Irene Sperber for Miami Art Zine

A Photographic Swamp Walk and an Artist Residency await in the Everglades and Cypress Preserve

Miami, FL August 10, 2013–Apart from art in the park, sculpture gardens or theatre under the stars, to glom a bit of culture high or low, we pretty much head inside to a city venue for a well established museum, or gallery in the funk* du jour section of town known to those magically attached to an exclusive ear trumpet heralding the next great art enclave under a bridge or inhabiting a warehouse.  There is more to experience in the great expanse past our immediate west than alligators and egrets, though the wildlife is spectacular if you have a tolerance for untamed animals that do not necessarily come with a drink and shoes costing more than your Dad paid for his first house.

I enjoy getting away to the grandeur that we have merely a few hours away. As tremendously interesting and diverse as Miami-Dade can be, occasionally one needs to run just far enough away to escape the magnetic force clutch of our metropolitan bee hive.  So pry your fingers off the virtual window sill of urban life, throw on your comfy clothes and go west, young man (to quote NY Tribune founder Horace Greeley).

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South Florida has a number of very worthwhile Residency Programs to enlarge the creative vision. The Everglades presents an unusual opportunity for professional artists with The Artists in Residence in Everglades presents an unusual opportunity for professional artists with The Artists in Residence in Everglades (AIRIE) program for artists, writers and composers. For up to one month artists can immerse themselves in the singular adventure of connecting with the river of grass.  Located in the Pine Island District near Anhinga Trail, there is only one artist in residence at a time.  It is located a half hour drive to a grocery store.  So if you need a Greta Garbo moment to think through ideas and a fresh approach, this might be your moment of zen. Artists bring a new twist to the Everglades experience and aid in getting the Everglades inspirational specialness to another generation.  Post residency, the artists offer exhibitions, lectures or workshops surrounding their experience.

In 2001 Artists in Residence in Everglades came into being after Congress passed the Everglades Restoration bill.  Donna Marxer, a painter and previous arts administrator, in conjunction with Everglades National Park, spearheaded a mission to engage professional artists in the preservation and expanding awareness of this earth’s jewel.

In April of this year Miami’s own artist of note Naomi Fisher braved the world of saw grass and sub tropic denizens, preceded by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen Nguyen who created the large on site installation for Locust Projects called Drawn From the Everglades shown in March-April in Locust.

Image of "Drawn from the Everglades" by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen Nguyen courtesy of Locust Projects

Image of “Drawn from the Everglades” by Wade Kavanaugh and Stephen Nguyen courtesy of Locust Projects