A Studio in the Woods

A Studio in the Woods, a program of Tulane University, is one of only a handful of live-in artists' retreats in the Gulf South, located in an endangered bottomland hardwood forest on the Mississippi River in Orleans Parish. The Studio is dedicated to forest preservation, science-inspired art education and creating a peaceful retreat for artists and scholars who are interested in tackling challenging issues with resourcefulness, imagination and power.

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Category: Arts & Culture
Parish: Orleans
A Studio in the Woods is a peaceful haven where visual, literary, and performing artists work uninterrupted. But it is also much more. The Studio, a program of Tulane University, sits at the nexus of science and the humanities; its dual mission is to protect and preserve the woods within which the Studio resides, while providing a tranquil retreat where artists and scholars reconnect with universal creative energy, working uninterrupted within its natural sanctuary.

The Studio focuses on three interrelated issues:

(1) To offer artists and scholars the opportunity to explore human interactions with urban and natural ecosystems through residencies, contributing to the global dialogue on the arts and the environment.
(2) To restore the diminishing bottomland hardwood forest ecosystem, working to eradicate invasive species and foster growth of native grasses, shrubs, vines and trees.
(3) To inspire people of all ages to experience nature first-hand and develop an appreciation for it.

Since 2001, the Studio's award-winning residency programs have directly engaged more than 100 artists and scholars from the local New Orleans community, the nation, and the world by providing time, space, scholarship, and staff support to foster critical thinking and the creation of new works. The woods have advanced the careers of artists working across a variety of genres, and have inspired creative works ranging from jazz albums to museum exhibitions, from site-specific theater to nationally acclaimed fiction and non-fiction books. The Studio serves citizens in the five parish metropolitan area by inspiring creativity and encouraging people to appreciate and preserve the environment. Through our programs at the Studio and off-site events and exhibitions, the Studio impacts approximately 5,000 community members annually.
"I am a writer of nonfiction books, but if I wanted to discard factual stories for world-making fantasy, and invent an idyll for writers, I might come up with a Studio in the Woods. The retreat and the solitude, the river, nature, even the heat, are like fuel for sentences. A writer could make a world here, and books can grow here. Much gratitude to ASITW and to Tulane, its wise steward."
-Edward Ball, nationally acclaimed writer, author of Slaves in the Family

"Knowing in advance that Southern Louisiana had experienced environmental disasters, spending so much time at A Studio in the Woods made me experience something different...because I saw dying and disappearing ecosystems, but I also saw that it was possible to change that non-harmonious relationship. The whole place: the house, the land and the people at the Woods serves as an example for people to see that another relationship is possible."
-Isabelle Hayeur, visual artist

"The founders and staff of A Studio in the Woods work hard to build connections between each artist's work and the incredible resources of the New Orleans community. At other residencies I've been given the key to a cottage or apartment and left to make my own way; here the support of the staff has been like receiving the key to this city."
-Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts, writer

"I was being offered the opportunity to enter another world entirely: a unique natural landscape and human environment where my work would be supported and where I could put aside all distractions and truly focus on the writing project I had not been able to tackle at home."
-Alex Harris, photographer