Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy presents an exhibition of 12 large-scale fiber sculptures by Sophia McCrocklin, from her ​Ferns of Dumbarton collection, from April 2n​ d – May 23r​ d at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. The opening reception to meet McCrocklin, the Conservancy’s Artist in Residence, will be Thursday, April 2n​ d​, 6:30 – 8:30pm. An Earth Day Symposium, ​If Ferns Could Talk Symposium,​ will be presented in conjunction with the exhibit on Thursday, April 23r​ d from 6:30 – 8pm in honor of the 50t​ h anniversary of Earth Day and the 10t​h anniversary of the Conservancy. Registration for these events is through ​www.dopark.org​. The Writer’s Center will present ​Climate Change Through a Literary Lens Conference on April 18t​ h from 1:30 – 5pm in conjunction with the exhibit. Registration for this event is through the Writer’s Center, ​www.writer.org​. All events will be held at The Writers Center, 4504 Walsh St, Bethesda, MD.

The ​If Ferns Could Talk Symposium explores what we can learn from these ancient plants today. Speakers include: Julia Washburn, Superintendent of Rock Creek Park; Eric Schuettpelz, research botanist, Acting Chair of Botany, Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian; Josh Tolkin, Sierra Club Director for the State of MD; Jeanne Braha, Executive Director for Rock Creek Conservancy; and Lindsey Milstein, President and Board Co-Chair and Liza Gilbert, Co-Chair of the Board of Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy.

Dumbarton Oaks Park Conservancy was established in 2010 to restore Dumbarton Oaks Park in partnership with the Rock Creek Park, National Park Service (NPS). The 27-acre Park is one of the most notable wild garden landscapes in the country, designed between 1921 – 1940 by Beatrix Farrand, America’s first professional female landscape architect and a founding member of the American Society of Landscape Architects. The Park is an NPS designated National Historic Register site – a designed landscape of meadows and woodlands surrounding a stream with 18 small waterfalls. More information on the Park and its history can be found at ​www.dopark.org​. The Conservancy established the Art in the Park program in 2016. The exhibit and associated programs are the culmination of our first Artist in Residence program, which continues the Bliss tradition bringing Art to the public.

McCrocklin is the first Artist in Residence of the Conservancy’s ​Art in the Park program. The sculptures document fifteen ferns McCrocklin discovered in Dumbarton Oaks Park. Each sculpture piece is made of Dacron and copper wire which is sewn, cut, painted and meticulously detailed; each fern takes about six months to complete. McCrocklin’s collection highlights the elegance and tenacity of these plants, which have endured as a species over the past 300 million years​. It explores the role of art in enhancing human relationships with the environment.

McCrocklin, named the Conservancy’s first Artist in Residence from 2017 to 2019, was born in New York City and raised in the Appalachian foothills of Kentucky, graduated from Smith College, studied textiles at Penland School of Crafts, earned her law degree from the University of Louisville and practiced environmental law at the Environmental Protection Agency, in Washington, DC. McCrocklin was awarded an Individual Artist Fellowship from the DC Commission for Arts and Humanities for her work in 2019 and 2020.

Registration for both the opening reception and the symposium ​If Ferns Could Talk is available through ​www.dopark.org​. Registration for ​Climate Change Through a Literary Lens is available through ​https://www.writer.org​. All events will be held at The Writer’s Center located at 4504 Walsh St, Bethesda, MD. The Writer’s Center is open during business hours, please check ​https://www.writer.org/locations-hours/for additional times.

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