Mesa Verde National Park’s Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program provides mid-career and professional artists the opportunity to become a part of a long established tradition of artists in our national parks. It offers professional writers, composers, and visual and performing artists the chance to pursue their particular art form while being surrounded by the inspiring ancient architecture and natural landscape of the park. The park provides a historic, rustic residence to selected participants for four two-week periods each year.
Artists have had a long-standing impact on the formation, expansion, and direction of this country’s national parks. Painting the dynamic landscapes of the 1800s American West, artists publicized many of the natural wonders of a land little known to the eastern populace. These artists’ visual records focused attention on an emerging western landscape, and their work helped to stimulate the establishment of many of our national parks. Painters of today continue to document the landscapes of the national parks with contemporary approaches and techniques. Writers, sculptors, musicians, composers, and other performing artists also draw upon the multifaceted quality of parks for inspiration. All of these artists translate the national parks purpose, as a place of pleasure and preservation, into images or works which bring others enjoyment and a deeper understanding of the parks some may never visit.
Mesa Verde’s AIR Program is managed by the Mesa Verde Museum Association (MVMA), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner to the National Park Service (NPS). The AIR Program was reestablished as part of the park’s Centennial Celebration in 2006. The works completed under this program contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of our national parks, create a legacy preserved for future generations, and offer park visitors and the public an opportunity to see our heritage through the eyes and ears of the contributing artists.
Last updated: November 8, 2021