The Artist-in-Residence (AiR) program at Acadia National Park invites participants to take part in self-directed and fully immersive experiences that lead to the creation of new ways for visitors to experience the park through the arts.
For the first time in its 30-year history, the program in 2024 will provide each of four selected artists with a $1,000 stipend and travel subsidy. The program's operational costs are funded fully by donations derived from sales proceeds at America’s National Park stores throughout the park.
Participants are offered a total of 14 nights of park-provided housing, which participants may choose to break up over multiple visits and seasons through the calendar year. Housing options may include apartments at the Schoodic Institute (available year-round), a remote ranger cabin at Isle au Haut (available June to October) and rooms in the Brown Mountain Gatehouse (available November into April). Participants may be accompanied by one adult companion or one of their own children age 16 or older. With the exception of service animals, pets are not allowed.
In exchange, all participants are asked –
To host a public outreach activity with park visitors.
Artists may submit receipts to reimburse purchase of activity supplies and materials amounting to $150, or $10 each for as many as 15 participants.
To complete within a year one finished work of art based on their experience.
While artists will retain ownership and copyright for the artwork, they are asked to loan it to the program for public display for a maximum period of seven years, and to grant permission for the program to include images and descriptions of it in a permanent online catalog.
Four Residency Opportunities in 2024
The maximum number of participants in 2024 is four. Some residency opportunities may be left unfilled.
Visual Art such as painting, textiles, sculpture, fine art photography.
Writing such as essays, poetry, drama.
At Large such as music, dance, emerging technologies.
Indigenous Arts in any medium for a citizen of a Wabanaki community in Maine.
The application and jury process is hosted entirely online at CallForEntry.org (CaFE). For residency opportunities in 2024, the open call for applications will close Sept 30, 2023.
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.
In December, a press release is published announcing the names and backgrounds of selected participants.
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?
Is the artist’s proposal for a public outreach activity novel, interesting and provide visitors with opportunities to experience Acadia in new ways?
Beyond a $1,000 stipend and travel subsidy, 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.
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.
Each residency lasts for a total of 14 nights, which participants may choose to break up 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.
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 $150 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.
All applications, without exception, must be completed online through on the CallForEntries.org website, where you can create an account and manage your application for this and other arts opportunities.
For questions and troubleshooting of your application, please email program staff.
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)