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    Grand Canyon

    National Park Arizona

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  • Expect Cooler Nights with No Precipitation through the Remainder of the Week

    Monsoonal weather patterns have moved into the Grand Canyon area decreasing fire danger. As a result, on Tuesday, July 8 at 8 a.m. fire managers lifted fire restrictions within Grand Canyon National Park. More »

  • Two Bats Collected in the Park Have Tested Positive for Rabies

    One on the North Kaibab Trail and the other at Tusayan Ruin/Museum. Rabies can be prevented if appropriate medical care is given following an exposure. Any persons having physical contact with bats in Grand Canyon National Park, please follow this link. More »

AiR Frequently Asked Questions

silk painting by Nancy McKay

Colors of Time

Painting on Silk
by Nancy McKay
North Rim AiR - summer 2012




Q: What are the upcoming dues dates for the North Rim and South Rim program applications?

A: Both rims will be accepting applications this year between February 1st and March 1st, 2013. We will be using the WESTAF CaFe electronic application process, and will only accept electronic applications. The application template closes automatically at midnight Mountain Standard Time on March 1st.


Q: How do I apply through the WESTAF CaFe system?

A: First, go to their website, HERE. Access is free. This site allows you to upload your work samples, and has an interactive application form specific to our calls. You will need to register as a user before you can access our application. Once you are registered you can click on Apply to Calls and explore all the listed artist opportunities, or go directly to our application.

Q: What are the guidelines and specs for submitting my digital work samples?

A: You can find all this information HERE.

The CaFE system is very user-friendly and self-explanatory, but if you hit a snag click on the help button and you will be directed to their FAQ page.

cellist Rhonda Rider

Cellist Rhonda Rider

South Rim AiR - February 2011

Q: What are the timelines for the North Rim residency program?

A: Applications are submitted over a full year prior to the residency dates. If you are submitting an application in the year 2013, this is for artist opportunities between MAY AND OCTOBER, 2014. Same-year selections have already been made. Selections will be made by a jury panel of professional artists and National Park Service specialists in mid-summer and both selected and non-selected artists will be notified by the end August.

Q: What are the timelines for the South Rim residency program?

A: Applications are submitted for the same year of the residency dates. If you are submitting an application in the year 2013, it is for artist opportunities BEGINNING OCTOBER 2013 through SEPTEMBER 2014. Selections will be made by a jury panel of professional artists, arts administrators and National Park Service specialists in June and both selected and non-selected artists will be notified by the middle of July.

Q: May I apply to participate in both rims in any given year?

A: Yes. All artists are welcome to apply to and be in-residence on both rims. Two separate jury panels - one for the year-round south rim program and one for the seasonal north rim program - will score the applications, and do not share information with each other until artist selections and notifications have been done.

On rare occasions artists have been awarded residencies on both rims during one AiR season, so please consider ahead of applying if you're able to do both residencies, should they be offered.

Q: I plan to apply to both rims. Is there a different application process for that?

A: This year Grand Canyon is posting two separate but identical calls - one for the north rim and one for the south rim. You are welcome to create two entirely different proposals or submit two identical proposals if you apply to both rims.

Q: Do you only select artists whose work is specifically about Grand Canyon National Park?

A: No. We're interested in offering opportunity for artists to spend focused time at the Canyon, and whose work makes the residency an interesting or natural fit. This does not make, for instance, someone who has spent a great deal of time painting the Grand Canyon more (or less) eligible than a performance artist who lives in an urban setting, whose work is about social justice and has never been to the park. However, your proposal should answer the question "Why are you applying to Grand Canyon's AiR program? Why here, why now?" (As opposed to an urban residency, for instance). We do look for and expect you there to be some relevance between your work (or the work you intend to pursue), artist statement and proposal, and the Canyon.

We know that it's a long stretch between the time selected artists apply and the time they arrive. Your work may have taken a wholly different direction in that time stretch… or you may indeed stick with the project you discuss in your proposal. Our ultimate hope is a residency allows you to be creative in an organic way that fosters your own growth, and gives you a life-changing experience, while also enriching the experience of park visitors, staff and locals who meet you and get to learn about your work through your public programs.

randy with rope

Cowboy Randy Erwin

Musician, Sound Artist, Storyteller - and Roper
South Rim AiR - November 2009

Q: I've spent a lot of time at the Grand Canyon. Does that strengthen or weaken my application?

A: Because each rim's jury panels score over 100 applications and proposals, our observation is that it's generally NOT a good idea to share a body of work that is all about the Canyon. All other things being equal, it's possible that a panel might have to choose between two very high scoring painters (for instance) - one who has shown us nothing but Grand Canyon work and one that has shown none. In that example, jury panels have, on occasion, said "Both of these artists are great painters, but clearly this one has spent a lot of time here and this other has not. Maybe we should offer this opportunity to the person who has not had the chance to work here." However, if you are someone whose work has been all about the Canyon, you will not be scored lower… scoring is first and foremost based on individual excellence of artwork.

IF you are an artist whose past has been entirely focused on the Canyon, you can express your dedication to that subject in your artist statement, strengthening your proposal overall.

Q: Are the artists selected strictly on scoring numbers?

A: The jury panel reserves the right to determine how they select the final pool of artists after the scoring is complete. Often there will be 20 or more artists who are all solid contenders; final selections are made by jury panel discussion and coming to consensus. One panel may decide to use scoring numbers only, while another might choose to seek diversity of genres any given year, so will be looking to pull in a well-rounded group of artists from the top scorers. That decision is left loose for the panel in order to empower them in creating a compelling season of artists on behalf of Grand Canyon National Park.

Q: I am a visual artist and have several bodies of work. Should I represent all of them in my application work samples?

A: It can be really confusing to a jury panel if an artist submits 4 images of, say, mixed-media found object sculptures and then tosses in 2 landscape photographs. Unless there is a clear narrative between one body of work and the other, we suggest that you submit one body of work that helps the jury panel understand your perspective and artistic goals - and that allows them to score you on the basis of "artistic excellence" (which is the major component in the scoring process).

Large Format Photography by Michael Miner

Clearing Storm, Yaki Point

Large Format photography
by Michael Miner
South Rim AiR - January 2010

Q: What is the difference between a "shared" and a "collaborative" residency?

A: A shared residency means that you're applying to be in-residence with another artist - a spouse or a friend or family - but you intend to pursue your own individual work while in-residence

A collaborative residency means that you and your fellow-applicant(s) intend to primarily pursue one project while in-residence.

PLEASE NOTE: The north rim artist housing is a small cabin, suitable for individuals or couples only for a maximum of 2 occupants. The south rim apartment is spacious and has two bedrooms, with a possible third, for a maximum of 3 occupants.

Q: I'm applying with another artist for a collaborative residency. What do you suggest we submit for work samples?

A: If you've been long-term collaborators, you may want to submit work that you've done together, but if you're new collaborators then you can just describe your connection verbally in your statement.

It's important for the jurors to see a clear connection between collaborators. What we're looking for are interesting and exciting proposals, so your ideas could be off-the-charts new or more traditional - just make sure that your proposal statement reflects the excitement you feel for your project, and that will translate well for the jury panel.

Q: How competitive is the application process?

A: In 2012, we received 220 applications for 18 spots on the AiR calendar; 108 for the north rim and 112 for the south rim. It's very competitive, and typically we select mid- to late- career artists. Because we're interested in fostering the growth and opportunities for emerging as well as established artists, you can self-identify on the application as an "emerging artist"; there is no associated explanation required - just a check-box.

If you check this box you will not receive extra points in scoring and will be scored with the same processes as all other applicants, but if your application receives high points (within a reasonable range of the top scoring applications), special consideration may be given to your application in the interest of program diversity and bringing younger or less experienced artists into the program. This will be at the discretion of the jury panel, who will not be instructed to include an artist in this category unless they are able to come to some consensus. This will have no bearing on selection outside of this consideration.

The Price of Admission by Shawn Skabelund

The Price of Admission by Shawn Skabelund

Site-specific, place-based installation; wood, pine sap, borrowed historical Grand Canyon sewer pipe, bee pollen, muslin banners, cottonwood leaves

Installed in the south rim Park Headquarters, May - Sept 2012
South Rim AiR - May 2011

Q: Will I be a part of the National Park Service staff while in-residence?

A: The artist-in-residence is classified and registered as a Volunteer under the VIP program (Volunteers in the Parks). Your role with the National Park Service will be limited to the time you are working in your outreach program but you will serve as an emissary to both the Park Service and as an arts advocate. No training is necessary! Just your enthusiasm, your commitment to your art form, your willingness to communicate your program to your intended audience and your interest in the Grand Canyon will inform your contacts with Park visitors, locals and your outreach program participants. VIP paperwork will be sent to artists who are selected to participate in the program after we receive confirmation that you are available and interested for the month that we are inviting you.

Q: What if I am accepted to the program but my availability changes?

A: We will do our best to accommodate artist's schedule changes (for instance if you can only be here for 2 weeks rather than 3) but all artist slots will be offered immediately after jurying has taken place. If you should find yourself unavailable during the time that you have been awarded a residency and there is no other open slot we can offer you during the season, we will replace you with an alternate. You are of course welcome to apply again for another opportunity in subsequent years. Deferred residencies may be able to be arranged, should your availability change drastically between the time you apply and the time you're offered an opportunity, and will be discussed on a case-by-case basis with the specific rim's AiR coordinator.

Q: Can I reapply if I have already done a residency at the Grand Canyon?

A: Past participation or selection for inclusion in one rim's program does not make you ineligible for participation on the other rim, or for a second residency experience on the same rim.

Please note: The jury panel reserves the right to select a competitive but lower-scoring applicant over a past participant in the interest of program or genre diversity.

It is recommended but not mandatory that you delay re-applying to the program for three years; in the past competitive artists were not selected for an immediate second residency when the jury panel learned that they had participated in the program recently.

jewelry by Erica Stankwytch Bailey

Grand Canyon residency-inspired jewelry

Silver and mixed metals
by Erica Stankwytch Bailey
South Rim AiR - February 2010

Q: What is the application fee and in what form do you accept payment?

A: The fees are $30/rim and payment is accepted at the time you submit your application, via the WESTAF CaFe site. Our call is set-up to accept all major credit cards, which are processed through the CaFE system. Once you have filled out your application form, entered payment information and hit the "submit" button, you'll receive an electronic receipt of this transaction, sent to the email address you provide when registering for CaFE.

Q: What will the non-refundable entry fee be used for?

A: All artist fees are used in support of the AiR program. This fund will pay for items such as household supplies and gear for the artist accommodations, underwriting the cost of supplies for artist outreach programming and for general support of the Grand Canyon Artist-in-Residence programs.

Q: Where can I get art supplies locally?

A: There are limited opportunities for purchase of specialty supplies at either rim. Its best if each artist plans on bringing everything that they can anticipate needing while in-residence. Selected artists can also ship equipment, tools and supplies in advance of their residency; this can be arranged on a case-by-case basis. Please talk with Robin or Rene for specific information on shipping methods and carriers.

Q: Do you only accept artists who are creating art that is representative or traditional?

A: No, we're interested in all artistic projects and interpretations. Both rims welcome the opportunity to host artists in all genre and disciplines - traditional, folk and contemporary. Having said that, your work and outreach proposal should be written and designed keeping in mind that we're a National Park with many and varied visitors of diverse cultures. We ask that your public project proposals are appropriate to an all-ages/international audience and that political art focus on relevant issues to the Parks (such as the environment or preservation). A successful application will be sensitive to the Park's Interpretive Themes but also can be challenging and exciting to the public. If you are unsure if your art or proposal will be considered appropriate to the Park's program, please contact Rene on the south rim or Robin on the north rim, and we'll be glad to give you feed-back.

Q: Why is there no stipend or traveling fund for the artist-in-residence?

A: The Parks, along with all other government agencies, are feeling the squeeze of the economic climate that the US is currently experiencing. We wish to continue our Artist-in-Residence program whether we are able to off-set artist expenses or not. Unfortunately that means that as of right now we do not have any funds in support of the artists. We know that this might be a burden for applicants and ask that you seriously consider whether this is affordable for you at this time. Please know that Grand Canyon National Park is committed to artist advocacy and that all funding opportunities that become available will be pursued. For now the programs simply do not have money for the artists.

Yucca by Deborah Bird


Ice and Paper sculpture - final piece is digital photograph
by Deborah Bird
South Rim AiR - May 2012

Q: I'm an Environmental Earth Works artist. Is my work appropriate for your program?

A: Any medium that involves collection or permanent altering of park resources would be in conflict with national park preservation goals and would be deemed inappropriate for a residency. Having said that, if you are in-development of a project that will be installed in another location, you are welcome to submit your proposal. Please make it clear in your application that you intend to work only on project development while in-residence at the Canyon. Earthworks projects are very appealing to a broad audience so please consider presenting a lecture or slide show/power point on your project as one of your outreach program proposals. In that way you can present your in-process project without violating any of the Park's policies.

Q: Do you accept international artists in your program?

A: Yes, the Grand Canyon is delighted to host international artists. To facilitate international artist participation, we will charge all foreign artists a very nominal fee for staying in the residency space. This fee is set at $1.00/day not to exceed $21, and will be collected from the artist before they depart at the end of their residency. This mechanism has been arranged through our International VIP Coordinator and provides the easiest way to help selected international artists avoid having to go through the lengthy and expensive J Visa application process. Please contact Rene with any specific questions you have regarding this issue prior to applying to the program.

Q: Will my own studio/work time be private?

A: Artists are encouraged to take full advantage of the broad audience and wonderful environment of Grand Canyon by being out in the public as much as possible. If you are an artist who needs solitude to be productive, that's okay too. We ask only that you provide the minimum of visitor contact programs that are in our guidelines. However, the artist-in-residence program is a great draw to the general public and many Park visitors will seek you out and perhaps find you during your own work time. If you are not an artist who requires solitude for your work, consider working outside on the Rim, walking the trails, soaking up the experience and interacting with the public. You'll take so much back to your own work if you take advantage of this opportunity to communicate and interact with the Park visitors and experience the Canyon as much as possible.

Q: Will there be any opportunity to exhibit or present my art during my residency, outside of my public programs?

A: On the south rim a modest exhibit opportunity has been developed, with limited display pedestals and lucite cubes, approximately 18 linear wall feet, display easels, and a flat screen TV/DVD player. This area is ideal for small exhibits during your residency. The exhibit space is in a relatively low visitor traffic building - at Park Headquarters. Having said that, this is also the administrative building for NPS employees and supervisors, provides free WIFI for park visitors, and houses the Park library, so while it does not get the heavy foot traffic of a visitor center, it's a good space in which to present your work. Selected artists should talk with Rene about this opportunity and we'll co-develop an exhibit. If you do decide to present an exhibit, the park can pay for return shipping that is able to be shipped via USPS. Generally speaking, exhibit opportunities will run the length of your residency.

There is no exhibit opportunity at the North Rim at this time.

Painting by Susan Klein

A River Below

Acrylic and mixed media on board
by Susan Klein
North Rim AiR - August 2007 & South Rim AiR - October 2009

Q: Do I need to have a car?

A: If you are flying to Arizona to participate in our AiR program, you may want to consider renting a car. South rim services are limited and art supplies and other support materials are only available in Flagstaff (85 miles). The north rim is even more isolated. However, many artists have been quite happy here for 3 weeks without a vehicle; using the bikes provided by both the north and south rim programs and riding the free shuttle bus system around the Park. If you prefer being very mobile, it's best to bring your own vehicle. Groceries are available here at the Canyon, so you will not have to go without if you don't have a vehicle, but there is of course a wider availability of goods in larger nearby communities.

If you're coming into a South Rim residency, transportation from the Flagstaff or Phoenix airport or Amtrak is easily arranged through Rene. North Rim residencies are somewhat more isolated and should be discussed with Robin on a case-by-case basis. Selected artists will receive complete community and travel information well in advance to their residency so they can plan accordingly.

Q: Can I bring my family or pet?

A: Family members may visit the artist during the residency for a short period of time as long as the number of occupants does not exceed the occupancy limits of the apartment (3) and cabin (2). Our main concern outside of safety issues is to guard the selected artists focused art time, since time is the one thing that artists rarely have enough of. We would like to give you the opportunity to claim your solo time for the most productive and enriching experience possible. Please discuss the accommodation issues and restrictions with us before you make any plans. Pets are not permitted.

Q: Why are you no longer requiring donations of art to the collection as part of the residency requirements?

A: Grand Canyon collections staff and administrators are in the process of reviewing and rewriting the criteria for accessioning work into the permanent collection. Because the south rim program is now year-round, and because we welcome artists working in new genres, space and new media preservation concerns have changed dramatically. As a result, the park has decided to indefinitely suspend adding to the collections. This policy should be considered in-flux and all artists who have participated in the program in the past or hope to in the future will be kept updated as the new policy is finalized and implemented. Please know that if you are a selected artist, you may be contacted in the future and asked to submit work that came from your residency experience for consideration for the permanent collection. All of these sorts of requests will be made on an individual basis and by mutual agreement between the park and the artists.

Postcard-sized quilt by Bobbie Sullivan

El Tovar Sunset Sept 3

Postcard-sized quilt; fabric, thread
by Bobbie Sullivan
North Rim AiR - August 2012 & South Rim AiR - September 2012



Did You Know?


During the summer months temperatures within the Grand Canyon are extremely high. Plan your day so you are not hiking between the hours of 10am and 4pm. Take a break near shade and water to avoid the worst heat of day. Enjoy a predawn start and a late afternoon finish. More...