Woman in ball cap smiles while painting on an easel perched along coastline
Sue Charles, who has a summer home near the park, was a "Resident Artist" at Acadia in 2018.

Photo by Ashley L. Conti, Friends of Acadia


Program Overview

The Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program at Acadia National Park invites accomplished and emerging artists to help create new and interesting ways for visitors to experience the park through the arts. Since 2023, the program's operational costs have been funded fully by donations from sales proceeds at America’s National Park Stores (Eastern National) stores throughout the park.

Invited participants are asked –

  • To lead a public outreach activity for park visitors and the community.
    • Artists may submit receipts to reimburse purchase of activity supplies and materials amounting to $225, or $15 each for as many as 15 participants.
  • To complete within a year one finished work of art based on their experience.
    • While artists retain ownership and copyright for the artwork, they are asked to loan it to the program for public display for seven years and to grant permission to include images and descriptions of the artwork in the program's permanent online catalog.

In 2025, the program will host five participants –

  • One visual artist and one writer from "Away"
  • One visual artist and one writer from Maine
  • One “At Large” participant in such media as music, dance, and emerging technologies

Participants from “Away” may receive –

  • Vehicle hang tag for duration of stay. Covers park entrance, parking, and daytime access to Cadillac Summit Road. (Sunrise access is possible with advance notice.)
  • Gift card for two adult round trip ferry tickets between Winter Harbor (Schoodic) and Bar Harbor (Mount Desert Island)
  • Housing options (all dates subject to availability)
    • Either maximum 14 nights stay in a private apartment at Schoodic Institute
    • Or maximum 30 nights stay during the off season in a bedroom with shared kitchen and common areas in employee housing, such as a historic carriage road gatehouse on Mount Desert Island, or apartments at park headquarters. (November into March)
    • Also maximum three nights stay at Isle au Haut ranger cabin (June to October)

Participants from Maine may receive –

  • Full calendar year residency
  • Employee vehicle decal for 2025 for free park entry and parking
  • Access to Cadillac Summit Road is possible with advance notice.
  • Housing options (all dates subject to availability):
    • Maximum three nights stay in a private apartment at Schoodic Institute
    • Also maximum three nights stay at Isle au Haut ranger cabin (June to October)
    • Also maximum 30 nights stay during the off season in a bedroom with shared kitchen and common areas in employee housing, such as a historic carriage road gatehouse on Mount Desert Island, or apartments at park headquarters. (November into March)


The application and jury process is hosted entirely online at (CaFE). The next Open Call for Applications for residency opportunities in 2025 will be July 1 through Sept 30, 2024.

Selection Process

  • Each fall, applications are reviewed by jury panels consisting of past program participants, local community members, and park staff.
  • The park superintendent considers and extends official invitations to individual participants.
  • Once all available residencies are accepted, remaining applicants are notified of the outcome of their submissions via email.
  • Finally, a press release is published announcing the names and backgrounds of selected participants.

Selection Criteria

Jury panels are encouaged to consider applications based on the following –


  • Does the artist’s work suggest that they can help broaden, diversify, and enhance what has taken place previously in this program?


  • Does the artist's work demonstrate professional competence and that they have a track record of achieving what they set out to do?

Outreach Activity

  • Is the artist’s proposal for a public outreach activity novel, interesting and provide visitors with opportunities to experience Acadia in new ways?


  • Selected participants take part in the program at their own expense at the invitation of the park superintendent.
  • Participants are at liberty to use online fundraising campaigns to help cover travel and other costs associated with their residencies, but they may not brand, promote, or imply endorsement of such activities by the National Park Service, Acadia National Park, or the Artist-in-Residence program.
  • Local transportation is not provided. Participants must possess a valid drivers license and personal vehicle. While the total acreage of the park is modest, it spans more than 60 miles of Atlantic coastline. From park headquarters on Mount Desert Island, it takes at least 75 minutes to drive 45 miles to reach the Schoodic Peninsula, and about 90 minutes to drive 56 miles to Stonington to catch the mailboat to Isle au Haut.
  • Repeat residencies are considered on a case-by-case basis, but tend to be allowed only after a span of years have passed during which there also have been a significant evolution in the artist’s body of work.
Map of Acadia National Park lands along Atlantic coastline

Site Description

Acadia National Park is very highly interlaced with local communities and encompasses about half of Mount Desert Island, all or part of 19 coastal islands, and part of the Schoodic Peninsula on the mainland. It was first established in 1916 as Sieur de Monts National Monument, then became Lafayette National Park in 1919, and Acadia National Park in 1929. The total area of the park now amounts to more than 35,000 acres, with another 12,000 acres of conservation easements. Elevation rises abruptly from sea level to 1,530 feet, with seven mountains above 1,000 feet. All told, it has more than 60 miles of rocky ocean coastline and tidal pools, 158 miles of hiking trails, and 45 miles of carriage roads with 16 stone bridges. Its scenic and diverse landscape includes inland lakes, ponds, meadows, mixed coniferous and deciduous forest. There are more than 50 species of mammals and 300 species of birds, with surrounding waters inhabited by harbor seals and porpoise, lobster, sea stars, and other diverse fish and marine animals.

Rustic and remote ranger cabin
Rustic and remote ranger cabin on Isle au Haut

Photo by Ashley L. Conti, Friends of Acadia

Housing Alternatives

Participants may choose to break up their residencies over multiple visits and seasons.

  • Wheelchair-accessible housing is available.
  • Pets and smoking are not allowed in park housing.

Housing assignments are based on availability, and the purpose a location may serve a participant's specific residency goals. Current options include –

  • Apartments on the campus of the Schoodic Institute (available year round)
  • Rooms in a historic carriage road gatehouse on Mount Desert Island (typically available from November into March)
  • A cabin on Isle au Haut (typically available from June through September).

Stays at the remote cabin on Isle au Haut offer an extraordinary opportunity for solitary contemplation and creative expression. However, the cabin is very rustic, without plumbing or electricity, and requires participants to hike two miles on a moderately rugged trail with all of the gear, food, and supplies they will need for the duration of their stay.

Stays in a historic gatehouse offer participants direct access to the intricate carriage road system on Mount Desert Island during late fall and winter. Since the space is utilized as spartan government housing for park employees at other times of the year, the program provides a cache of basic cooking and kitchen utensils, towels and linens. Participants will want to bring ample outdoor layers, a headlamp or tactical flashlight, and foot traction for slick and icy conditions. While there is no internet provided here, there is reliable cellular connectivity from nearby Northeast Harbor.

Stays at the Schoodic Institute are based in apartments on a campus that was once part of a U.S. Navy base near Winter Harbor on the mainland. The site is roughly 90 minutes from Bar Harbor and most popular park attractions on Mount Desert Island, which can make Schoodic a less hectic and more relaxed and tranquil experience for participants during peak summer visitor season.

Woman clutching a notebook faces students on a stone wall surrounded by ferns and trees
Writer-in-Residence Kim O’Connell led a guided writing workshop on the stone terrace outside the Sieur de Monts Springs Nature Center in October 2018.

NPS Photo / Jay Elhard

Outreach Activities

Each public outreach activity is planned on a case-by-case basis. They are often hosted in collaboration with local libraries, colleges, community groups, and art galleries. Participants may be reimbursed as much as $225 with receipts for supplies and materials purchased for use by as many as 15 visitors.


Display and Disposition of Artwork

To the fullest extent possible, all artworks loaned to the program are cataloged online and displayed in public gallery spaces within the park and beyond. Each work is accompanied by a brief statement that either describes how the piece reflects the artist’s experience of Acadia, or articulates what new insight and perspective for visitors the artist hopes to convey through the piece.

For visual artists creating physical pieces –

  • Size is limited to 48-inches on any side for two-dimensional pieces, and a footprint of roughly 18-inches square (324 square inches) for three-dimensional pieces intended for indoor display.
  • Portable outdoor pieces will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  • Finished works must be provide with frames or cases appropriate for secure public display, transportation, and storage, and must not require permanent installation or alteration of host facilities.

Physical pieces loaned to the program are not intended to be stored indefinitely, or displayed in private offices. Eventually, all physical artworks retire from the program collection. Final curatorial choices about which pieces remain active in the program collection are made internally, and will be based primarily on the ongoing interpretive capacity of each piece, and the purpose it serves park visitors in the larger collection.


Application Requirements

All applications, without exception, must be completed online through on the website, where you can create an account and manage your application for this and other arts opportunities.

Complete submittals will include:

  • Professional resume and summary of creative achievements
  • Brief description of creative goals, objectives and expectations for a residency at Acadia.
  • Brief description of intended public presentation, including AV and infrastructure needs, and any other expectations of the park
  • Writers and poets may upload a single PDF file amounting to no more than 1,500 words of text (about six pages, typed, 10-point, double-space)

Representative samplings of professional work may include:

  • As many as 20 images, JPEG or JPG only, each no larger than 5 MB but greater than 1200 pixels on the longest side

  • As many as six audio files under 10 MB (AIFF, WAV, XMF, MP3; bit rate minimum 96 kpbs and maximum 320 kbps; and codec aiff, wav, au)

  • As many as six video files under 100 MB (3GP, WMV, AVI, MOV, ASF, MPG, MP4, M2T, MKV, M2TS; Resolution minimum 640 x 480, maximum 1920 x 1080; aspect ratio 4:3 or 16:9; bit rate recommended above 240 kbps; frame rate minimum 12 fps, recommended 30 fps; codec h.264, h.263, mpeg-1, mpeg-2, mpeg-4, Windows Media Video, and motion jpeg mpeg-1 muxed, Apple Lossless; container 3gp, asf, avi, mov, mpeg, mpeg-2, mp4, ogg)

Last updated: June 7, 2024

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Mailing Address:

PO Box 177
Bar Harbor, ME 04609


207 288-3338

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