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Sheryl Maree Reily, RV Residency, June 2021

Artist in Residence Sheryl Maree Reily will spend two weeks in mid-June and mid-September exploring, documenting and interpreting peatlands in the Homer area through photographic research and documentation, interviews and community engagement. Sheryl’s residency is sponsored by Bunnell Street Arts Center and Homer Drawdown.

Homer Drawdown is a collaborative community project focused on climate solutions and specifically, the preservation and restoration of local peatlands. Homer Drawdown supports sustainable climate actions while uplifting the continued stewardship of the land by the indigenous Dena’ina and Sugpiaq people, who have called the Kenai Peninsula home for thousands of years.

Peatlands are widely under-recognized and misunderstood as ‘undesirable’ lands, overlooked for their roles in ecosystems, local economies, and climate stability. The Homer Drawdown Peatland Project aims to reverse that sentiment. The project will conduct surveys of local peatlands, assemble knowledge about the various animals, plant and human lives that rely on their healthy function, historically and presently, and study and document the valuable role of peat in the carbon cycle and climate change on the Kenai Peninsula.

Through art, we hope to bring the stories assembled from this research to our communities to elevate peatlands in people’s minds and hearts, to illuminate the interconnectedness of peatlands and people, and to impact the management and preservation of peatlands as our landscapes transition into an undetermined future.

Biography

Sheryl Maree Reily is a visual artist working in all media. The gravity of the global situation prompted her to transform her creative practice as a self- taught photographer and healthcare professional into an arts-based advocacy for human and environmental wellbeing. Her work draws upon an expanded field of sculpture, performance, installation, and media technology.

Reily’s work is represented in all the major public collections in the State of Alaska, she has participated in wilderness artist residencies with US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Parks Service, Department of Natural Resources, and research residency Fellowships with the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and Santa Fe Art Institute, and is the recipient of a 2019 Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist award to support her current project, ReWilding.

Reily’s residency is co-sponsored by Homer Drawdown, a collaborative community project focused on climate solutions and specifically, the preservation and restoration of local peatlands. Homer Drawdown supports sustainable climate actions while uplifting the continued stewardship of the land by the indigenous Dena’ina and Sugpiaq people, who have called the Kenai Peninsula home for thousands of years.

Call for Proposals: Art for Peat

Homer Drawdown: Peatlands Project needs an artist’s help to tell the story of peatlands on the Peninsula

Drawdown is seeking artists for a community mural to tell the stories of sustainable stewardship, cultural heritage, human and environmental justice, and respect for future generations embedded in local peatlands. Collectively, can we re-envision our relationship to these lands, ancestral to the Dena’ina and Sugpiaq indigenous cultures, through a lens of reciprocity and equity as we move in the future?

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