Art and Land Conservation Symposium to Explore the Role of Artists in American Land Conservation

Drummond Woodsum Attorney Bill Plouffe has spent over 30 years working on land use and land conservation matters where the value of aesthetics in nature is frequently relevant to the matter to be decided. Government regulations seek to prevent “unreasonable adverse impacts on scenic resources”; however, in practice, legislators, courts, civic groups, developers, and attorneys still struggle with this often controversial issue.  This perplexing question of assigning value to natural beauty led Bill to the idea of examining the work, context and theory of artists who strive to capture that aesthetic and convey its value in their work.  Bill has been the moving force in creating an education event that has become the Art and Land Conservation Symposium: Exploring the Role of Artists in American Land Conservation

 This two-day symposium will explore the critical role that 19th and 20th century visual artists played in the American conservation movement, and consider how their work can inform land conservationists, outdoor enthusiasts, art lovers, and policymakers in addressing contemporary pressures on the American landscape.   Attendees will learn from experts on Adams, Bierstadt, Church, Cole, Hartley, O’Keeffe, Olmsted, Watkins and others how artists created landscape images for Americans who had never and might never experience them directly. Nationally-recognized scholars in art, history, American studies and law will relate how artists helped policy-makers embrace a land protection ethic based on the aesthetic values of nature that played an essential role in the creation of our national and state parks. Presentations on contemporary artists in Maine and national parks with a thematic focus on the arts will also be included.

Registration for the symposium opens on May 1, 2017 for two days of lectures and break-out sessions on August 3 and 4 at Colby College, Waterville, Maine, followed by optional field trips to three iconic Maine regions where some of America’s most influential artists worked—Katahdin, Acadia, and Monhegan. Drummond Woodsum is pleased to join the National Park Service and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy in sponsoring this event. Click here for more information. 

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