I was pleased to moderate a panel at the annual AWP Writing Conference in Washington, D.C., this past week, focusing on being an artist-in-residence in the national parks. Here is the text of a corresponding handout from the panel with information on being a national park A-I-R:
Dozens of sites in the National Park System have artist-in-residence programs, and most support writers. Some parks might have open calls for all kinds of artists to apply, whereas others might put out calls for certain types of artists, so that writers might have to wait until applications for their specific discipline are requested. Most A-I-R programs are run by the National Park Service, often with support from private donors and trusts, but some residencies are administered by educational institutions or art foundations in partnership with the park.
Park A-I-R programs vary widely, but generally the resident artist will be provided lodging (doubling as work space) for a period of 2 to 4 weeks. The artist is generally expected to provide food, transportation, and any necessary supplies, although some parks might offer a stipend or per-diem to help cover food. Lodging can range from hotel-like rooms or apartments to private or rustic cabins; expect accommodations to be basic but sufficient. During the residency, some kind of public engagement is usually required of the artist, e.g. a workshop, reading, a lecture during a hike, etc.
A-I-R programs also often require that artists donate some work of art to the park after their residency. For writers, this may mean allowing their writing to enter the public domain, since the park is governed by a federal agency. However, writers would generally be free to publish their work elsewhere and to adapt the work into something fundamentally new (and thus copyrightable), as with any public domain work. Such requirements would be outlined in a contract that artists would sign prior to the residency.
Although the process will vary from park to park, generally A-I-R applications will require the following information:
* An artist’s statement about your particular writing focus, your background and accomplishments
* Project proposal to be undertaken in conjunction with the residency
* Description of public program (workshop, reading, etc.)
* Resume or curriculum vitae
* Writing sample(s)
* Contact information for references who know your work and can attest to your ability to work independently in this kind of residency
** Be sure to check individual national park web sites for specific information.**
National Park Service A-I-R web site
National Park Arts Foundation
Alliance of Artists Communities
Artist-in-Residence Field Notes (for former/prospective A-I-Rs)