Artist-in-Residency: A Dream to Achieve


So about a year and a half ago, I wrote this post on my other blog about a newfound dream. I have decided to go after that dream this year and try to  get accepted into an Artist-in-Residency program at one of the national parks. Basically you get to live at a national park for a period of 2 weeks to 3 months and just… make… ART. In exchange for free housing, you agree to talk to visitors about your art and the importance of national parks in your work and donate one piece of art to the park at the end of your stay. I can just see it now, entire endless days of waking up in a forest or desert or valley… grabbing my camera just before sunrise and heading out into the wilderness to capture those first moments of the natural world coming to life. Then heading back to my cabin for breakfast and a quick look over my images before heading out again, maybe taking my journal this time to do some poetry inspired by the depth of the rivers and the height of the mountains… then back to the cabin again to write a blog post and share the days experience and what I gained from it. The whole journey a joyous ebb and flow of creativity and nature.

I just realized the other day that there is really nothing stopping me from taking off and enjoying such an adventure. I am not stuck at a 9-5 job right now, tied to my limited vacation time. I have a rare chance to do some incredible things that I never dreamed I could do before.

Last night, I got all fired up to get going on applications for this. I spent a few hours looking up all the deadlines and started a detailed list of which ones I need to apply to in the next few weeks and months (oddly, my artistic self loves to create super-anal structure with things like this – if only that would spill into house cleaning!). This is where it starts to get daunting. Oh God, they are asking for references and recommendations, and to know of places you’ve had your artwork exhibited. Seriously? Why can’t I just show you my art and you think its awesome and say “yes come live in a forest for 3 months and make art!” It quickly became clear that they want much more established and professional artists than little me. I suddenly felt small and like I don’t stand much of a chance at this. Hi, little fish here, just swimming up into a big pond! Yipes.

Ok, so they likely want really professional, well-established artists… is that going to stop me from trying? Not a chance! I’m still going to apply. It has not changed the plan. But it has been a little bit of a punch in the gut – just enough to get that old self-doubt monster burrowing into me. Am I a good enough artist? What if I put all this time and effort (and some funds for application fees) into this and get nothing from it? and the big one… “What if every single park in the entire country declines me? What if no one wants me in their park?” Potential rejection from every national park in the entire country could almost be enough to make me not try. Almost.

Its been a while since self-doubt has showed up in my life in any major way like this for me, but you know its never far off when you are trying for something really big that you really want. I guess I will just have to power through, and call on my cheerleaders to boost me when I need a little extra help keeping at it. Here we go!

9 Comments on “Artist-in-Residency: A Dream to Achieve

  1. Sarah, what a beautiful dream to go for… can I be on your cheerleading team please… any park will be lucky to have you! xxx

  2. Doing an Art Residency is on my Bucket List so I loved reading this. I like your choice of location too. I wish you lots of luck and I can’t wait to see what you create.

  3. This is so exciting, Sarah! Don’t you listen to that ugly self doubt gremlin. We’re all right here with you, cheering you on. So proud that you’re going after your dream. You rock! :)

  4. What a totally freaking cool job!!! Lately I’ve been fantasizing about my “dream jobs” but sadly most of them are kept in check by the self-doubt monster. The biggest deal is leaving home – I’m not sure I could do it. I wish I was as extraordinary as you

    • Ha, the only times in my life I’ve been extraordinary are when life has FORCED me to make a change. I dunno how extraordinary that actually is! ;) But thank you. I say dream big, then dream even bigger than that bigness! But also do it on your own time and in your own way! You are kicking some major butt in my book already, after all, so no need to rush or make huge changes ;)

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