Florida painter starts residency

“Resurrection Fern” by Susan J. Klein.

“Resurrection Fern” by Susan J. Klein.

Susan J. Klein is spending the next couple of weeks on the park's North Rim as the summer 2007 Artist-in-Residence. Klein is a landscape painter from Sarasota, Fla., who specializes in colorful, contemporary, acrylic and oil paintings.

"Traveling to different landscapes excites my senses and imaginations and reignites my creative spirit," said Klein. "Each painting is special and specific to a given time and place."

Klein has been painting and exhibiting her work for more than 30 years. She has won numerous awards and recognitions, including one of her works being exhibited at the American Embassy in Rome, Italy during 2001-2004 as part of the U.S. Department of State Art-in-Embassies program.

As she notes on her Web site, she finds her inspiration in the outdoors.

"Nothing makes me feel so alive, so safe, so at peace with myself as to be surrounded by, immersed in, nature," she writes. "From the solitude and freedom of the landscape I am able to express those most positive feelings toward life that can easily be doubted in other circumstances. I bring these feelings to the painting process - first to the sketches, then to the realized paintings. Each act of painting is an act of magic performed before my very eyes!"

Klein began her residency on Aug. 15. It ends today. Her participation in the North Rim's Artist-in-Residence program continues the legacy of art in our national parks. The Artist-in-Residence program on the North Rim began in 2002 with a resident writer. Artists from around the world typically compete for three residencies per year - spring, summer and fall. Artistic mediums can include painting, pen and ink drawing, charcoal, sculpture, wood working, photography, dance, music or writing.

The broad vistas and overwhelming landscapes of the American West have inspired generations of artists. Their idyllic paintings, rough and tumble novels, sepia prints and soaring musical scores, in part, prompted the establishment of our national parks as an enduring heritage.

This artistic heritage began with the artwork and photography that accompanied the Yellowstone Expedition of 1871. This art helped to influence the establishment of Yellowstone as our first national park in 1872.

Current Artist-in-Residence programs at Grand Canyon National Park, as well as at other parks around the country, preserve that memory today. The nation and the National Park system are changing. So too has a new generation of artists, who have emerged with contemporary techniques and bold new mediums. It is the task of these new artists to help frame our invaluable national heritage in enduring words and images for those who visit now, those who will come later and for those who will know the parks only in this artistic legacy.

Few parks have inspired as much wonder as the Grand Canyon, a world-renowned symbol of the American dreams of exploration and endless possibilities. Klein will experience a unique opportunity to live and work in this unparalleled setting.

For more information about the Artist-in-Residence program, including the application process for next year's program, contact Chris Carroll, park naturalist, at 638-7647.

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