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Collecting snow samples near McMurdo Station
Like this geologist working on Mt. Erebus, an active volcano near McMurdo Station, artists and writers also come to Antarctica to learn, so that they may help others understand the significance of this isolated continent and the research done here. (NSF/USAP photo by Josh Landis)


The National Science Foundation's Antarctic Artists and Writers Program makes it possible for the humanities (painting, photography, writing, and history) to be part of the U.S. Antarctic Program. Artists and writers work at U.S. stations and camps, often with science groups but sometimes on their own, to create works that portray the region or the activities that take place there.

The Antarctic Artists and Writers Program contributes to NSF's goal of advancing discovery while disseminating results broadly to enhance scientific and technological understanding. The program helps record the Nation's antarctic heritage, responding to White House direction that the U.S. Antarctic Program support the range of U.S. interests in the region. Application procedures and a list of past participants can be found at

The next application deadline, for participation in the 2004-2005 austral summer season, will be June 2, 2003.

The selection process for the artists and writers program is comparable to the one for science projects in that a peer-review panel meets at NSF annually to evaluate the applications; this panel's advice heavily influences NSF's selections. The applicants who are chosen receive field support (including air travel from the United States), but no direct award of NSF funds. The program, while intended mainly for U.S. citizens, considers requests from artists and writers in other Antarctic Treaty nations whose applications demonstrate that their works will reach a significant U.S. audience.

The lost men: A book linking modern science and Shackleton's Ross Sea Party.
Kelly B.Tyler.

The Lost Men will be a nonfiction account of the Ross Sea Party of Sir Ernest Shackleton's British Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914-1917). Ms. Tyler, a science journalist and historian, will visit research locations and interview investigators to meld modern science with the historical account and thereby provide a deeper context for the expedition. Ms. Tyler produced, wrote, and directed the 2-hour television documentary Shackleton for NOVA and was coordinating producer of the IMAX film Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure. She will work out of McMurdo Station in November and December 2002. (WO-217-O)

A nonfiction, illustrated children's book about the Weddell seal.
Laurence Pringle and Bob Marstall.

Messrs. Pringle (an author) and Marstall (an illustrator) will collect material for a children's book that describes the life history of the Weddell seal by focusing on a hypothetical individual. They have collaborated on numerous books, one of which, An Extraordinary Life: The Story of a Monarch Butterfly (Orchard, 1997), was judged the best children's nonfiction book published in 1997 and won the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children in 1998. The team will spend October and November 2002 with NSF-funded investigators studying the Weddell seal in McMurdo Sound. The team also will visit a mummified seal in the McMurdo Dry Valleys. (WO-218-O)

A photographic review of human occupation of the Antarctic.
Joan Myers.

Ms. Myers, a fine-art photographer, will produce photographs that will appear in exhibit and book form. The works will complement those from her earlier trips to South Georgia, the South Orkneys, and the Antarctic Peninsula to illustrate remains from the past, today's research stations, and construction for the future-that is, how we as a species have visited, explored, studied, and lived in Antarctica. Her book Salt Dreams: Land and Water in Low-Down California, which was published in 1999 by the University of New Mexico Press, won the Western States Award for nonfiction. She will work out of McMurdo Station for about 3 months beginning in late October 2002. (WO-219-O)

Frigid beauty: Weather in Antarctica.
Thomas E. Svarney and Patricia Barnes-Svarney.

The authors, science writers with backgrounds as professional scientists, will collect material for a science book about antarctic weather and climate for general adult audiences. The book will describe phenomena, effects, origins, and influences of antarctic weather in easy-to-understand terms. In 1999, Simon and Schuster published their Skies of Fury: Weather Weirdness Around the World. They will be in the Antarctic for about 3 weeks in late December 2002 and January 2003 to visit weather researchers and forecasters at McMurdo and South Pole Stations. (WO-220-O)

Terra incognita: Anvers Island and surrounding area.
Scott M. Kelley.

Mr. Kelley's recent painting has featured meticulously crafted watercolors of the flotsam and jetsam of the U.S. Atlantic seaboard. He will apply this medium to the Antarctic-painting icebergs, rocks, fishes, and other found objects with the "ironic antiquity" that is characteristic of his Montauk work. One or more exhibitions and a catalog or a small book are expected to result. Mr. Kelley will work at Palmer Station and vicinity in January 2003, joining science teams at their field sites and teaming with WO-223-O, as practicable. (WO-221-O).

To paint in Antarctica.
James D. Woodside.

Mr. Woodside will paint and draw landscapes, seascapes, and wildlife. He will work with oil on canvas or colored pencil and ink on paper, depending on conditions. He chairs the art department of the Walnut Hill School, one of only three residential independent arts high schools in the country, and will exhibit his antarctic paintings at colleges, independent secondary schools, and public schools and will use them when teaching and lecturing. Mr. Woodside will work at Palmer Station and vicinity in January 2003, joining science teams at their field sites and teaming with WO-221-O, as practicable. (WO-223-O)

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