2016 Artists in Residence chosen

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Date: March 4, 2016
Contact: Katie Lawhon, 717/ 338-4402
Contact: NPAF, 505-715-6492

There's a new and expanded Arts residency program at the Gettysburg National Military Park. In 2016, the National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF), through the generous support of The Gettysburg Foundation, and with the cooperation of the National Park Service, is bringing eight innovative artists to the nation's premier battlefield park to work and interact with visitors. Each Artist will be featured during Gettysburg's "First Friday" events at the historic Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station and give two workshops to the public during their residency.


NPAF's first Artist in Residence for 2016, Leigh Rydbergh, is an Artist/Filmmaker from Minnesota who will spend the month of March/April using her residency to create storyboards for a feature film she is writing using historical and personal accounts of a Civil War unit from her home state. An industry veteran, Rydberg has worked on many films in a variety of positions, including making storyboards for the hit show Boardwalk Empire. At "First Friday", at the historic Lincoln Train Station, she'll provide a public program using her storyboards to show how this artwork is crucial to how most of the American films and television shows come to be. Rydberg also plans to show how she has pre-visualized elements of the film she is developing and will compare her new drawings to pages from her script. 

She sees her film as a real fleshing out of the little known human history and tribute to those who fought and died at Gettysburg. "I have been collecting a lot of research material to gain a better understanding of the real life characters that I am writing about from the First Minnesota Infantry during the Civil War. I recently located a copy of a scrapbook that had belonged to one of the key soldiers from my story, and was delighted to find handwritten notes, some of which were correcting inaccuracies in various newspaper articles written about the regiment during his lifetime." She is also looking forward to interacting with the many knowledgeable visitors who come to the park, as well as park interpretation staff. "I want to learn and gain an insight into the level of general knowledge and interest they have in the civil war. The visitors to the park are likely to be my future audience for my film and to see what most interests them about the civil war would be a valuable resource in gaining a better understanding on how others view the battle of Gettysburg." 

Leigh Rydberg's public schedule is as follows:

Artist: Leigh Rydberg
Residency Term Begins: 3/15/16 Residency Term Ends: 4/12/16
"First Friday" Main Public Engagement Presentation: 4/1/16
Location: Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station
Time: 5 pm - 8 pm 
In her presentation, Ms. Rydberg will discuss her planned film about Minnesota Soldiers at Gettysburg and will show her storyboards created for it during the residency.
Rydberg Workshop #1: 3/26/16
Location: Meet at Klingel House 10 am - 12 pm
Rydberg Workshop #2: 4/10/16
Location: Meet at Klingel House 3 pm - 5 pm
In her workshops, Ms. Rydberg will use examples from her own work in films to show how storyboarding is a key part of the modern filmmakers process. 

The April/May Artist-in-Residence, Robert Beech, has a unique background in the arts. He was a professional animator in Hollywood until he took up 19th Century photography. He cherishes the irony: "For someone who now does 19th century photography, I find it odd that 25 years of my career was spent developing digital imaging, aka: CGI "Computer Graphic Imagery". Beech makes tintypes using natural light of Civil War Subjects -- traveling all over the U.S. to creatively document Re-enactor units -- using (as far as practicable) the same techniques and strategies available to Matthew Brady and Alexander Gardner and their battlefield photography colleagues. Says Beech: "I like using the archaic photographic techniques, not because they are easy but because they are hard. It is a challenge to get consistent, acceptable results. When I can overcome these difficulties it is extremely rewarding. I have learned to really appreciate the tenacity of the 19th century photographers who had to pioneer these processes under adverse conditions." 

For part of his project, Beech plans to creatively replicate some of the most famous and iconic early photographs of the battle aftermath on the actual locations that they were originally made. He will also lecture on the history of these photographs and demonstrate to a workshop group how to do wet-plate tintypes in the field. 

Robert Beech's public schedule is as follows:

Artist: Robert Beech
Residency Term Begins: 4/15/16
Residency Term Ends: 5/12/16
"First Friday" Main Public Engagement Presentation: 5/6/16
Location: Gettysburg Lincoln Railroad Station
Time: 5 pm - 8 pm
In his presentation, Mr. Beech will discuss his work as a re-enactor and battlefield documentary photographer and talk about his experience creatively remaking some of the most famous Gettysburg photographs.
Beech Workshop #1: 4/23/16
Location: Meet at Klingel House 2 pm - 5 pm
Beech Workshop #2: 4/30/16 
Location: Culp's Hill during Gettysburg's Community Wellness Event from 2:30 pm - 4 pm, Mr. Beech will take a select group of attendees to demonstrate how one achieves a wet-plate photograph in the field much as the first photographers at Gettysburg did more than a hundred years ago.
Other Events: Mr. Beech will also host an open house at the Klingel House on May 7 during the "Doors Open Gettysburg" event from 11 am - 4 pm  

To inspire, engage and connect with a new generation of artists and visitors, Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation has greatly expanded an "Artist in Residency" program this year, hosting leading artists on the Gettysburg battlefield for month-long residencies from March through November. A total of eight artists will be hosted at the battlefield. The program was created in cooperation with the non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation and with the Gettysburg Foundation

"Artists-in-Residence are creating new connections with the Gettysburg community and with the American public," said Ed W. Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. "The artists are telling Gettysburg's stories in new, compelling ways that inspire people to learn more and help preserve these special places." 

Gettysburg Foundation President Joanne Hanley said, "Gettysburg's NPAF Artists-in-Residence adds an artistic dimension to how Gettysburg's stories are shared as our visitors are able to experience an artist's interpretation of the park and its history, meet the artists in person, and engage and connect with them as they express, through art, the power of this place." 

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and protects the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg and the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and provides an understanding of the events that occurred there within the context of American history. 

The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. by creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported entirely by donation and generous partnerships. For more information on how you can support the Gettysburg National Military Park Artist in Residence and other NPAF arts programs Nationwide visit www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org or admin@nationalparksartsfoundation.org.

Last updated: March 22, 2016

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