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Contact: Tanya Ortega
Contact: Rob Evory, 247-910-3418
Contact: Michelle Bonczek , 607-651-6984
Poet Couple Selected as First Gettysburg Battlefield Artists-in-Residence
The National Parks Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit, is pleased to be working with the National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park and the Gettysburg Foundation to provide the inaugural Gettysburg National Military Park Artist-in-Residence program. The artists will spend the month of July, 2015 at the park. Afterward, they will provide a public program with photos as lecture and reflection on the significance of their poetic and photographic discoveries and research in the context of the history and culture of Gettysburg Battlefield and explain to visitors how they drew their inspiration from the park's hallowed landscapes.
This is the first of three artists' residency programs available at Gettysburg National Military Park this year. Applications are still open to artists of all types and media at www.nationalparksartsfoundation.org.
The artists explain their winning Gettysburg proposal in this way: "It's our hope to use poetry and photography to bridge history and connect park visitors to the individual men and women who participated in the different aspects of the Battle of Gettysburg whether they fought on this field or prayed at home for their sons. Our collaborative project will consist of a series of epistolary, or letter, poems written in the imagined voices of both those at Gettysburg and those of the civilian population at home."
The Artist-Couple, based in Michigan, are the founders of The Poets Billow, which champions poetry as a life enhancing force for everyone;and offers advice, guidance and consultation and a network for poets, experts and amateur.
They are both widely published poets and have received numerous awards and recognition for their work. Michelle received a PhD in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Eastern Washington University, and an MA from State University of New York at Brockport. She currently teaches environmental writing at the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, NY. Robert has an MFA from Syracuse University where he was the Poetry Editor for Salt Hill, its literary magazine. Currently, he is co-founder and managing editor for The Poet's Billow. He is a musician having played on several albums and holds a bachelor's degree in music from Western Michigan University. And he is also an astronomy buff who combines his love of the stars with his poetry, and plans on taking his telescope to the park to stargaze.
The program is offered thanks to the input and support of the National Park Service and the Gettysburg Foundation whose joint efforts make the park the foremost visitor destination for those interested in the epic history of the American Civil War.
"This new Artist-in-Residence program at Gettysburg National Military Park in partnership with the National Parks Arts Foundation and the Gettysburg Foundation will allow us to inspire, engage and connect with new audiences and in new ways," said Ed W Clark, superintendent of Gettysburg National Military Park. "We are excited that artists will help us convey the passion of the Gettysburg story and these magnificent landscapes through their work."
Gettysburg Foundation President Joanne Hanley said, "All of the great historic sites and historic places tell the story of who we are as a people, where we have been, and hopefully can point us in the direction of where we want to go because of the lessons learned. Gettysburg's Artists-in-Residence will add an artistic dimension to how those stories are shared as our visitors are able to experience an artist's interpretation of the park, meet the artists in person, and engage and connect with them as they express, through art, the power of this place." The work of these artists will be a great addition to the crucial Park Service missions of interpretation and visitor outreach.