Artists have played an important role in the formation, preservation, and enjoyment of national parks. Over a century ago, by painting landscapes of the American West, artists publicized many of the natural wonders of a land little known to an eastern populace. Their body of work helped to foster appreciation for these national wonders which ultimately resulted in the establishment of many national parks. Artist’s interpretation of park landscapes through many types of media connects people to these special places, which is an essential part of the preservation and protection of America’s national parks.
At Great Basin National Park, artists will be surrounded by the natural beauty of the park from the 13,063-foot summit of Wheeler Peak to the depths of Lehman Caves. The park offers the solitude of the wilderness and provides expansive and renowned dark-sky stargazing. The sights, sounds, and textures of the environment, along with uninterrupted time, offer a respite from typical daily life and provide inspiration for creative work.
Great Basin National Park is very remote. The closest town is Baker which has few to no amenities. Artists will find amenities in Ely, Nevada, 70 miles away from the park.
The Park selects artists of many mediums and encourages anybody who considers themselves an artist to apply. Past selections included painters, illustrators, musicians, composers, poets, architects, sculptors, carpenters, metal workers, and more.
How to Apply
Applications for the Great Basin National Park Artist-in-Residence are handled on the platform CallForEntry.org. The application perod is from September 1 - October 15. Applications submitted in any other format will not be considered.
We are selecting 3 residences from this call. Each residence will occur in 2024. The residencies are as follows:
Summer residence. The artist may choose a 2-3 week residency during July and August.
Fall residence. The artist may choose a 2-3 week residency during September and October.
Winter residence. The artist may choose a 2-3 week residency during January and February.
How are Artists Chosen?
Exact submission requirements vary by the artist's chosen medium, details can be found at the application page here. A small portfolio is requested from each artist hoping to encompass one's overall style and quality.
Selections of participating artists are made by a jury, on the basis of merit and understanding of the mission of the National Park Service and Great Basin National Park. Selections will be made without regard to race, religion, sex, disability, marital status, or age. Only submitted materials will be judged.
All applications are reviewed by jury panels of past program participants, subject matter experts, local community members, and park staff.
Once all available residencies are accepted, remaining applicants are notified of the outcome of their submissions via email.
By January 2024, a press release will be published announcing the names and backgrounds of selected Artists-in-Residence.
The selected artist must follow all National Park Service rules and become a NPS volunteer.
The selected artist agrees to provide one in park program during their residency, and one virtual program within 6 months of their residency.
The selected artist agrees to provide a digital portfolio within 3 months of their residency that can be used for promotion by the Park and Foundation (this portfolio will not be monetized and will not include exclusive rights).
The selected artist agrees to donate one artistic piece within one year of their residency, along with a digital representation, and a deed of gift to Great Basin National Park Foundation.
Fall and Winter Residencies that include NPS housing will require a background check, a standard NPS procedure when in provided housing.
For questions regarding the Artist-in-Residence program, please contact Rebecca Gordon by email or by phone at (775) 234-7513.
Where will Artists Stay?
Summer residence: This is a CAMPING residency. Most camping gear is provided (tent, stove, cots, camp kitchen, etc). Artists should be familiar and confident with camping prior to applying for this residency. A campsite will be provided. The artist may choose their preferred campground within the park. Please be aware that internet service is unavailable and there is no public WiFi. Cell service is also limited and varies between carriers. Pets and smoking are not allowed. Summer is a beautiful time within the park, but monsoonal weather is common.
Fall residence: This residency has park housing. Lodging includes a furnished private bedroom within a shared living space (kitchen and bathroom). Washers and dryers are available and the kitchen includes major appliances (refrigerator, stove, sink) and basic utensils and dishes. The selected artist is responsible for bringing everything else they may need. Please be aware that internet service is unavailable and there is no public WiFi. Cell service is also limited and varies between carriers. Pets and smoking are not allowed. In fall the park remains completely accessible.
Winter residence: This residency has park housing. Lodging includes a furnished private bedroom within a shared living space (kitchen and bathroom). Washers and dryers are available and the kitchen includes major appliances (refrigerator, stove, sink) and basic utensils and dishes. The selected artist is responsible for bringing everything else they may need. Please be aware that internet service is unavailable and there is no public WiFi. Cell service is also limited and varies between carriers. Pets and smoking are not allowed. In winter the park is very quiet and likely to be covered with several feet of snow. A residence may choose to explore on snowshoes or cross country skis. Storms may make travel to amenities in Ely more difficult.
About Great Basin National Park
Great Basin National Park protects an over 77,000 acre section of the sacred, beautiful, diverse Great Basin. Within the bounds of the park exist the oldest living organisms on earth - Bristlecone Pines, some of the darkest night skies in the contiguous United States, spectacular caves like the 2.2 mile Lehman Caves, dozens of species of wildlife, mountain streams and springs, Wheeler Peak - a 13,063 foot tall behemoth surrounded by 11-12,000 foot peaks, and more. The incredible diversity of this park lends itself to artists of all mediums and inspirations, with opportunities for solitude, chance encounters, memorable landscapes, and deep connections to heritage & human history.
Great Basin National Park was first established as a small, square mile national monument centered on Lehman Caves in 1922. Lehman Caves National Monument was first administered by the Forest Service before coming under the purview of the National Park Service in the 1930s. In 1986, the significantly larger Great Basin National Park was established to become Nevada's first and only National Park.
With the diversity comes extreme remoteness. While the town of Baker, NV lies only 6 miles from the park entrance, services are limited to restaurants, one gas station, lodging, and a mechanic. The nearest full-service communities with groceries, hardware stores, etc. are found 70-100 miles away in Ely, NV or Delta, UT. There is no public transportation available to travel to these communities, so a vehicle is absolutely necessary.
Display and Disposition of Artwork
Each AIR will provide a digital portfolio of visual art, writing, music, or performance created during the residency. The digital portfolio will not be monetized, and exclusive rights will not be requested. Artists will always be credited with their work when digital items are used. Digital portfolios will be shared with Great Basin National Park and GBNPF.
Each AIR will donate one physical artistic piece (if applicable), along with a digital representation of the artistic piece within one year of their residency. The donation may be displayed in the park for up to three years, after which it will be transferred to GBNPF for unrestricted use. Each AIR will provide a deed of gift to GBNPF for donated work(s) allowing rights to both digital & physical pieces.
To the fullest extent possible, all artworks donated to the program are to be cataloged online and displayed in public gallery spaces within the park and beyond. Each donation must be accompanied by a brief statement that either describes how the piece reflects the artist’s experience of Great Basin, or articulates what new insight and perspective for visitors the artist hopes to convey through the piece.
See a selection of past Artist-in-Residence Submissions below.