• pond surrounded by green brush, reflecting a distant range of snow-covered mountains that are dominated by one massive mountain


    National Park & Preserve Alaska

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About the Artist-in-Residence Program

Program History

The Artist-in-Residence program began in 2002 and offers professional artists the opportunity to pursue their work amidst the natural splendors of Denali National Park and Preserve.

Each residency takes place during a ten day period between June and September. Artists stay at the historic East Fork Cabin at Mile 43 on the Park Road. Artists are responsible for their own food and transportation. No stipend is provided. Each artist may bring one adult guest for the length of the residency. In exchange for the use of the cabin, each artist is expected to:

  • donate one art piece to the park. The art may be selected for display in various venues throughout the park including the Eielson Visitor Center, the Denali Visitor Center, and the Murie Science and Learning Center. Finished pieces should not be larger than 60 inches in any direction, and should not require the park to provide additional infrastructure or permanent installation. For pieces that are especially fragile or vulnerable during display, storage, or transport, artists should provide appropriate frames, cases, or crates.

  • offer at least one public presentation in the park entrance area on the final day of the residency. Visual artists may choose between giving a demonstration, community-outreach activity, or an evening lecture-style presentation. Writers are expected to offer an evening presentation and reading.
All finished pieces are due at the park by Dec. 31 of the calendar year in which a residency takes place.

The program is made possible by the support of the program's co-founder and first artist-in-residence, Kesler Woodward and Alaska Geographic, our non-profit partner, connecting people to Alaska's parks, forests, and refuges.

Painting of a log cabin
Jon Van Zyle painting of the East Fork Cabin

The East Fork Cabin - A Studio with a View

The East Fork Cabin, also known as the Murie Cabin, was the base from which the naturalist Adolph Murie conducted his landmark study of wolves, sheep, and predator/prey relationships in the park from 1939-41. Built in the late 1920s by the Alaska Road Commission, the Murie cabin is located 43 miles into the park, just off the Park Road, in a dramatic setting on the East Fork of the Toklat River between Sable Pass and Polychrome Pass.

A rustic but well-equipped base in which to work and to explore, the 14' x 16' cabin has an outhouse, propane heater, range, oven, refrigerator, bunks with double beds, bedding, a full complement of cooking equipment, and a small resource library. There is no electricity or running water, but water jugs may be replenished at Park Ranger stations.


A team approach to program operations

Among the strengths of Denali's Artist-in-Residence program is that it draws on wide support and contributions of members of the community and park staff. Many different people share responsibility for discrete aspects of program operations -- from coordinating residencies, to facilitating public outreach activities, to cataloging and protecting donated artwork, to updating offerings and information here on the park website.

For initial inquiries about the program at large, please contact:

Jay Elhard
Park Ranger, Media Specialist
Email link
(907) 683-9535

Did You Know?

a green hillside and a brown scar denoting where a landslide occurred

Warmer temperatures have led to dramatic thawing of permafrost. Thaw releases carbon, as once-frozen materials decompose, but allows increased plant growth. Researchers in Denali are studying whether thawing permafrost will increase or decrease world-wide carbon emissions.