VIENNA, Va. — Performing arts at Grand Canyon National Park will rise to a whole new level in 2005 with plans for a large-scale "Face of America" series project.
The Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts announced early last week that Grand Canyon would serve as the backdrop for a single performance combining music, dance and theater.
"Some of the performers may be down at the bottom of the Colorado River. Some may be at the top, some in between. It’s up to the artists," said Terrence. D. Jones, foundation president, in an interview with the Associated Press. "They will get together and decide the best way to express what they’re doing."
Wolf Trap, a national park that encompasses 130 acres in Virginia, will commit $2.5 million to the "Face of America" series, which has been planned through 2006. This year in April, the U.S. Olympic synchronized swim team performed at the Coral Reef National Monument at St. John’s, Virgin Islands.
"Just as our national parks showcase and preserve for future generations some of America’s finest natural resources and places of cultural heritage, it is our unique role as America’s National Park for the Performing Arts to expand upon the artistic heritage with contemporary voices interpreting the world for future generations," Jones said in a speech before the National Press Club on June 18.
In 2002, Wolf Trap will partner with Mammoth Cave National Park. In 2003, it’s a celebration of the centennial of the Wright brothers’ first flight when Wolf Trap partners with the Dayton Aviation Heritage National Historical Park, Wright Brothers National Memorial at Cape Hatteras National Seashore and the Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site in Tuskegee, Alabama.
In 2004, Wolf Trap will partner with the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park and Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site. In 2005, the foundation will partner with Grand Canyon National Park and in 2006, return home to Shenandoah National Park.
Discussions with artists who may be commissioned to create work for the series are under way. A preliminary list includes David Parson, the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, Bebe Miller, Elizabeth Streb and Rhythm in Shoes.
According to the foundation, it is the goal of the "Face of America" series to "carefully research and understand the unique experience of each national park and to commission and/or select nationally and lesser-known artists to interpret the story for the Wolf Trap audience."
The performance at Grand Canyon in 2005 will be filmed for high-definition television to be shown at the group’s home site in Virginia. A video will then be created for the partner park sites to use in their visitor centers or for educational and promotional purposes.
In 2000, the series celebrated Yosemite National Park with commissioned performances by aerial dance company Project Bandaloop and Native American flutist Robert Mirabal.