My prior post led me to reflect a bit on my own artist residency experiences, to which I will now subject all of you.
In 2002, I spent 2 weeks in early June in Rocky Mountain National Park as an AiR (Artist in Residence). It was wonderful! There’s an historic old cabin built of stone and logs, circa 1860s, inside the park for AiRs…big wood-floored great room, a huge covered porch outside where we sat every day and watched the elk grazing in the big meadow across the road from us. We rescued a hummingbird from inside the cabin (it was flying against that big window), watched storms roll in, and were amused by a ground squirrel that attempted to climb up on our snack table – while we were sitting there! – on the front porch.
We spent each day as I do in Yellowstone: driving the park roads, taking gazillions of photos. RMNP requires AiRs to give a lecture each week to park visitors (mine was “How I finally got to paint bears”, or something like that), and that the artist donate a piece of work. I painted my first, and so far only, pika piece and gave that to the park. I had great luck getting photos of elk, moose, pikas, and marmots (among other things).
Bottom line: lodging provided, artist pays own travel and food, gives lectures, donates work. A fabulous experience, and RMNP has plenty of applicants each year.
In January 2008 I spent a week at the National Museum of Wildlife Art as an AiR. The museum does two residencies each year: a very short winter one and a month-long summer one. I can’t imagine being away from my studio and business for a month, so I applied for winter. The residencies are open to artists who are either in the museum’s collection or are participants in the annual Western Visions show (only the latter for me). The artist is required to be at the museum 10 AM – 3 PM each day demonstrating, and willing to talk to the public; I worked on a bighorn piece during my time there. Early each morning I was out in Grand Teton taking photos of the gorgeous deep winter scenery, and I’d cruise around again in the late afternoons.
The museum also asks that the artist give a lecture in Jackson Hole High School, which I did, and give a docent lecture. This latter was especially fun – it was a chance to get the docents acquainted with my work and what inspires me, and then we went back into the galleries and I picked out some pieces of Bob Kuhn’s to discuss.
Bottom line: The museum pays travel and food costs, lodges the artist with a museum benefactor, and provides a stipend. You need to be comfortable with constant interruption, repeatedly answering the same questions from visitors, and working under a microscope. The museum staff are incredibly kind and supportive of the AiRs. I stayed in the guest apartment of some collectors of mine who are also museum supporters – the apartment was exquisitely done and luxurious in the extreme. It was like being a rock star for a week!
Tags: art opportunities