Seven chosen for Acadia Artist-in-Residence program

Artist uses a smartphone to snap a photo of the coastline he is painting
Photo by Lise Greil @lisegreil. Used with permission

Four artists, two writers, and a composer have accepted invitations to the Artist-in-Residence program at Acadia National Park beginning in September 2018. In exchange for a two-week immersive experience, each will lead an outreach activity for the public during their stay, and donate within one year one work of finished art to the program collection that conveys a fresh, new perspective of Acadia for visitors that’s drawn from their direct experience.

Natalie Andrew, Charlie Buckley, Sue Charles, and Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer were selected as visual artists; Andrea Lepcio and Kim O'Connell were selected for writing; and Rachel Panitch, a musician and composer, was selected in the at-large category.

Two of the participants, Sue Charles and Andrea Lepcio, received a further distinction, new to the program this year, as “Resident Artists.” Since they both live or own property with commuting distance of Acadia, and don’t require park housing, their residencies won’t be limited to a two-week period, and may occur anytime during the calendar year. Due to limited housing and staff capacity, all other program participants are now invited to the park outside of peak park visitor season between June through August.

The seven new participants were chosen from the most recent open call that ended in January with more than 190 applications received from 39 states and three foreign countries. Three panels of jurors volunteered to review and narrow applications, a process that continued into April. The jurors included local artists, gallery owners, authors, and community members: Jennifer Booher, Katherine Fernald, Cookie Horner, Carl Little, Gerard Monteux and Howie Motenko. Representing park staff were Michael Marion, Marie Yarborough, and AiR program manager, Jay Elhard. The next open call is expected to open in October and close by Dec 31 for residences that will begin in September 2019.

Learn more about the program at http://go.nps.gov/AcadiaArt

Natalie Andrew
Natalie Andrew

Natalie Andrew, Visual Art

Natalie Andrew is both a professional biologist and a visual artist whose explorations converge around mosses, slime molds, and other denizens of the forest floor. Integral to her practice is the crossing of the boundaries that separate art and science, allowing them to feed off of each other.

Natalie is currently a Resident Artist at the Harvard Ceramics Program, MA, is the 2018 Artist in Residence at the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest, KY, and has had residencies at Wellesley College, MA and the McColl Center for Art, NC. She lectures and gives workshops on art and science, and has exhibited in various galleries in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

As a scientist, Natalie has most recently worked at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self Organization in Germany, researching flows and contraction behavior in protoplasmic slime molds. Her previous positions include postdocs at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School, and she has published in Nature Cell Biology, PNAS, PLoS Computational Biology and others.

Natalie has received a Ph.D. in Biology, a Masters degree in Cognitive Science, and a Bachelors Degree in Physics with Electronics, all from the University of Birmingham, UK. Visit her website, elaket.org

Charlie Buckley
Charlie Buckley

Charlie Buckley, Visual Art

After studying at The University of Mississippi (BFA 2004) and Miami University (MFA 2009), Charlie Buckley taught drawing and painting at Miami, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. Since 2011 he has been working exclusively as a painter, and is represented by Fischer Galleries in Jackson, MS, Southside Gallery in Oxford, MS, and The Arts Company in Nashville. Charlie is currently in the bicentennial exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Arts, "Mississippi, Land of Plenty, Pain, and Promise." He has been awarded the Visual Arts award from the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Fellowship in Visual Arts from the Mississippi Arts Commission. Charlie lives with his wife and daughter in Tupelo, Mississippi. Visit his website, www.buckleystudio.com

Sue Charles
Sue Charles

Sue Charles, Visual Art (Resident Artist)

Sue Charles paints along the coast of New England, translating the landscape into abstract hierarchical relationships of light and color. She exhibits her work at numerous galleries in Massachusetts and Maine, has won regional and national awards and is in many collections, most notably of Susan and David Rockefeller, Jr.

A native of Scituate, MA, Sue now lives in Newbury, MA and Lamoine, ME. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Fine Arts, Sue learned the classic techniques of figure painting but has always loved the landscape. “The natural landscape is fascinating. Everything fits together perfectly, like a puzzle. Trees for instance, don’t grow randomly up and out, but grow only into the available space. The best landscape paintings offer a tantalizing glimpse into this purposeful connection between all natural things, and they stay with you—an image you can recall— like a hummable melody. I aim for that.” Visit her website, www.suecharlesstudio.com

Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer
Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer

Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer, Visual Art

After studying folklore in Ireland, Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer became interested in using ancient tales to express modern day concerns about wildlife and the planet. Her mixed media work includes skills she picked up at the North Bennet Street School's bookbinding program as well as the drawing and painting practice she has been doing from a young age. Johanna uses all aspects of her background in her work to communicate her ideas. Her pieces usually take the form of animals and tell a story. She has been showing her work in galleries throughout New England and beyond and teaching classes to adults and children. Visit her website, selkiebindery.com

Andrea Lepcio
Andrea Lepcio

Andrea Lepcio, Playwright (Resident Artist)

Andrea Lepcio is best known for Looking for the Pony, a finalist for the Dramatists Guild Hull-Warriner Award and for the NEA Outstanding New American Play Award. It was presented in a "Rolling World Premiere" Off-Broadway at Vital Theatre Company in New York and Synchronicity Theatre in Atlanta and subsequent productions. Since moving to Maine in 2015, she has enjoyed six regional productions across the United States. Andrea is a member of the Dramatists Guild, was a Dramatists Guild Fellow and served as the Dramatists Guild Fellows Program Director for ten years. She teaches at College of the Atlantic and the Dramatists Guild Institute. She earned an M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic.Visit her website, www.andrealepcio.com

Kim O'Connell
Kim O'Connell

Kim O'Connell, Writer

Based in Arlington, VA, Kim O’Connell has written articles and essays for such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Ladies Home Journal, National Parks Traveler, Civil War Times, and National Geographic News, on topics including conservation and nature, history and historic preservation, and parenting and education. She is also a professor in Johns Hopkins University’s Master’s in Science Writing program, and she has been awarded writing residencies and fellowships from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Shenandoah National Park, and the Wildacres Retreat. Visit her website, www.kimaoconnell.com

Rachel Panitch
Rachel Panitch

Photo courtesy David Marshall

Rachel Panitch, Composer

Rachel Panitch is a Boston-based violinist, improviser, composer, and teaching artist. Rachel performs Classical music with the Cardamom Quartet, is a dance fiddler with French Roast, and improvises with audiences as a part of Thread Ensemble (a trio of violins and vibraphone). Rachel’s fiddling and compositions can be heard on a PBS Utah Bucket List episode, which was filmed during her 2014 residency in Zion National Park. She was chosen as a 2015-2017 Jubilation Fellow, a national award recognizing “individuals with an exceptional talent for helping young people feel fully alive through rhythm." Rachel received her Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory. Visit her website, http://www.rachelpanitch.com/