A Studio in the Woods, a program of Tulane University located in 7.66 forested acres on the Mississippi River in New Orleans, is dedicated to preserving the endangered bottomland hardwood forest and providing within it a peaceful retreat where visual, literary and performing artists can work uninterrupted. Programming includes community workshops in the arts and environmental preservation, and an outdoor classroom where students of all ages can experience and study the natural world. One of a few live-in artists’ retreats in the Deep South, A Studio in the Woods fosters both environmental preservation and the creative work of all artists.
To protect the uninterrupted work time of our residents and students, A Studio in the Woods is open to the public by invitation or appointment only.
A Studio in the Woods began as the homestead and studios of Joe and Lucianne Carmichael. For 30 years they created ceramics, wood and metal sculptures and furniture in their tranquil unspoiled forest by the Mississippi River . Motivated by a desire to preserve this endangered forest and its as creative inspiration for artists, the Carmichaels frequently offered students, artists, educators and environmentalists opportunities to learn about the natural environment and its source of inspiration. From this activity grew more formal artists residencies and the need to support these residencies financially and institute them as a formal artists retreat. To meet this need a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Friends of A Studio in the Woods, Inc., was founded by the Carmichaels and 13 board members in October 2001. Friends continues into the present to support the artistic and environmental programming of A Studio in the Woods including artists residencies, environmental studies for students of all ages, community workshops, walk-throughs and retreats.
Gift to Tulane University
From these activates grew the founders strong intention that this endangered bottomland hardwood forest and its ability to provide education and inspiration for artists and students be preserved in perpetuity. In order to ensure this preservation, the Carmichaels donated their homestead, studios and property to Tulane University in December 2004. Within Tulane, the Center for Bioenvironmental Research of Tulane and Xavier Universities directed by John MacLachlan, is the home for A Studio in the Woods. Friends of A Studio in the Woods, still an independent nonprofit organization of the mission of A Studio in the Woods and works collaboratively with Tulane for that purpose as well as providing financial support for the artistic and environmental programming of A Studio in the Woods.
What is an artists’ community?
The natural environment?
The natural environment and our Louisiana Wetlands, increasingly in danger of extinction, are a life-giving resource to us all. All art comes from the shapes, forms, textures, lines, gestures, and sounds of the natural world. The natural world provides a space of endless inspiration for artists and all who experience it.
The work of artists raises humankind’s consciousness of the interdependence of all life, inspiring us to envision and strive for a better world. A Studio in the Woods is a haven in which artists and others can do this vital work.
Our programming includes residencies, symposia and workshops for artists, young people and the community at large in the arts, environment and the connection between the two.
Carmichaels first picnic on the land: 1968
Carmichaels purchase land: 1969
First school children to use as outdoor classroom: 1973
House completed: 1977
Artist’s Studio: 1996
Artist Craig Taylor suggests this “this ought to be a place for artists”: 1998
First informal residency: Summer 2000
First community planning meeting: Summer 2000
Feasibility study completed: July 2001
Board forms: October 2001
First Pilot residency: Fall 2001
Non-profit status: June 2002
First paid staff hired: May 2002
Partnership with Tulane architecture students: 2002
Partnership with Alternative Public High School: Fall 2002
First official juried resident: Spring 2003
Environmental Curator hired: April 2004
Donation of ASITW to Tulane University : December 2004
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastate the Gulf Coast: August-September 2005
Restoration Residencies for local artists displaced by the hurricanes: February 2006
Changing Landscapes Residencies for artists engaging art and the environment: October 2008
Friends of A Studio in the Woods is a non-profit organization under I.R.C. section 501(c)(3). All charitable contributions are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the contributor. We received our non-profit status in June 2002. Our Federal Tax ID number is 72-150272.