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Grand Canyon Artist in Residence

Artists have been inspired by Grand Canyon’s majestic views for millennia, going back to the first people who lived on this land. In the late 19th century, painters of the Hudson River School created vibrant scenes that became the impetus for the creation of the National Park Service. Today, the sights and sounds in national parks continue to inspire artists in residency programs across the country.

About the Program

The purpose of the Artist in Residence program at Grand Canyon National Park is to inspire a truly diverse group of artists to express their lived experiences of Grand Canyon and to contribute to the cultural and aesthetic legacy of this Natural Wonder and its related communities.



The Artist in Residence Program grants time and resources to facilitate professional artists’ abilities to pursue enhanced on-site projects at the canyon. This format allows the artist to make substantial contributions to our fundamental understanding of the canyon's landscape through exploration and collaboration for outcomes that will defy traditional concepts of what artistic practices can reveal.

The previous residency program at Grand Canyon National Park ran from 2003 to 2017 on both the South and North Rims. Now, with the support of Grand Canyon Conservancy, the Artist in Residence program is back to bring new perspectives and insights about the canyon and its surrounding communities to light.


Upcoming Dates

Call for Artists:

April 15, 2021, Fall Residency Applications Open
June 15, 2021, Fall Application Deadline

July 8, 2021, Residency Applications Open for 2022
September 8, 2021, Application Deadline for 2022

Artist Details:

May 3 – June 14, 2021, Heather L. Johnson 

Application Details

We are seeking professional artists working at a high level in their discipline who can give new insights and focus to Grand Canyon and the surrounding communities as an on-site resident artist at Grand Canyon National Park.

We welcome applicants from a wide variety of artistic disciplines, including visual art (two and three-dimensional, photography, sculpture, painting, textiles, drawing, or collage), installation or land-based art, printmaking, audio (performance or composition), film (documentary, fictional, or art), writing (poetry, fiction, essays, storytelling, or playwriting), indigenous arts, ethnographic fine art, new media, performance art (choreography, dance, or theater arts professionals), social practice, and interdisciplinary arts.

Selections will be made without regard to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, age, or national origin. Every reasonable effort within the capacity of GCC will be made to accommodate artists with disabilities or accessibility needs.

What you need to know:

  • The residency lasts four to eight weeks based on the artist's preference
  • Housing will be provided to the resident in historic Verkamp's Visitor Center
  • Resident artists must complete two public-facing or virtual presentations throughout the residency
  • The residency includes both a base and a weekly stipend
  • A working studio space will be designated by the National Park Service for the duration of the residency
  • There is no exhibition or donation or artwork requirement, however, each artist is asked to contribute a one-page two-dimensional expression of their on-site experience
  • The artist is responsible for providing all art supplies
  • The artist is responsible for all meals and meal preparation
  • Each artist is required to provide publication-quality, digital representation of the work done during the residency, as well as later work created as a direct result of the residency
  • During the residency, artists must abide by all National Park Service regulations and guidance
  • There is a $45 application fee to cover software, processing, and administrative fees
Front storefront of Verkamp's Visitor Center

While no specific requirements will be placed on the content or direction of the artists' proposals, applicants must have an idea of direction, topic, and the project they will work on while during their residency when they apply. Projects may evolve and change during their residency as long as the new direction also has relevance to the canyon or its communities and meets all other program requirements and NPS guidelines.

While in residence, artists will be encouraged to work collaboratively with NPS staff and to make use of the many resources NPS will make available to them, including but not limited to: access to park staff and researchers, access to park collections, access to park library, access to trails and backcountry opportunities as is possible at time of residency. 

Artists must, in their application, be able to articulate how their project would contribute to our understanding of Grand Canyon (in its broadest interpretation). Evidence of some preliminary research and understanding of the canyon is expected. Artists are not required to adhere to official park themes. However, if you wish to use them as guidance for your inspiration, you can find them on the park's website.


Application requirements:

  • Artist statement
  • Artist biography
  • Most recent CV/resume
  • Description of the artist work plan
  • Description of public educational programs
  • Contact information for two professional affiliations or references
  • Work samples (minimum of three)

Applicants are judged blind based on artistic merit, professional experience, process, and potential of their proposed project to further our understanding of Grand Canyon. Artists will be selected by a panel of art professionals. 

Applications can be submitted online through Café. If you have any questions about the program or applying, contact us here.

Resident Spotlight

Heather L. Johnson

Photo of Heather L. Johnson by Wei Hong
Residency: May 2, 2021, through June 14, 2021

Heather L. Johnson sees her time as Grand Canyon’s Artist in Residence as an opportunity to broaden her self-awareness by examining intimately how her presence affects parts of the park and how the qualities and features of these environments affect her.

Heather, based in Houston, Texas, has been focusing her recent work on the landscapes and the people she encounters through travel. She is interested in the traces of themselves people leave behind when moving through a given space—ranging from tales of personal experience that color a location’s cultural history to the physical transformations people make upon the landscape itself, be it through large architectural transformations or the subtler signs of human footprints.

Using an interdisciplinary approach that brings together photography and video, drawing, hand-stitched embroidery, written prose, and more, she responds to the memories and experiences that accumulate throughout life. 

Heather’s work has been seen in galleries, museums, and in the public realm internationally. She holds a Masters of Fine Art from California College of the Arts and has been awarded artist residencies at McColl Center for Visual Art (Charlotte, NC); BoxoPROJECTS (Joshua Tree, CA); Houston Center for Contemporary Craft; Villa Bergerie (Laguarres, Spain), and others.

During her residency, Heather will conduct two guided sketch hikes in which she will share her practice of careful observation and spontaneous drawing. Participants are invited to walk attentively and select a subject to draw using all of their senses, paying attention to how the drawing makes them feel. At the end of each sketch hike, there will be a discussion session to reflect and exchange experiences and ideas. 

The sketch hikes are tentatively scheduled for June 2 and June 4. Availability is on a first-come-first-served basis and is limited to 10 participants. Registration will take place on-site. 

As a takeaway from Heather's residency, she will be developing handouts for participants to recreate an "artist-led" hike on their own–either at the canyon or at home. These will be shared and posted online in June.

Heather L. Johnson sketches against a wall

Heather L. Johnson at Villa Bergerie in Laguarres, Spain

Two sketches from Heather L. Johnson side by side

Witness with detail, 2020, 18x12x1in

Support this program

The Artist in Residence Program is made possible because of support and grants from Grand Canyon Conservancy. Donations to this program will help fund future residents and educational programming around Grand Canyon's cultural and aesthetic legacy through art.

By donating, you help connect visitors with artists bringing new perspectives and insights to Grand Canyon and its surrounding communities.