Artist-in-Residence Program

2018 Artist-in-Residence
Benjamin Rusnak, Photographer

Meet 2018's Artist-in-Residence

Benjamin Rusnak is a South Florida editorial and commercial photographer, who finds solace and strength in the canyons and deserts of the American West. In 2015 he was an artist-in-residence at Zion National Park.
For 14 years he documented poverty in the Caribbean and Latin America for Food For The Poor, Inc., an international relief and development agency. Prior to that, he was a newspaper photojournalist for nearly 10 years.
His award-winning work has been recognized and exhibited internationally. He won the prestigious Gordon Parks Award in 2008 and he received InterAction's Effective Assistance Humanitarian Photography Award in 2010, among many other honors. His work is represented by ZUMA PRESS.
Rusnak grew up in suburban Washington, D.C., where he developed an interest in topics beyond American borders and a passion for the plight of those less fortunate. He graduated from George Mason University in 1992, with a degree in communication. He lives in Boca Raton, Fla., with his wife and fellow newspaper refugee, Susan Bryant.

Benjamin Rusnak residency dates: April 19 to May 21, 2018

Photo of Zolt Levay, photographer - 2018 Artist-in-Residence
Zolt Levay, Photographer - 2018 Night Sky Artist-in-Residence

Photo Credit: Pat Izzo, NASA/GSFC

Zolt Levay is Principal Science Visuals Developer in the Office of Public Outreach at the Space Telescope Science Institute. He became interested in astronomy and photography at an early age and pursued astronomy studies at Indiana University, Bloomington and Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He joined STScI in 1983 where he produces images and other visuals from data provided by the Hubble Space Telescope to publicize science results from Hubble and other observatories. Zolt is also an accomplished photographer. He is currently concentrating on an ongoing project to seek out dark, clear skies to explore and photograph the relationships between landscapes, the night sky, and the cosmos.

Zolt Levay residency dates:
May 31 to June 21, 2018
Photo of Kurt Wheeler, composer - 2018 Artist-in-Residence
Kurt Wheeler is a jazz saxophonist, multi-instrumentalist, educator and composer in the Kansas City area. Shortly after moving to the KC metro, he established himself as a prominent musical figure and has played at countless renowned Kansas City venues including the Green Lady Lounge, Blue Room at the American Jazz Museum, Folly Theater, Union Station and Mutual Musicians Foundation. Kurt has also become a prominent educator, teaching private lessons to aspiring young musicians and giving clinics, sectionals and masterclasses across the metro area. He is also an adjunct professor of Jazz at The University of Missouri-Kansas City where he teaches jazz improvisation and jazz combos.
Kurt was born and raised in Warminster, PA. He began playing the saxophone in 4th grade and studied with several local masters. After high school, Kurt moved to Fairfax, VA to pursue a dual major in Music Education and Jazz studies at George Mason University. There, he studied with Rick Parrell, Tyler Kuebler, Jim Carroll, Jenny Lapple and Alan Baylock, among others. He also performed alongside jazz legends including Wycliffe Gordon, Wynton Marsalis and Eric Alexander. Kurt played at local and national festivals including Essentially Ellington, International Saxophone Symposium, Virginia Music Educators Association, National Jazz Workshop and Jazz Education Network, where he premiered two compositions for saxophone quartet. In 2011 Kurt traveled to the People's Republic of China with the GMU Jazz Ensemble. Under the direction of Prof. Jim Carroll, he participated in a weekly radio concert at the Shanghai Concert Hall with a band comprised of Chinese and American students to an estimated audience of 3-5 million radio listeners. After moving to Kansas City, Kurt also earned his master's degree in Jazz from UMKC.
Moving forward, Kurt is expanding his influence in the Kansas City area and elsewhere and reaching more students through educational outreach. In 2018, Kurt will be exploring new musical inspirations as an Artist-in-Residence at Capitol Reef National Park, where he hopes to connect his passion for music with his love of the outdoors.

Kurt Wheelers residency dates: July 2 to 19, 2018
Photo of Suze Woolf 2018 Artist-in-Residence
Suze Woolf,Watercolorist - 2018 Artist-in-Residence
Seattle-based Suze Woolf's work is usually about human relationships to nature, and she does much of it in the field. She studied ceramics and printmaking at the University of Washington. An early adopter of personal computers, her career has included graphic design for printed materials and computer interfaces. Now primarily a watercolorist, she explores a range of media from paper-casting and artist books to pyrography, sometimes combining all of them.
She has won a variety of regional and national awards, such as Artist Trust's GAP grant; artist residencies for Zion, Glacier and the North Cascades National Parks, the Grand Canyon Trust; and art colonies such as the Banff Centre, Vermont Studio Center, Willowtail Springs and the Jentel Foundation.

Suze Woolf's residency dates: Oct. 3 - 31, 2018

Capitol Reef National Park's Artist-in-Residence Program

The Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program at Capitol Reef National Park offers professional artists the opportunity to pursue their artistic discipline while being surrounded by the park’s inspiring landscape. “This residency program is an exciting progression of our relationship with the artist community, and will give visitors the chance to know Capitol Reef in a new and different way, through the eyes of an artist,” said former Capitol Reef National Park Superintendent Leah McGinnis who helped form the program in 2017.

New for 2018 the park is offering one night sky photographer residency for two or four weeks Jan/Feb or May/June. As an International Dark Sky Park, we are interested in engaging in art and culture with our dark skies.

The park also offers a choice of residency of two or four weeks during the months of March and October for visual and performing artists, writers and composers.

The selected artist will be given rent-free use of a furnished park house and will also receive a $500 contribution from The Entrada Institute to assist with travel and supply expenses.

This Artist-in-Residence program is supported by Capitol Reef National Park, in partnership with the Capitol Reef Natural History Association and The Entrada Institute.


If you have any questions, please contact Penni Torgerson at 435-425-4101.


Selections are made by Capitol Reef National Park staff, park partners and community arts leaders based on merit and how the artists’ work can communicate the park’s national significance and its relevance to park visitors. While artists may indicate the session of their preference, selection for that session is not guaranteed.

Responsibilities and Duties:

Artists-in-Residence are enrolled in the Volunteers-in-Parks program. The artist works an average of 40 hours of work per week in the park or other approved locations.

During the residency, the artist presents one 45-minute public interpretive program for a two-week residency or two 45-minute presentations for a four-week residency either in the park and/or at The Entrada Institute.

No later than six months after an artist’s residency, the artist will donate an original, Capitol Reef-inspired product to the Capitol Reef Natural History Association (CRNHA). The Superintendent of the park will select the piece to be donated. Artwork must be framed with glass, if appropriate, and prepared for hanging before donation. Contributed works will be held by the CRNHA and will be in the public domain, and not subject to copyright laws.

Lodging and Area Information:

The AiR will be lodged for free in temporary park housing within the Historic Fruita District. Utilities are included. ADA-compliant (standards issued under the Americans with Disabilities Act) housing is currently not available. The AiR will have a private bedroom and studio with shared common living areas, bathrooms and kitchen. Housing rules apply, such as no family or pets or smoking. Prior approval is required for guests.

The house is furnished and has a telephone line for local or phone card calls. Wi-Fi is provided however, there is no cell phone service in the park. A shared washer and dryer (coin operated) are available in the park to use. Kitchen includes major appliances (refrigerator, stove, sink), and some very basic utensils and dishes. The selected artist is responsible for bringing everything else he/she may need.

Dental and medical care, churches and groceries are available within 30 miles west of the park in Torrey, Bicknell and Loa. More extensive services are available in Richfield (population 7,500) located 75 miles to the west of the park.

2017 Artist-in-Residence Kit Frost

Other Artist-in-Residency Programs across the National Park Service

Last updated: February 8, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

HC 70, Box 15
Torrey, UT 84775



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