2016 Loggerhead Key Artists in Residence Announced

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Date: September 19, 2016
Contact: Dry Tortugas National Park, 305-242-7700
Contact: Public Affairs Office, 305-242-7714

Dry Tortugas National Park News Release

Release Date: September 19, 2016 

Media Contact: Public Affairs Office, 305-242-7714 2016 

Loggerhead Key Artists in Residence Announced at Dry Tortugas National Park: Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger 

Dry Tortugas National Park Continues Partnership with National Arts Foundation 

KEY WEST, FLORIDA: Dry Tortugas National Park and the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) are pleased to announce this year's resident artists in their ongoing partnership to establish a joint Artist in Residence (AIR) Program. 

According to Pedro Ramos, Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Park Superintendent, "The Artist in Residence Program will help us usher in the National Park Service's Centennial, and will also offer artists and visitors alike views of Dry Tortugas National Park in new and innovative ways. We are pleased to announce the second artist to be selected for this prestigious program, Chattanooga-based Cinematographer Carter McCormick and his partner, Chilean photographer and filmmaker Paula Sprenger. They will spend the month of September immersed in their artistic endeavors, on a pristine, isolated island at Dry Tortugas National Park."
According to NPAF Founder Tanya Ortega, artists always need a fertile place to get away from the everyday. "We are dedicated to implementing our partnership with Dry Tortugas National Park by selecting world class artists to enjoy the once in a lifetime experience of a month-long residency on a pristine Florida key with its own, historic lighthouse. Ms. Sprenger and her partner, Carter McCormick, will spend the month of September at the park. Afterward, the artists will provide several public programs in early October, including a lecture and reflection on their work and practice in the specific natural landscape found in this Key.

Filmmakers Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger, picked after NPAF's competitive selection process, are both experts in digital camera work and their passion is recording the interaction of the natural world and the humans who are closest to it. Says Sprenger: "In my work I look to showcase the grandeur of nature in comparison to the individual human spirit." Their work has taken them to different places like Costa Rica, National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Everglades and Dry Tortugas National Parks Office of Communications 40001 State Road 9336 Homestead, FL 33034-6733 305 242 - 7714 phone 305 242 - 7711 fax Belize, Panama, Ghana and other countries, looking for the unusual in the usual —what goes unseen to the naked eye. Says Carter McCormick: "My aim as a filmmaker is to blur the line between art and documentary in a way that both educates and provokes an emotional response. Lately I have been exploring microcosms. It amazes me how much life surrounds us that we can't even see unless looking through the right lens."

McCormick and Sprenger met as students at the Savannah College of Art and Design, where they saw they had a mutual passion to use the camera in unique, expressive ways. Says Sprenger: "I am the most comfortable with a camera in my hands. Being able to create images of things that surrounds me and expressing myself like that fulfills me the most." Carter McCormick loves that the Dry Tortugas residency offers a chance to work in peace, and feed a restless, nomadic spirit at the same time. "We've all dreamed of living alone on a tropical island. The only difference between me and most people is that my island fantasy involved bringing a lot of camera equipment along. This September i'm going to do just that. I've always wondered what I could accomplish if all I had to do was focus on my work, free of distractions and the buzz of the digital world." And Paula concurs with this: "It'll be an experience in itself to be disconnected from the madness and to have a month to be with Carter in a beautiful place."

This NPAF residency offers the absolute essence of an artist's retreat in the heart of nature. This is particularly inspiring to Sprenger, who loves the sea and its endless mystery. She added, "All my life I have felt a huge pull from the Ocean and I cannot wait to be enwrapped by it and capture all the colors and shapes that exist in that environment. Just learning what I can produce in that environment will make this a successful residency in my eyes." The Artists in Residence plan to use their month on Loggerhead Key to make and edit a pair of short films about the island's eco-system, both on land and underwater, as well as make an accompanying photo series. One film will be experimental in structure focusing on how nature always takes over its land even after humans have left their footprint in that certain place. The other short film will be about Loggerhead Key's ecosystem.

According to Tanya Ortega, "The Dry Tortugas National Park Artist-in Residence program will be another interactive public feature to highlight and honor this year's Centennial of the National Parks in 2016. The 100th anniversary of the Park System's Enabling Act was in August. The National Parks Foundation is always looking for active participation and input from lovers and sponsors of the arts. This work is an important contributing part of Florida's unique culture and natural landscapes. It doesn't happen without people! So if you want to volunteer, donate, or share your perspective, please contact us."

Dry Tortugas National Park is located almost 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West. The 100-square mile park is mostly open water with seven small islands. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the park is known the world over as the home of magnificent Fort Jefferson, picturesque blue waters, superlative coral reefs and marine life, and the vast assortment of bird life that frequent the area. Visitors enjoy camping, snorkeling, bird watching, fishing or just enjoying a view from the top of massive Fort Jefferson. Fort Jefferson is the largest all-masonry fort in the United States, built between 1846 and 1875 to protect the nation's gateway to the Gulf of Mexico.

WHAT: Filmmakers Carter McCormick and Paula Sprenger announced as 2016's resident artists in the Artist in Residence (AIR) Program for Dry Tortugas National Park. 

WHEN: The first month-long AIR residency will begin September 1, 2016. The Artists will be hosting public events in Key West toward the end of September and in early October. 

Events featuring the artists and their works are scheduled as follows: 

Presentation for visitors and staff at Fort Jefferson, Dry Tortugas NP September 23rd, 2016 at 5:30 pm 

Gala Event Lecture and Presentation at the Tropic Cinema in Key West October 2nd, 5 pm. 

Presentation at the Dry Tortugas NP EcoDiversity Visitor Center in Key West October 4th, 2016, from 6-7 pm. 

WHERE: Dry Tortugas National Park is located approximately 70 miles west of Key West, accessible by private or charter boats, ferry, or seaplane, which offer daily departures from Key West. 

This and other park releases are available at https://www.nps.gov/drto/learn/news/newsreleases.htm

More information about the Dry Tortugas National Park can be found on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/drto/learn/news/newsreleases.htm 

For more information on the Dry Tortugas Artist-in Residence Program: www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org, email info@nationalparksartsfoundation.org or contact Cecilia Wainright at 505-715-6492. 

National Parks Arts Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 charitable foundation. The AIR Program is made possible through the philanthropic support of donors of all sorts ranging from corporate sponsors, small business, and art patrons and friends groups of the Parks.

Last updated: September 20, 2016

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