local schools and organizations are encouraged. The presentation can be tailored to an individual’s medium, interest and experience, but each artist must provide supplies, equipment and logistics for the presentation. Community extensions do not have to take place in the community of the residency.
How to Apply
Applications can be either mailed or emailed electronically; addresses are listed on the application. Please note that mailed application materials will not be returned.
Artists may apply to as many areas as they wish; submit an application to each wilderness area you wish to participate in.
Paper applications that are being mailed in must be postmarked by February 18, 2013.
Emailed applications are due by March 1, 2013. Selections will be made in April.