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National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park Hosting First Virtual Reality Artist in Residence

National Park Service at Gettysburg National Military Park Hosting First Virtual Reality Artist in Residence
Gettysburg, PA, February 05, 2017 --( Gettysburg National Military Park, in cooperation with the non-profit National Parks Arts Foundation (NPAF) and the Gettysburg Foundation, announced today that Lathan Mastellar will be the first artist whose “paintbrush” is Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality in Gettysburg NMP. He will be the park’s February-March, 2017, Artist in Residence as the Alembic Arts programmatic theme. He will give a free Artist Showcase Presentation at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center March 11th from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm., This Gettysburg National Park Artist in Residence Lecture Series will feature the artist presentation on how Virtual and Augmented reality is a tool for both artists and the public to connect to the creation and interpretation of art. This event is free and open to the public.

His formative experience of using Virtual and Augmented Reality has given Mr. Mastellar the contemporary viewpoint that is currently the newest emerging arts media in the forefront of the current arts trends worldwide. Though just recently finishing his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, he takes pride in the fortuitous steps he has taken in using these new mediums. In his own words he expresses how one can use these new scientific and computer generated devices to further the audience experience and emotional response: “To formulate these experiences I must step into the shoes of the playwright, sculptor, sound engineer, and programmer. Virtual realities’ strength lies in its ability to embed the audience within the art as a direct experience, rather than gazing upon an artifact.”

For the most part, Lathan paints his art in virtual reality building up layers, but not merely for decorative or beautiful effects, but more as a window into more tangible things like the historic past of Gettysburg National Military Park. “I feel like in this day and age many of us have lost a connection with true patriotism and the values that our nation originally stood and fought for.” He sees the computer art-scapes not merely as useful “subjects” but as a reflection into something greater than the RW (Real World) experience.

Lathan will use the mid- February to Mid- March residency to create artworks inspired by the historic past of Gettysburg. He plans to capture the park as the first artist in residence to incorporate Gettysburg National Military Park in these new technologies for further exploration of what it means to forge ahead in these new communications. As Lathan states, ”While traditional art forms such as painting and sculpture can be shared with large groups of people at a time there is some distance between the experiencer and the experienced. In VR that line becomes obscured and the viewer is immersed within the art itself.”

The Park is very excited to host the First Virtual Reality Artist this year. As the park’s superintendent, Ed Clark, explains, “Gettysburg National Military Park can offer the perfect backdrop to provide inspiration for emerging technologies in the arts. As the National Park Service strives to connect with new generations, we look forward to leading the arts and interpretation of Gettysburg into the future, while always remembering our mission of preserving history. “

Programs like Gettysburg National Military Park’s artist in residence add value to the park experience for visitors, now and in the future, and represent the highest aspirations of the National Park Service’s goals for the next century.

Gettysburg National Military Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves, protects and interprets for this and future generations the resources associated with the Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War, the Soldiers' National Cemetery, and their commemorations.

The National Parks Arts Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit dedicated to the promotion of the National Parks of the U.S. by creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the Gettysburg Foundation and other generous benefactors. NPAF National Park projects are supported entirely by donation and generous partnerships. For more information on how you can support the Gettysburg National Military Park Artist in Residence and other NPAF arts programs Nationwide visit or

All NPAF programs are made possible through the philanthropic support of donors of all sorts ranging from corporate sponsors, small businesses, and art patrons and citizen-lovers of the parks. NPAF is always seeking new partners and donors for its wide-ranging artist-in-residence programs.
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National Parks Arts Foundation
Cecilia Wainright

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