About Atlantic Center for the Arts
An Atmosphere for Artistic Collaboration, visit ACA's
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
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
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
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
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