2024 Shenandoah National Park Artists-in-Residence

The Artist-in-Residence program gives artists an opportunity to creatively explore Shenandoah’s natural and cultural resources and pursue their artistic discipline. Each artist will spend three weeks in Shenandoah and create an original piece reflecting the experience to donate to the Park. Artists also present public programs about their art and their residencies.

Shenandoah’s Artist-in-Residence program is funded by SNPT, and it’s one of numerous National Park Service sites across the country that have Artist-in-Residence programs to inspire artists to create and share art that not only motivates and encourages millions of people to visit and explore, but also helps build awareness and develop stewardship of these beautiful public lands.

The following artists have been selected for Shenandoah’s 2024 Artist-in-Residence program:

Lia Pikus, Cellist (May 1-22)

Lia is a cellist, composer, and multidisciplinary artist whose practice centers around art’s ability to cultivate experiences of connection, both within community and in dialogue with the natural world. As a Thomas J. Watson fellow, she researched this connective power on a global scale, exploring the role of art in fostering community specifically in the context of collective re-imaginations of justice. This research forms the foundation for her current explorations of live looping as a form of meditative ritual and is the central focus of the songs on Ritual, which released in February of 2024. Her current preferred media are cello, loop pedal, voice, field recordings and biodata sonification. 

I grew up partially in and around the Blue Ridge Mountains and felt a magnetic pull back homewards to begin conceptualizing my first album. I seek to create meditative sonic experiences that awaken the audience’s awareness to the landscapes, natural processes, flora, and fauna with which I am conversing in my works.” 

Megan Evans, Painter/Printmaker (July 8-29)

Megan uses her art to investigate nature, specifically the way in which mathematical concepts are represented. She has always been interested in the recurring shapes seen within the natural environment. Through the repetition of shape and natural elements, her paintings reflect elements of this world in a non-traditional way. Megan is also a highly regarded visual art educator, driven to inspire all of her students to become life-long arts enthusiasts, while also preparing students for careers in visual art. She has worked for Columbus City Schools for 25 years, while continuing to create and exhibit her own work throughout Ohio. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Art from the University of Findlay and a Master of Art Education from The Ohio State University.

I am looking forward to the dedicated time to think and work on the thing that feeds my soul the most. For the public programming, I will focus on natural textures and developing observational drawings, including how to use the technique of sighting to get accurate proportions and angles within drawing.”

Jo Clark, Poet (August 5-26)

Jo is a writer from Charlottesville, Virginia. She’s interested in all the threads that weave through nostalgia, and the simultaneous refuge and ruggedness of the natural world. She is an Master of Fine Arts candidate at Syracuse University where she teaches undergraduate writing and works for Salt Hill Journal. Before moving to Syracuse, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and Medieval & Renaissance literature from the University of Virginia. Her work can be found in Sundog Lit, Hooligan Magazine, Whale Road Review, Volume Poetry, and elsewhere. She is a 2024 Elizabeth George Foundation grant recipient and a finalist for Shenandoah magazine’s Graybeal-Gowen Prize for Virginian poets.

I grew up in the shadow of the Blue Ridge and have always felt a deep connection to Shenandoah National Park. I can’t wait to fill up my notebook with new poems inspired by sights, sounds, and memories the park conjures. It’ll be such a treat to get back in touch with the restorative and refreshing Virginian landscape.” 

Susan Patrice, Photographer/Interdisciplinary Artist (September 9-30)

Susan is a documentary and contemplative photographer. Her photography and public installations focus on the Appalachian landscape and its people and feature intimate images that touch deeply into questions of place and belonging. Since 2016, her work has primarily explored the nature of visual perception and its impact on our feelings of kinship with the natural world. She engages in intimate gestural conversations with the land through the use of hand-built cameras designed in response to place. She lives in Marshall, North Carolina, where she is the director of Makers Circle and a co-founder of the Kinship Photography Collective.

During my residency, I will experiment with ways that photography can bear witness to the massive scales of time and space in which the Appalachian region has evolved while also attending to the ever-changing landscape and what it can tell us about transformation and resiliency.” 

Aimee Bobruk, Singer/Songwriter (October 3-24)

Aimee spent 15 years in Austin, Texas learning to write songs and perform until songs and love took her to the edge of the Baltic Sea where she now resides on an island in Denmark. In her own words, “I write to make sense of the world and my place in it.” In 2024, Aimee is releasing her album, Malybanchia, inspired from her journey along the Mississippi River and residency at the childhood home of American author, Carson McCullers. She is also launching an online global songwriting club for teens called, Tuneagers. She has released three additional studio albums and has written over 25 songs with international artists and publishing companies. In 2018, she made a documentary film, Borderlanders, where she rode the Texas/Mexico border on a motorcycle and interviewed locals about life in this region. During her residency, she will be writing songs inspired by nature and the stories she encounters from park visitors.

I will go down some rabbit holes when it comes to researching plants and animals in the park. These will be used as metaphors in songs, as well as some first-hand stories from visitors. I will present new songs at a concert at the park and strive to have the music reflect the surroundings.” 

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