Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Un-Rejected! Alaska here I come!

I've been wanting to write this post for a week, but I've almost been afraid to talk about it, because it's just such an amazing turn of events and rather daunting. But remember how I've been applying for years to get an artist residency in Denali National Park in Alaska and came tantalizingly close but ultimately was rejected? And remember how I discovered a new one this year in the Ford's Terror Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest near Juneau and was rejected from that one as well? You don't? Well what luck, there's links! But seriously, a few weeks after getting a rejection letter from Tongass, while on the Bioblitz, I got a phone call from the ranger in charge of the program saying she had transferred to Prince William Sound (just south of Anchorage) and wanted to start up another program there, and ASKED ME TO BE THEIR FIRST ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE! 
This residency is similar to the Tongass program  but will start out in Girdwood, AK (above) in August, where I and a Ranger from the National Forest Service will gear up for a 7-day tour of Prince William Sound, traveling by sea kayak and camping next to glaciers. The list of gear they sent me goes to 2-pages and includes wool sweaters, Xtratuf boots, waterproof pants, jacket, gloves and camera case. Did I mention it was kind of daunting? Did I mention I've only been in a kayak (and not the sea kind) a couple of times? Did I mention that I've only been camping twice in recent memory, and both times in the congenial society of the Bioblitz? Did I mention I just had knee surgery? Well, I certainly didn't bring any of that up in my application! But at least I'm grateful I've been hitting the gym pretty regular-like since January (one of those rare resolutions that stuck), and I'm going to take a sea-kayak lesson soon, and they do say "Extensive backcountry/kayaking experience is not necessary for this residency, just capability". I do think I will be capable of doing anything they tell me to, as long as they have the expertise, and you don't find much better expertise than the National Forest Service Rangers! I'll find out more about it when the ranger who will be in charge of me gets back from "the field" next week. I'll need to spend a few days in Anchorage too, so if anyone has recommendations on cheap but decent hotels I could use some!

In all my residencies I've really enjoyed interacting with the rangers and have respected their knowledge of the environments they work in and their efforts to preserve it, dealing with so many issues that the public isn't even aware of most of the time, but this is the first time I will actually spent the entire residency working so closely with them. I can't believe what a great opportunity this is!

Oh yeah, and I'm going to do some art too.


  1. YAY!!!
    This is SO cool! You're proving that wishing can make it so. The ranger is double-lucky. She got an ace transfer to Prince William, and she got you for kayak-ballast. Have fun, ladies!

  2. Oh this is grand, grand news. I was hoping, after reading your last post, that it might be Alaska. And to be the first is somehow even better. Congratulations. You persevered and made it!

  3. Fantastic news!! Congratulations.


I value your comments, please let me know what you think!

Related Posts with Thumbnails