5 artist residency programs for people who love nature and science

Source: 5 artist residency programs for people who love nature and science | MNN – Mother Nature Network |

As anyone who has ever done anything creative knows, the single thing that will advance your work most isn’t raw talent, the best teachers or the most expensive equipment. It isn’t even money (though that can help).

It’s time.

That’s why artist-in-residence programs exist. They are spaces, sometimes complete with art materials, that give time and space for a creative person to focus on, well, creating. And while Yaddo, Bread Loaf and other famous retreats are well-known even among non-creative types, many more retreats exist. There are even locations for people who love nature and science.

The National Parks Service

A map of the residencies available at national parks in the US. Residencies at national parks sometimes include interaction with park guests. (Photo: U.S. National Parks Service)

The National Parks Service (NPS) offers a huge number and variety of residencies at U.S. parks — 50 in all in the United States. A quick look at the map above will give you an idea. Most last two to four weeks and are open to creative people of various stripes. What’s included and the specifics of each residency vary from park to park, but the NPS website gives a good overview: “Whether staying in a remote wilderness cabin at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska or contemplating history at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in Iowa or working in a contemporary studio overlooking the stone-lined fields at Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut, these programs provide artists with unique opportunities to create works of art in varied natural and cultural settings.”

The Art Farm

The Art Farm provides residencies for all kinds of artists, from writers to woodworkers, sculptors, painters, playwrights and more. (Photo: Courtesy Art Farm)The Art Farm provides residencies for all kinds of artists, from writers to woodworkers, sculptors, painters, playwrights and more. (Photo: Courtesy Art Farm)

The Art Farm in Nebraska is all about being off-center, playful, and thinking way out-of-the-box. There are two rambling houses and a barn to work from — accommodations are free — and an organic garden. Provided materials range from paper to scrap metal, timber and clay. The mission is as quixotic as the group’s rooms and materials: “Art Farm’s mission is to support artistic vision, which may be impractical, obscure, and independent of commercial recognition — where failing is no less welcomed than succeeding. To offer artists, writers, performers, and others: studios, time, and resources for pursuing their range of expression, for experimenting, for developing projects, but most of all, for distilling the promise and potential of their creative enterprise, while working and living in a rural environment.”

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