Fort Monroe Art: new photography exhibit from Cyndi Goetcheus

“The Exquisite Canvas of Abandonment: Images of Historic Fort Monroe” – now through March 22nd at the Page Walker Arts & History Center in Cary, NC.

Many of you have probably been admiring the work of North Carolina photographer Cyndi Goetcheus here lately. Shots like this, for instance.

If so, I thought I’d let you know that she has just mounted a new exhibit entitled “The Exquisite Canvas of Abandonment: Images of Historic Fort Monroe.” The show debuted recently at the Page Walker Arts & History Center in Cary, North Carolina and runs through March 22.
If you’re not in the neighborhood, good news: the exhibit is online. Enjoy.

Categories: Photography

2 replies »

  1. Thanks not only for this intriguing Fort Monroe exhibit, but for placing it online so that people at a distance from Cary can see it. For decades, part of my own interest in Fort Monroe–a place to which my family has multiple links going back decades–has been in the sorts of things you used as your artistic-photographic subjects. I’m glad I got to see this online exhibit, and glad I can tell others about it.

    However, it is vitally important not to misrepresent the actual state of Fort Monroe’s stewardship as a national treasure. I report this as someone who has worked for more than eight years to see it properly stewarded. Despite misleading headlines, the president in fact did _not_ make Fort Monroe a national monument. A half-century ago, almost all of this 570-acre sand spit, with its moated stone fortress, became a national historic landmark. In 2011, developer-kowtowing politicians of both parties engineered on that land only a _split_ national monument, leaving a huge gap on the sense-of-place-defining Chesapeake Bay waterfront.

    The gap is being given to developers. The sense of place is being deleted. And Fort Monroe’s true defenders are being skillfully marginalized.

    At you can check the situation for yourself quite quickly. I recommend in particular the map-and-photo illustration that shows the actual geography of the American cultural disaster that’s underway, and I also recommend the paragraph (with links) about the views of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. (If you wonder who I am, maybe watch the three-minute YouTube video “Cherish Fort Monroe,” which is linked from that Web page. It’s an excerpt from a Norfolk PBS station broadcast.)

    The Pilot warns that Fort Monroe is being “squandered” because the two parts of the split national monument have not been unified. (Please see the green and red areas on the illustration.) The National Parks Conservation Association, addressing the formal development plan, exclaimed “We can’t let this happen.” But the outgoing governor approved the plan in December, and indeed we are letting it happen.

    Almost no Virginia stakeholder who has followed the actual politics of this disagrees with the Pilot and the NPCA. But innocent outsiders have been misled by press-release talk and by inaccurate headlines. Fort Monroe is _not_ a national monument. Only the parts that the developers don’t want are a national monument.


    Steven T. Corneliussen

  2. Steve,
    First let me say that I share your love and concern for Fort Monroe and the entire piece of land on which it sits. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to look at my art and website, and also then for taking the time to comment on the Scholars and Rogues blog.

    This photography project has been a labor of love for me and also an educational experience. When I first submitted the proposal for my photography exhibit in early 2013 to The Town of Cary, I did not know much about the plans for Fort Monroe. All I knew was that it was a wonderful place to visit for a variety of reasons but partly because of my artistic focus on the interesting things that happen to abandoned structures like those found there. I realized only recently that when I had this opportunity to bring attention to my own art, I could use that opportunity to draw attention to all things associated with this national treasure. So this project is suddenly taking me in a new direction as I learn more about what is going on there.

    When I put together my little website about my exhibit, I confess that it was a somewhat selfish endeavor. Putting together this exhibit was a tremendous amount of work and quite costly with all the printing and framing and transporting it then to the Cary gallery where it currently hangs. Every penny came out of my own pocket. I don’t want to see it end up in my garage now. I would like to take it on the road but that means marketing it. So my website was intended to showcase my art – and also hopefully then to make people want to notice Fort Monroe if they were not familiar with the place and its incredible history. Toward that end, I included some links to existing online content about Fort Monroe. I plan now to go back to the site and include a few more, including youtube video. I will also make a few changes to clarify that only parts of what was “Fort Monroe” as it existed in 2011 are currently included in the designation as a national park/monument.

    It was certainly never my intention to mislead anyone about the future of Fort Monroe with anything I included in or excluded from my website about my photography exhibit. I certainly would like to help however I can to assist with saving the additional land and structures that are currently in jeopardy. If my art can do that, then it was well worth the expense.

    I thank you for contacting me.
    Cyndi Goetcheus