January 24, 2005
A Studio in the Woods in Lower Coast Algiers on the westbank of New Orleans recently joined Tulane University when Joe and Lucianne Carmichael donated their land, home and studios to the university in perpetuity.
The Carmichaels, who will continue to live at A Studio in the Woods, are both artists by avocation. They have owned the 7.7 acres of bottomland hardwood forest on the banks of the Mississippi River since 1969, founding the artists community A Studio in the Woods and the non-profit organization Friends of A Studio in the Woods to support the visual, performing and literary arts and architecture.
Local, national and international artists are selected to be in residence at A Studio in the Woods typically for a month by a multi-disciplinary jury of peer artists. Resident artists are provided with a private studio, sleeping quarters, meals and precious protected work time in a peaceful natural environment. Recent residents include local clarinetist and composer Michael White, composer Stephen Dankner, Louisiana environmental artist Alexis Wreden and Washington painter Deedra Ludwig.
"We are excited about the many opportunities ahead as we work with the Friends of the Studio in the Woods to fulfill their important mission of conservation and providing a haven for artists to allow the environment inspire their art," says John McLachlan, director of the Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier Universities, which will oversee A Studio in the Woods.
This year, A Studio in the Woods offers thematic river residencies, inviting national artists to create new work inspired by and honoring the Mississippi River. River residents, sculptor Pat Warner and writer Aurora Levins Morales will present their work and join a panel of environmental scientists in considering the relationship of the culture and science of the river in a symposium on April 21.
The Center for Bioenvironmental Research at Tulane and Xavier Universities is a natural partner for A Studio in the Woods, McLachlan says, because its mission dovetails with his center's vision as an organization committed to thinking with creativity and care about the health of our bodies and our environment through research, education, outreach, communication and technology development. One specific goal of the center is exploring the Mississippi River as a model ecosystem for the world. Partnerships are key to the center, McLachlan says.
"At present, less than three percent remains of the original bottomland hardwood forest of the entire Mississippi estuarial system. This remaining piece of forest is both endangered and precious," Lucianne Carmichael says. "Ecologists expect that with continued preservation activities, the land will have regained its original pristine state within the next 50 to 75 years."
For more information on A Studio in the Woods, the only live-in artists' community of its kind in the Deep South, go to: www.astudiointhewoods.org
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 firstname.lastname@example.org