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First ARTSail resident artist casts his net on climate change
Ombretta Agró Andruff (ARTSail's Curator) with artist Mark Koven

MIAMI, FLA.- ArtCenter/South Florida has launched the maiden voyage of ARTSail, the nomadic floating art project taking artists aboard sea vessels for creative explorations along the coastlines and waterways surrounding Miami.

This new maritime artist residency fosters solutions for environmental concerns, to engage the community in the discovery and preservation of South Florida’s fragile ecology.

The resident artists selected for the ARTSail program “dock” back and forth between their sea vessel and their land-based hub at ArtCenter’s studio residencies located in Downtown Miami, creating new work and research inspired by their experiences of life on the water. ArtCenter/South Florida is partnering with the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science for this new initiative. This artist residency research program was awarded a $40,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of its 2015 Knight Arts Challenge.

Independent curator Ombretta Agró Andruff manages the residency program, and curates the variety of projects onboard. For the first ARTSail residency, ArtCenter South Florida is partnering with the 60-foot, ocean-going catamaran The Impossible Dream, universally designed to bring mixed abilities and non-mixed abilities people together for collaborative working relationships.

“ArtCenter/South Florida is grateful and honored to receive this support and recognition from the Knight Foundation for ARTSail, as we embark on these new types of artist residency programs that expand the boundaries well beyond traditional residencies for artists,” said Maria del Valle, ArtCenter/South Florida’s Executive Director. “We are creating new ways to unleash the artists outside the confines of their studios to directly engage their communities.”

The first ARTSail residency has been awarded to Mark Lee Koven, an interdisciplinary artist based in Utah, whose research merges art and science. His work has been featured in more than 100 exhibitions including the New York Science Museum, FlashArt Milan, Miami Science Museum and Scope London.

The artist will collect footage onboard the sea vessel for a film exploring Miami’s natural environment and its challenges, to be featured as an immersive 360-degree surround sound and video experience for audiences within a mobile planetarium. He will use his ARTSail residency to continue working on his traveling project titled Taking One’s Temperature, an interactive and participatory installation that integrates contemporary education models with technology, the arts, and scientific data collection.

“For me, this innovative residency gets at the heart of my own goals on integrating art so that it can play a functional role in educating communities, working with scientists and local officials to shape policies in response to the effect of global climate change,” said Mark Lee Koven.

“The work I am creating onboard ARTSail is intended to motivate the general public to help stem the tide of global climate change. My work will use collected anecdotes, video, sound and communal activities to expose the problem in an approachable way,” adds Mark Lee Koven.

“This allows people to feel they can accomplish something and help on a personal level, rather than feeling overwhelmed and powerless. Through projects like this, I hope people will be motivated to change their everyday behavior in considering how climate change will impact their own home and their future,” adds Mark Lee Koven. “My hopes are that this will lead to policy changes and how we approach everything from conservation, environment and nature to development, pollution and energy production, and to help focus attention on elements in our current accepted way of life.”

ARTSail residencies have also been awarded to the curator Blanca de la Torre (from Spain), and the artist Simon Faithfull (based in the U.K.). Both are slated to set sail this summer for their residencies aboard ARTSail.

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