June 2016 – Thirty works of art created by the staff, volunteers and partners of South Florida’s four national parks will be on display in Biscayne National Park’s Dante Fascell Visitor Center Gallery from June 3 through September 12, 2016. Inside Looking Out offers an “insider’s perspective of national parks across the country from those who often know the parks best – the people who work to protect these places every day. The free exhibit is open from 9 – 5 daily, and the public is invited to meet the artists during a reception on Sunday, June 5 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m..
The tagline for the 2016 centennial celebration for the National Park Service is “Find Your Park.” Many of the people who work in the parks “find their park” every day. Sometimes it is an intimate understanding that allows staff to recognize subtle changes that most people would miss. Other times it is a broader familiarity with the parks in general that affords a perspective of how the parks are connected to one another. Some people have wanted to work in a national park since childhood, and others say “their park found them.” From photographs of heart-stopping encounters with wildlife, to watercolors that evoke sensory connections, to works created with found objects, the art speaks of very personal connections with special places.
“Over 70 pieces were submitted for consideration for the show,” said Park Ranger Gary Bremen, the show’s curator. “The pieces displayed were juried independently by three professional artists, all of whom have had solo and group shows at Biscayne National Park in the past.” The jurors were painter Patricia Rottino Cummins, ceramicist Anne Gorden-Vega, and photographer Brian Trainor.
“The art submitted for this exhibition clearly demonstrates the connection each artist found with “their” park, said Cummins. “The making of art permits the artist to communicate freely, in this case communicating the diversity of our national treasures in a variety of media.” Anne Gorden-Vega reflected on how being a juror impacted her. “The delightful experience of choosing the work for this show has helped me validate my own inspirations. Our national parks awaken an urge to share their wonder and beauty,” she said.
Inside Looking Out is part of the park’s Community Artists Program, started in 1997 as an outlet for the works of artists who are inspired by the beauty of Biscayne National Park. The program is made possible by the South Florida National Parks Trust through the generosity of Sedano’s Supermarkets and the Miami-Dade County Division of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor and Board of County Commissioners.