Community Artist Program - FAQs

What is the Community Artist in the Parks program?
The Community Artist in the Parks program was created in 2009 as a way to highlight the connection between local artists and the landscapes contained within Arches and Canyonlands national parks and Hovenweep and Natural Bridges national monuments. The program gives park visitors opportunities to witness the results of artistic inspiration derived from the natural world, and to interact with the artist. Participating artists are given a venue in which to demonstrate their craft as well as their passion for creative expression and southeast Utah landscapes.

Who can apply?
Any resident of Grand or San Juan County (UT) or Montezuma County (CO). CNHA employees and SEUG interpretation staff members are ineligible.

Why can't artists outside of those locations apply?
The program's intent is to build connections between the local communities and their nearby parks (and visitors). Additionally, park housing is not available.

How are artists selected?
A three-person panel representing the National Park Service (NPS), Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) and a former community artist will review submitted application materials against selection criteria. View application criteria...

What is the minimal time commitment?
Some mandatory training and orientation will take place before the artist's season begins. Twenty-four hours of creating in-the-field are required per month, April 1–October 31, of which 18 hours must be in "front-country" locations. The Community Artist must spend at least one day in each of the four parks in the Southeast Utah Group (Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Hovenweep National Monument, Natural Bridges National Monument). Additional time may be needed to prepare a piece for donation.The community outreach event can count towards the monthly time commitment.

Can I volunteer more hours?
Absolutely! Work with the NPS representative to schedule your park activities.

Are there restrictions on where I can perform my hours?
See note about schedules above. The program is designed to have visitors encounter an artist, but not impose the art experience on visitors. Choose locations with this in mind. The NPS representative can help you choose appropriate locations or answer specific location and activity questions. When in doubt—just ask.

Is there mandatory training?
You will be required to attend an orientation session and up to four days of NPS history, safety, interpretive skills, and resource information training.

Do I wear a uniform?
No, the sandwich boards will have your name and a photo so visitors can identify you in the park.

How are the schedules written?
The Community Artists prepares and proposes draft schedules to the NPS representative a month in advance. (Quarterly forecasting is even better.) Once the schedule is published online, changes or cancellations should be rare; notify the NPS representative as soon as possible.

How is the program advertised?
Community Artist information and activities are posted on the CNHA website and Facebook page and on participating parks' websites. The NPS representative will provide the artist with sandwich boards to display when they are in the parks (one for the visitor center and one for the trailhead).

Are there limitations on what I can do in the parks?
You must follow all NPS regulations. As an NPS VIP (Volunteer in the Parks) you are a representative of the National Park Service. During your orientation you will receive an overview of specific policies in regard to working with visitors and within park sites.

What is the purpose of the community event?
Each artist is required to offer at least one event during their term that connects back to the local, non-visitor community. The most commonly chosen event is a MIC lecture at the end of the season, but previous artists have also offered art workshops or lessons, solicited community engagement on an art projects, and more.

Will I be compensated?
No monetary compensation is available for this program. The Community Artist will have the opportunity to sell items through the parks' cooperating association (Canyonlands Natural History Association).

What is Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA)?
Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) is a nonprofit organization established to assist the scientific and educational efforts of the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and the USDA Forest Service - agencies that together oversee more than 7.5 million acres of federal land in southeast Utah and the Four Corners Area. Learn more at

Do I need to create items to sell in CNHA outlets?
Yes, providing an opportunity for visitors to take home a tangible reminder of their experience with art, artists and the landscape is an important goal of the Community Artist in the Parks program.

What can I sell?
CNHA is open to you selling different types of product. They want it to be successful for you so they are interested in items that will be unique and not compete with their current inventory.

What price should I sell my work for?
National Park visitors are not the same as art gallery patrons. CNHA will assist in finding the right price range for your work and the visitor. Generally a couple of price points work well, but try to keep the upper end below $40. CNHA prefers to keep the pricing structure simple and cannot offer a wide range of price points.

How much space do I have to exhibit my work in the store?
Unfortunately there is not a lot of sales space available. CNHA cannot accommodate large pieces of work. Small to medium size prints work best. Anything in the 5 x7 to 11 x 14 range is fine. There is not a lot of counter space if your medium cannot be hung, but some space can be made available.

How do I get my product to CNHA?
The initial delivery will need to be to the CNHA main office at 3015 S. Hwy. 191. This will need to be coordinated with their representative. Subsequent deliveries can be made directly to the store at the Arches visitor center. However, this must also be coordinated with CNHA.

How will I get paid for any sales?
CNHA will mail a check on the first Thursday of every month. This amount will be based on the previous month's sales. CNHA will take 40% of the retail price.

How long can I sell my work through CNHA?
CNHA will carry your art work through the term limits with your agreement with the National Park Service. Once your term as CAIP has concluded you are responsible for coordinating with CNHA for the removal of your items from CNHA stores in a timely manner. Former Community Artists must wait one year after serving before selling any other items through CNHA outlets.

Can I sell directly to the public?
While you are serving in the capacity of the Community Artist (in the park, presenting your community program, or joining park staff at events) you may not sell directly to the public. In the park or at NPS events, sales can only be made through CNHA. You can maintain your personal art business as normal and sell outside of this program. Visitors will ask you where they can purchase your work, so we suggest you carry business cards so they may contact you later and/or direct them to a park bookstore.

Can I participate in personal art endeavors in the community while serving as the Community Artist?
Yes, you can participate in gallery shows, sell your art work, and participate in events as a citizen and community member. If you plan to use your sandwich board or plan an activity as the Community Artist, work with the NPS representative to ensure there is no conflict of interest or other issue.

Last updated: October 28, 2022

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