Studio in the Woods: Artists disconnect and embrace nature

NEW ORLEANS  (WGNO) - New Orleans is home to artists of all kinds - visual, musical, theatrical. But on the West Bank, there’s a place where artists can cut off the outside world, embrace nature, and improve their craft. Off the Mississippi River in Algiers, there's a Studio in the Woods.

“We're open to professional artists of all disciplines," Studio in the Woods Managing Director Ama Rogan said. "We've had writers, musicians, composers. We've had visual artist of all kind-- dancers, theater artists, photographers, really any artist that can use this space in a creative way. Artists get an opportunity to just simply be and create, and to really find that wellspring of creativity in one self. You need to disconnect from the pace and the demands of your regular life, we all know this. And to do that in a natural setting and a setting that is really dedicated and supported is really a wonderful and rare thing."

Nearly 100 artists apply each year for the six week residency program, trying to get one of the few spots available. And Jackie Ehle Inglefield of New Orleans got in.

"I read about this place and I was like, 'Oh my gosh -- this is love!' It was like a dream come true and I applied four times before I got in," Inglefield said. "You just create. And some times that creating is just sitting by the pond and sketching. It's a beautiful place, it totally absorbs every cell of your body. It's this calm, you hear the sounds of nature, it's like a symphony."

Each selected artist has to work on a project focused on a social justice or environmental theme. Jackie is making a shrine to the wetlands out of recyclable products.

"You can create art of anything. Plastics are easy, they're non expensive and you can basically do anything with them! I take plastics, then I paint it and I quilt it together. Art and nature are kind of the same, they're very fluid! And to be surrounded by nature as an artist just helps ignite that creativity," Inglefield said.

The application process opens up again in the early Spring. Artists of all genres -- beginners or professionals—are welcome to apply! Click here for more information.