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October 06, 2014

AIRIE's (Wet) Land Art

By Josh Dean | Art
AIRIE's (Wet) Land Art
Photo courtesy of Dana Levy

Founded in 2001, Artists in Residence in Everglades, or AIRIE, is one of the country’s most unusual programs. Fellows, such as New York–based visual artist Dana Levy (see her on-site installation, Emerging from the Swamp, above), spend a month alone in a cabin deep in the Everglades, with air-conditioning­, spotty Internet, a bike, a kayak and free rein of the 1.5 million­–acre park. So far, 110 fellows—artists but also writers, musicians and even dancers—have been selected to live and work among the alligators and panthers and inva­sive pythons. The lonely, spartan experience can occasionally be shocking. One artist from Hollywood, Florida, packed up her things after the first day and began to drive away, only to have a change of heart and turn around. “The next day,” says Deborah Mitchell, AIRIE’s executive director, “she had this pivotal experience that made her want to stay.” airie.org.

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