A female artist painting and smiling. Whiskeytown Lake in background.
Lynn Cunningham, former Whiskeytown Artist-in-Residence.

Open period to apply for Artist-in-Residence is the month of June for fall residencies and the month of December for spring residencies. Please read below for documents to include in your application and where to submit.

Artists and the U.S. National Park System

Artists have had a long-standing impact on the formation, expansion, and direction of America’s National Park System. Painting the landscapes of the American West, 1800s visual artists like George Catlin and Albert Bierstadt helped focus attention on natural wonders and indigenous peoples. Later, sculptors and designers created numerous monuments within urban national parks – think of Gateway Arch in St. Louis, or the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, DC, designed by a then 21-year-old named Maya Lin. Beyond paintings and designers, writers like John Muir, Edward Abbey, and Nevada Barr have written poetically as well as non-fictionally about parks.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area has a rich legacy of art. In the final decades of the 1800s, Ada Camden, daughter of Charles and Philena Camden, sketched numerous scenes within what is today known as the Tower House Historic District. Later on, after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, Redding residents banded together to pay for the creation of the Kennedy Memorial, a bass relief sculpture located just a mile from the park Visitor Center. Much more recently, in the immediate aftermath of the Carr Fire, Whiskeytown partnered with the non-profit organization Art from the Ashes to help local communities heal – the Seeds of Regrowth program enabled area residents to create original artwork from actually burned and destroyed objects from the fire.

Since the early 2000s, the national recreation area has had an Artist-in-Residence program. One goal of this program is to enable both visitors and the artists themselves to gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of the park. A second goal of the program is to enable diverse individuals to gain meaningful experiences in Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. As such, we invite all types of artists from all types of backgrounds to consider applying for our two-to-three-week residencies where you’ll get to camp and explore a 3,200-acre reservoir, rugged mountain landscapes, waterfalls, and practically an entire park regreening quickly after the most destructive fire in National Park System history.

A female artist in residence in white suite pointing a black camera at you, with her face pointing towards you behind the camera.
Marissa Carlisle, 2014 Whiskeytown Artist-in-Residence.

How Whiskeytown's Artist-in-Residence Program Works

Selected artists are offered free camping for two to three week time periods at either the Peltier Bridge Primitive Campground (tent campground) or Brandy Creek RV Campground. Both campgrounds offer a quiet, natural surrounding to help you produce your works. Artists must supply their own meals and transportation to, from and within Whiskeytown. Residencies are scheduled for spring and fall. The artist is signed up as a park volunteer during their residency and in return for free camping, the artist gives Whiskeytown the right to use digital images of at least one piece of their artwork, specifically for park interpretive and education purposes. The artist will also conduct a talk or other public program spotlighting their experience in the park and their work in the park. Upon completion of program requirements and after the residency, the artist will receive a stipend courtesy of Western National Parks Association, Whiskeytown National Recreation Area's bookstore and educational park partner. While our goal is to provide a $2,000.00 stipend per artist to help with travel and eating, stipends might be substantially lower than this amount; the amount of the stipend ultimately depends on WNPA's annual aid amount to the national recreation area.

Whiskeytown National Recreation Area is a 42,000-acre park with a large lake in a mountain setting. The park includes four waterfalls, a rugged gorge and peaks over 6,000 feet high. Over the past two decades, the park has hosted artists from all over the United States. The park believes that through art comes appreciation for place, and by developing a collection of art - including electronic files of art - from the artist-in-residence program, the public will grow to appreciate and value Whiskeytown National Recreation Area even more.

A black man in ball cap, painting.
Steven Walker, National Park Service Artist-in-Residence.

How to Apply

All types of media will be considered (poetry, literature, music, quilting, painting, photography, etc.). Artists may apply from anywhere in the United States. Artist-in-Residences are selected by a jury comprising several northern California professional artists as well as park partners. The call for artists and application process is done twice annually. In December, the call is put out for spring artists (April and May). In June, the announcement is put out for fall artists (September and October). We ask each applicant to submit the following:

  1. Artist resume including exhibition/performance record.
  2. Statement of intent for your residency at Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, including your reason for wanting to be in residence, what you would like to work on, and why Whiskeytown interests you.
  3. Three to five samples of artistic work in the media you hope to focus on during your residency.
  4. Preferred residency dates and any special requests or needs.
  5. Email your completed application to:

For questions about Whiskeytown's Artist-in-Residence program, visit the Artist-in-Residence Frequently Asked Questions webpage. You may also email Scott Einberger, Supervisory Interpretive Park Ranger, at


Whiskeytown Art

  • Learn how Jesi Naomi (Wintu) spent her residency at Whiskeytown in October 2023.
  • Learn how Tai Vugia spent his residency at Whiskeytown in November 2023.
  • Learn how Carrie Katzenmeyer spent her residency at Whiskeytown in May 2023.
  • Learn how Obi Kaufmann spent his residency at Whiskeytown in May 2023.
  • Gain inspiration and enjoy viewing the works of art below. These pieces are from former artists-in-residences as well as current and former employees.
Mountains in red and dark gray with red sky colors.
"Red Shasta Bally." By Randall David Tipton. Oil on cradled panel 12" by 12".
Tiger Lily in bloom along Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail. Bright orange flower.
Tiger Lily in bloom along Crystal Creek Water Ditch Trail. By Millicent Mombasa. Photograph.
A single white snowflake sitting in a narrow crack amidst two slabs of brown wood.
Single snowflake on Camden House deck. By Olajane Blaylock. Photograph.
Cream and gray-colored lake in foreground. White and dark-colored Shasta Bally in background. Pink, cream-colored sky.
"Whiskeytown Winter Morning." By Jennifer Gibson. Watercolor painting.
Album cover. Woman with long hair, dark figure, by fire.
Erin Sliney, former Whiskeytown Environmental School naturalist, wrote and produced "Ode to Whiskeytown." To listen to this song off of her Truckee to Kentucky album:
Dark gray sketching of 24-room, three-story hotel. Mountain peak and moon in background.
Tower House and Shasta Bally. Sketch by Ada Camden. Circa 1880.
Geometric shapes Crystal Creek Falls
Crystal Creek Falls. Painting by Joellyn Duesberry. 2012 Whiskeytown Artist-in-Residence.
Artistic weaving showing a female park ranger with brown and beige flat hat, face, green hair and shoulders. Tree, bird, and mountain weaved into it.
"Preserve and Protect." Sewing by Jamie Paterno Ostmann. Cotton thread, cotton, and wood.
Painting of a young Native American woman with black hair.
"Kate Camden." Painting by Kathryn Law. 2016 Whiskeytown Artist-in-Residence.

Last updated: June 11, 2024

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 188
Whiskeytown, CA 96095


530 242-3400

Contact Us