January 30, 31 & February 1, 2015
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Friday, 1-5, Saturday 9-5, Sunday 10-5
October 23, 2014
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About Atlantic Center for the Arts

An Atmosphere for Artistic Collaboration, visit ACA's website

There is a spirit of rejuvenation, collaboration and experimentation among writers, visual artists, choreographers and composers at Atlantic Center for the Arts, an artists-in-residence facility nestled on a 68-acre ecological preserve in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Atlantic Center provides workspace and technical support to artists from all over the world to create, without interruption, in an atmosphere conducive to intellectual exchange and artistic development.

Renowned artists are invited to ACA and to select a talented group of artists to work with them during the three-week residency programs held year-round. More than 300 internationally-acclaimed Master artists have worked at Atlantic Center, including such luminaries as Tony award and Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and director Edward Albee, author Marilyn French, dancer and choreographer Trisha Brown, visual artist Robert Rauschenberg, painter Alex Katz, architect Arata Isozaki, sculptor John Chamberlain, photographer William Wegman, composer John Corigliano and poet John Ashbery.

Atlantic Center for the Arts was founded by environmentalist, painter and sculptor Doris Leeper in 1977, and is a nonprofit corporation. Leeper founded the Center in order to give talented artists the opportunity to work with outstanding Master artists from different disciplines. Selected through an application process and portfolio review by the Master artists with whom they wish to study, these Associate artists come from around the world, including Peru, Japan, Mexico and Europe and are university professors, post-graduate students, professionals, or full-time artists.

One exciting element that transpires during the residency process is the collaboration that occurs between the artists of different disciplines. It is not unusual for composers to collaborate with poets, or dancers to work with painters in a way that exposes a creative process previously unexplored.

"I know of no place that combines a very special work atmosphere with people of widely different creative disciplines," said New York-based composer Corigliano, who attributes portions of his opera, Ghosts of Versailles, which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera, to the time he spent at Atlantic Center for the Arts. "The results of this kind of union will be important. I believe that the combining of diverse techniques is vital to artistic growth - perhaps point the way to entirely new forms."

It is with this in mind that Atlantic Center's National Council, comprised of distinguished art figures, identifies potential artists from throughout the world to serve as Master artists-in-residence. "Atlantic Center for the Arts provides an ideal environment in which dedicated Master creative artists and enthusiastic and talented Associates can work together productively, and in tranquility, yet as a community with other creative people," said National Council member Albee. "As long as Atlantic Center maintains a standard of excellence in its choice of Master artists and gathers a wide spectrum of potential Associates, it will provide a unique and invaluable service to the arts community."

The term "environment" is often cited as a critical component of the success of Atlantic Center's residency programs. That term is used to express the intangible, creative interchange of ideas and inspiration, as well as the physical beauty of the setting. The sense of place Atlantic Center for the Arts provides is vital to the residency experience.

"The warmth of the community, the thoughtful design of the buildings, and the beauty of the natural place were crucial components of a three-weeks without parallel in my own experience," said writer Reynolds Price of his Master artist-in-residence experience at Atlantic Center.

It is exactly this interaction between nature, environment and creativity that Leeper imagined when she envisioned Atlantic Center for the Arts. During its first 10 years, a workshop, fieldhouse, amphitheater, Master artist cottages, Associate artist housing (minus telephone and television) and a caretaker's cottage were constructed on the heavily wooded acres on the secluded shores of Turnbull Bay. The Leeper Studio Complex, including music, painting, sculpture and dance studios, a black-box theater and a resource library, is a successful union between award-winning architecture and nature. The Complex, designed by the firm of Thompson & Rose Architects, was dedicated in 1997 as part of the 20-year anniversary celebration.

The Leeper Studio Complex, which increased workspace to 12,000 square feet, elevates Atlantic Center's level of programming by permitting the artists-in-residence to further develop and refine projects using these discipline-specific work studios. Linked by a boardwalk which leaves dense, indigenous vegetation undisturbed, the Leeper Studio Complex, which is built of rich wood under lead-coated copper roofs, makes the Center a premier residency facility and provides an expanded venue for performances and exhibitions.

The 5,000 square foot Visitor Center & Gallery, slated for completion at the end of 2004, is comprised of three interconnecting galleries: the Master Gallery will feature changing exhibits - showing work by Master Artists, Associates, Florida university students, and special curated exhibitions; the ACA Gallery will highlight the history and document the mission through an exhibit that reflects ACA's interdisciplinary aspect; the Portrait Gallery will feature the Master Artist portraits by Jack Mitchell. Add to that a Founder's Room, Digital Media Resource Center, Reception Area, and Gift Shop. Outdoor enhancements will include redesigning the Art and Nature trail, reconfiguring parking and roadways, and adding signage. The Administration Building will be renovated to increase office and storage space.

Education has always been an integral component of Atlantic Center's mission. This expansion project is a direct offshoot of the success of Atlantic Center's community programs, public presentations, and gallery exhibitions. The increased professional gallery space will allow greater opportunity to broaden these educational components.
Outreaches and performances are a vital part of each residency. The public is invited to enjoy the Master artists and their Associate's creations as they lecture, present work and field questions. Outreaches held throughout the state at venues including public schools, universities and museums have given added meaning to the arts for thousands of students, artists, civic leaders and community members.

But most importantly, the results of the residency touch all corners of the world, as artists take with them honed skills, a keener intellectual approach to their work and a sense of artistic rejuvenation inspired by their experience at Atlantic Center for the Arts.

"During my residency, in a relatively short span of time, a supportive culture developed among the artists," said A. Van Jordan, who participated as an Associate artist-in-residence with poet Joy Harjo. "The environment at Atlantic Center fostered freedom: Freedom to explore your chosen art form, freedom to collaborate with others and the freedom to dismiss outside distractions..."