Just as national parks have become a crucial part of American culture, so has the art inspired by these special places.
The jagged mountains of the North Cascades divide the park into a wet west and a dry east: Skagit and Stehekin. Their landscapes vary in natural features, remoteness, and park community but, for the past decade, both have welcomed and inspired visiting artists.
Whether you're an interested artist or just interested in the arts, learn more about:
North Cascades Arts and Past Resident Artists
North Cascades National Park Complex's Artist-in-Residence Program has hosted artists inspired by its remote and dynamic landscapes for a decade. Yet, their creations along with those of countless others hang on walls and are shared online from Facebook to Flickr. From idyllic paintings, photography and collages, musical scores, organic sculptures, poetry and nature writing, artists have introduced the diversity of the natural world to people who might not otherwise experience it.
Artists and those who appreciate artistic expressions are welcome to become part of this tradition. Groups and individuals are invited to discover and interpret this landscape through the eyes and ears of others and their own projects. The goal of the program is to allow artists help frame and interpret the history and landscape of the North Cascades for those who visit now, those who come later, and those who will only know this place through art.
Past Resident Artists
Discover more about past Resident Artists and their artwork.
Art in Stehekin
The Stehekin community is in a small, remote valley in the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area, part of North Cascades National Park Complex. This narrow valley lies in rugged mountains east of the Cascade crest. You can't drive to Stehekin. Travel is by foot, floatplane or passenger boat.
The Stehekin valley has 13 miles of interior road leading to North Cascades National Park, and three wilderness areas. It is home to a rich variety of wildlife and 95 year-round human residents. Stehekin's landscape is animated by a restless river and forests where fire is restoring the diversity of plant and animal communities. Stehekin's history can be experienced in century old buildings at the Buckner Orchard and the one room log school house built in the 1920s. The Stehekin valley has been an inspiration to artists for centuries beginning with the unknown painters of our pictographs.
Stehekin's isolation will not be comfortable for everyone. Services are limited: one small and very limited convenience store, a post office, a summer season bakery, one public phone, limited internet access, and no cell phone service. All groceries and supplies must be brought in or ordered from the town of Chelan or via mail order.
Learn more about Stehekin here.
Residency is envisioned as a partnership. Artists present a minimum of two public programs. These can be workshops, talks, or other educational presentations.
Please submit all proposals and documentation with the Stehekin Artist-in-Residence application.
Potential proposals should consider one or more of the following:
1) Landscape and the geological forces that continue to shape it
Fall - July 1
Spring - February 1
Stehekin Artist-in-Residence Coordinator
360-854-7365, ex 12
Art in the Skagit
Cascading waterfalls, lush evergreen forests, large lakes, and alpine meadows all characterize the Skagit District. Highway 20, which bisects the park, provides access to both Ross Lake Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park. Artists are able to take advantage of numerous recreational opportunities-- including camping, boating, and hiking--and can explore the park on their own or with National Park Service employees.
Residencies are based out of the North Cascades Visitor Center near Newhalem. Both housing and the center are accessible by vehicle, adjacent to the North Cascades Highway. Residencies occur during the shoulder season, April-May and September-October, normally lasting 4-6 weeks.
Amenities are limited and the nearest grocery store is 23 miles away. Though not required, we highly recommend resident artists bring their own vehicle.
Proposals for spring or fall are chosen through a consensus process by a panel of six park and community stewards. Proposals are envisioned as a partnership to celebrate the art of the Skagit. Please submit Fall proposals with the Skagit Artist-in-Residence application.
Selection criteria include:
1) Connecting gateway communities to park inspired art.
2) Exposing youth and visitors to artistic impression inspired by the North Cascades.
3) Involving youth and families in creating art from their experiences in the North Cascades.
Fall - July 1
Did You Know?
North Cascades NPSC has over 300 glaciers, more than any other park in the lower 48 states. More than half the glaciers in the 48 states are concentrated in this mountainous wilderness region called the North Cascades.