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. Artists are responsible for their own food and transportation. No stipend is provided. Each artist may bring with him or her one adult guest for the length of the residency.

Between June and September, summer residents stay at the historic East Fork Cabin at Mile 43 on the Park Road. Winter residencies take place between late February and the end of March and are based primarily at Park Headquarters at Mile 3.4. Depending on weather and other circumstances, winter residents also may have an opportunity to stay several nights at one of the historic ranger patrol cabins along the first 20 miles of the Park Road.

Each artist is expected --

  • to donate one art piece to the park. The work may be selected for display at art galleries throughout the park, including the Denali Visitor Center, Eielson Visitor Center, Murie Science and Learning Center, and the Walter Harper Talkeetna Ranger Station, as well as Alaska Public Lands Information Centers in Anchorage and Fairbanks. 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 have special considerations for display, storage, or transport, artists should provide appropriate frames, cases, or crates.

  • to offer at least one public outreach activity in the park entrance area on the final day of the residency. Artists and writers may choose between giving a demonstration, workshop activity, or lecture-style presentation.
All finished pieces are due at the park by Dec. 31 of the calendar year in which a residency takes place.
East Fork 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 the effort involved in keeping the program going and growing 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

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