The Astronomer in Residence program offers professional and amateur astronomers, educators, scientists, writers, and visual and performing artists the opportunity to practice and share their discipline under one of the most pristine night skies in the United States. Through artwork and educational outreach, the program inspires park visitors about the values of dark night skies, spreads awareness about the threats of light pollution, and explores society’s complex relationships with natural darkness.
The program is modeled after the Artist in Residence program popular in parks across the country. The park hosts a chosen applicant on-site for a short-term residency; the resident, in turn, completes projects in their medium through direct experience of the park’s resources. Some amount of finished product is donated to the park and some amount of visitor outreach is agreed upon based on the nature of the residency. The difference is that this program focuses on night skies, astronomy, and the various disciplines studying natural darkness. Not only are astronomers encouraged to apply—we also invite educators, advocates, artists, and other outreach disciplines to share their expert knowledge, inspiration, and equipment with park visitors.
Dates are subject to change
April 29, 2021
applications open for fall
June 30, 2021
applications close for fall
June 25, 2021
first on-site resident arrives
July 8, 2021
applications open for 2022
Applications can be submitted online through Café. Applicants need to include a statement of purpose, an overview of the anticipated project, and samples of their work. Residents are selected through a jury of park rangers, Grand Canyon Conservancy employees, and night sky advocates and are determined based on artistic and educational merit.
There is a $30 application fee to cover software, processing, and administrative fees.
The resident will work and live on-site at Grand Canyon National Park for the duration of their residency. Residents will be staying in the historic Verkamp's Visitor Center, overlooking Grand Canyon. The space includes a kitchen and studio workspace. Bedding, cookware, and furnishings will be provided.
Grand Canyon National Park is located high on the Colorado Plateau, far from the lights of large cities, in the dry desert southwest. Combined with the clean air and clear skies, Grand Canyon National Park protects some of the most pristine night skies in the United States.
In 2019, Grand Canyon National Park was certified as an International Dark Sky Park by the International Dark-Sky Association. Later that year, the park received the award for International Dark Sky Place of the Year. These distinctions were the culmination of a long history of night sky appreciation at Grand Canyon National Park.
The chosen applicant is asked to donate night-sky-inspired content, whether physical, digital, or educational, to the park and Grand Canyon Conservancy. The proposed quantity of donated content will depend on the medium and will be partly-offered by the resident in the application process, partly-negotiated with park staff based on the needs of the park. The specifics of copyright, donation process, and other legalities are outlined in the contract.
A minimum number of public presentations and outreach efforts will be determined based on the discipline of the chosen applicant. If the applicant is an artist, then at least one public presentation will be required. If the applicant is a public educator, then proposals for virtual outreach or staff training will be negotiated.
The Astronomer 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 dark skies.