Artist in Residence

Youth seated outdoors on rocks while writing and sketching

This program has run out of funding and will not be active in 2020.

The Residency

The Artist in Residence (AiR) program at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service(NPS), is intended to connect non-traditional and under-engaged youth to the natural and cultural resources of the area. This program offers an alternative avenue for audiences from city centers as well as gateway communities, who might not otherwise be aware of or engaged with nature near to home or the recreation area, to connect with the park’s natural and cultural resources through art.

The mission of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is to protect and enhance, on a sustainable basis, one of the world’s last remaining examples of a Mediterranean ecosystem and to maintain the area’s unique natural, cultural and scenic resources, unimpaired for future generations. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is to provide an inter-linking system of park lands and open spaces that offer compatible recreation and education opportunities that are accessible to a diverse public. This is accomplished by an innovative federal, state, local, and private partnership that enhances the region’s quality of life and provides a model for other parks challenged by urbanization.

This project is made possible through the generous support of the Santa Monica Mountains Fund, the official nonprofit partner of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

How to Apply
Previous Residencies

For additional questions or clarification please contact Tori Kuykendall at

Frequently Asked Questions

How are the artists expected to incorporate nature trips into their work and how many trips?
Artists are expected to take their students on a minimum of three nature trips (6+ hours) with at least one being to the Santa Monica Mountains. This could be places close to home or in the Santa Monica Mountains. Examples in L.A. include the L.A. River, Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook, parts of Griffith Park, Vista Hermosa, Ballona Wetlands… Rangers with the National Park Service will accompany the group on at least two trips and up to three trips. The National Park Service will fund two of the three trips via a school bus (including driver) on top of the grant amount of $5000.

How much help do artists get in planning their nature trips and on their trips?
The AiR coordinator will meet with each artist before the start of the program to talk about their goals from the nature trips and help coordinate locations that will meet their goals. Rangers and/or interns and volunteers with the National Park Service (or possibly another land owning agency) will accompany the group on at least two trips and up to three trips. A campout may be an option!

How many teaching artists will be funded for 2018?
Three teaching artists will receive funding of $5000 each.

What is the timeline between application submission and when award notices are announced?
Applications are open from now until Thursday, November 16th at 3:00 p.m. and award notices will be announced by Friday, December 1, 2017. You can access the application online.

How and when is funding dispersed?
Each artist must fill out a W-9 form. The funding will come in the form of two checks that will come from our partner agency, the Santa Monica Mountains Fund. The first check will be dispersed one month prior to the start of the project and one will be dispersed mid-way through the project, pending receipt of the mid-program evaluation.

Is there a specific artistic medium the selection committee is looking for? Are there any artistic limitations?
We’re looking for application from diverse disciplines among the visual, literary, and performing arts. The artists can either be established or emerging in their artistic medium. The artwork must be appropriate for all audiences and cause no harm to natural resources.

What is the time frame each artist is expected to be working on their project with youth?
Artists are expected to work with youth for a 2-5 month period between January and May 2018. Within this 2-5 month period artists must meet with their youth for a minimum of 24 hours of studio time with an additional three full-day trips into nature. Artists may be given priority based on the number of times they work with their youth per week/month.

Is a culmination event/show required?
Yes, we ask that you be working towards a culmination event/show throughout the residency. All artists are required to be an integral part of the annual installation art exhibit at Peter Strauss Ranch which runs May - September 2018. In addition, artists may have a show closer to home to showcase the work of their students.

What financial and other benefits are offered to the artist?
Artists will receive a $5000 stipend to fund their specific needs to complete the artist project. Funding can go towards personal compensation, transportation, material support, transportation, and other costs associated with the production of the final project or exhibit installation. Each artist will be provided with a bus for two of the three nature trips. The artist and their students will all be signed up as volunteers and all time spent on their project will be counted as volunteer hours.

Who is liable if there is an accident or injury while on the trips?
The artist and their students will all be signed up as volunteers with the National Park Service which covers them under workers compensation.

Is housing or studio space available?
No, housing and studio space is not available. We intend for the artists to be local and connected to the youth and a space using their own resources and connections.

Does the artwork created become the property of the National Park Service?
No, the artwork does not have to be given to NPS but we do ask that participants agree to their portrait, biography and artwork be used to promote future seasons of the program. Aspects of this program may also be filmed to create a short promotional video in hopes to use it for future funding.

We do ask for a piece to be on exhibit for our summer installation exhibit at Peter Strauss Ranch from May - September 2018.

Last updated: November 1, 2019

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Mailing Address:

26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302


(805) 370-2301

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