Call for Artists

Artists are sought to join regional scientists to learn about and provide their artistic interpretations of the ghost forests that form along our coastlines. Participants will receive a stipend and have artwork displayed in a juried group show hosted and promoted by University of Virginia’s Coastal Research Center.

Help discover ghost forests of the Eastern Shore by joining the Ghost Forest Coastal Change Collective.

May – October 2020, Eastern Shore of Virginia

All media and art forms are welcome.

Detail from Miriam Riggs wall mural (Barrier Islands Center)

Interested artists should submit

  1. A one-paragraph statement of interest and motivation for joining the ghost forest initiative.
  2. Confirmed availability for the key dates of the Collective.
  3. A portfolio or two (2) examples of artwork.
  4. Contact information.

Submissions are due Friday February 28th

Send to or UVA/LTER, 6364 Cliffs Rd, Cape Charles, VA 23310

Part botany lesson, part field study, part revelation… the ghost forest collective is designed to be an experience that brings a new subject to coastal art and to the community conscious.


As artists and scientists, we work daily to capture and share a vision of the coast. All along the Eastern Seaboard, the silver trunks of dead trees stand as sentinels at the marsh edge, but signs of coastal change emerge long before the big trees die. Ghost forests surround us when we learn to see them. Their formation is an old phenomenon that is now happening faster, like the melting of glaciers. The Chesapeake and Delmarva regions, which have one of the world’s highest rates of sea level rise, are “a window into the future for the rest of the world.” Ghost forests tell the story of our changing coast.

Scientists of the Virginia Coast Reserve Long Term Ecological Research (VCR LTER) program are documenting the formation of ghost forests; artists are sought to explore and envision ghost forests, bringing them into view for the communities who live among them. Join a collaboration of coastal scientists and local artists to learn to “read the forest” along our changing coasts. Through a field excursion into the ghost forest and continuing dialogue, we will share ways of seeing “the invisible flood” that is changing the landscape at our peninsula’s edges. A group art show in October will bring the resulting art to the public.

Expectations for artists

  • Attend the initial day of forest discovery (Thursday May 7th) at Brownsville Preserve, Nassawadox, VA.
  • Participate in continuing discussion, especially via monthly webinars (supported at the CRC).
  • Display works in a show organized, curated, and promoted by VCR LTER, UVA’s Coastal Research Center, + local partners.
    • Contribute three (3) works of art inspired by or derived from ghost forests (with corresponding map of forests visited) + an artist’s statement on the experience.
    • Retain the rights to sell all art produced (removed at conclusion of show).
  • Receive a $250 honorarium.

Key dates

  • February 28th (Friday) – Statements of interest due
  • March 16th (Monday) – Artist selections announced
  • May 7th (Thursday) – One-day forest excursion with artists + scientists to launch the collective
  • May – September – independent working time + monthly webinars to guide deeper exploration of ghost forests
  • September 21st (Monday) – artwork contributions and artist’s statement due for show curation
  • October 24th (Saturday) – Opening reception of show, which runs through Saturday October 31st.

For more information and to submit materials, contact UVA’s Dr. Cora Johnston at or (757) 620-7016 or visit <>.

Read recent Ghost Forest news articles from Time Magazine and the New York Times.

Meet the collaborators: and

Read about their work in Nature Climate Change.

See more great ghost forest art in Gordon Campbell’s work: