Doris Marie Leeper

Doris "Doc" Leeper (1929–2000) was an American sculptor and painter from New Smyrna Beach, Florida. She was instrumental in the inauguration of the Canaveral National Seashore in 1975, and the Spruce Creek Preserve, renamed the Doris Leeper Spruce Creek Preserve in memoriam. She founded the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 1982. She was inducted into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame in 1999.

Leeper was born on April 4, 1929, in Charlotte, North Carolina. She attended Duke University, originally intending to become a brain surgeon – the origin of her nickname "Doc." She eventually graduated in 1951 in the expose of a degree in art history.

In 1958, while lively in the field of advertisement art, she moved to the small community of Eldora, Florida, situated on a barrier island surrounded by New Smyrna Beach and Titusville, Florida. As a upshot of her presence there, Leeper became increasingly avid in environmental preservation. By 1961, she had become a full-time artist, specializing in painting and sculpture. Her play is in higher than 100 collections in the U.S. and abroad.

By the in advance 1970s, Leeper was a Famous figure in the Florida environmental movement, and was instrumental in the 1975 establishment of the Canaveral National Seashore (CANA), which encompassed the island on which Eldora was located. In 1975 she founded Friends of Canaveral and appointed to the Canaveral National Seashore Advisory Commission where she pushed for wilderness tutelage for the seashore.

Leeper conceived of the Atlantic Center for the Arts in 1977, envisioning it as a Florida artist-in-residence program in which artists of anything disciplines could feint with current prominent artists in a in accord and creative environment. Leeper saw the potential for an artist's residency as a place for ideas to be created, shared, and come into fruition. She soon persuaded connections and community members to associate in her vision. In 1979, she convinced the Rockefeller Foundation to pay for a challenge assent that soon was matched. This $25,000 in seed keep was the unofficial inception of the ACA. When a prime fragment of property became available upon the shores of Turnbull Bay, a tidal estuary west of New Smyrna Beach, Leeper raised the $50,000 valuable to purchase the ten-acre plot. Three years later, five main buildings were completed. Over the years, five more buildings were constructed and an supplementary 59 acres were purchased as maintain land.

The ACA officially opened in 1982 for the first residency next author James Dickey, sculptor Duane Hanson, and composer David Del Tredici. Since then, over 155 interdisciplinary residencies have taken place, featuring over 430 Master Artists and more than 3,500 Associate Artists from a propos the world.

Leeper was awarded honorary doctorates from Duke and from Stetson University. She was named Florida ambassador of the arts, and inducted into the Florida Hall of Fame in 1999. A 45-year retrospective of her statute was held at Cornell Fine Arts Museum in 1995.

She died April 11, 2000 as the last resident of Eldora. After her death, the paperwork of the town was officially turned over to the federal government, as the town is located higher than two miles within the borders of the Canaveral National Seashore. The town claims no enduring residents and visitation is limited and subject to park hours. Only two of its indigenous buildings remain. In 2020, Leeper's home was listed upon the National Register of Historic Places.

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