Becoming an Artist in Residence

Voices of the Wilderness

An Alaskan artist-in-residence program where participants are partnered with a wilderness specialist to join in projects such as research, monitoring and education in a remote wilderness setting.  Each opportunity is totally unique, and leaves plenty of time for creating art in the field.

Congratulations to our selected 2022 Voices of the Wilderness artists!

Kootznoowoo Wilderness, Tongass National Forest Forest Service Shield logo

USDA Forest Service  

Kyle Niemer and Brad Einstein | Video/film | Chicago, IL


Forest Service Shield logoNellie Juan-College Fiord Wilderness Study Area, Chugach National Forest

USDA Forest Service

Klara Maisch | Oil Painting | Fairbanks, AK


Forest Service Shield logo Russell Fjord Wilderness, Tongass National Forest

USDA Forest Service

Marybeth Holleman | Prose and Poetry | Anchorage, AK


Forest Service Shield logoWest Chichagof-Yakobi Wilderness, Tongass National Forest

USDA Forest Service

Siena Baldi | Painting and Digital Illustration | Honolulu, HI


 US Fish and Wildlife Service shieldAleutian Islands Wilderness, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Kimberlee McNett | Visual Artist | Homer, AK


US Fish and Wildlife Service shieldArctic Wilderness, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

US Fish & Wildlife Service

Francis Vallejo | Illustrator | Detroit, MI


National Park Service Shield.Noatak Wilderness, Western Arctic National Parklands

National Park Service

Amy Martin | Photography and Writing | Flagstaff, AZ


National Park Service Shield.Wrangell-Saint Elias Wilderness, Wrangell-Saint Elias National Park

National Park Service

Theresa Ptak | Printmaking & Illustration | Minneapolis, MN



2022 Information 

Sponsored by: USDA Forest Service, National Park Service, and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

Residencies open to: Art professionals in all media – visual (two and three dimensional: photographers, sculptors, painters, etc.), audio (musicians, singers, composers), film (video/filmmakers), performance artists, and writers (poets, fiction, essays, storytellers).  International artists are welcome to apply.

Residency period: Typically June through August; dates & length of residencies vary.

Coordinator contact: Barbara Lydon at 

The application period for summer 2022 is closed. 

Visit our past Artists-in-residence and learn about their methods in communicating the meaning of these lands.

2021 | 2020 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010


Artists in Public Lands

2012 AIR MK MacNaughton painting in Western Arctic National ParklandsArtists have long contributed to the preservation and interpretation of our public lands. Early examples include George Catlin, Albert Beirstadt, and Thomas Moran, whose nineteenth-century paintings inspired pride in America’s wild landscapes and influenced designation of our first parks.

In subsequent generations, artists used song, photograph, poetry and other mediums to celebrate America’s public lands. Their work demonstrates that artistic expression plays a vital role in connecting people to the natural world.

2012 AIR MK MacNaughton artwork of the landscapeNow it’s your turn.

Recognizing that today’s artists continue to link people to the land, the US Forest Service, National Park Service and US Fish & Wildlife Service are sponsoring Voices of the Wilderness, artist-in-residence opportunities hosted in some of Alaska’s wildest and most scenic areas.

Your job? It’s to be inspired. Experience the wilderness and use your creative energy to bring its voice back to the community.


2011 AIR Marybeth Holleman writing in Tracy Arm-Ford’s TerrorIn the summer of 2022, artists will be invited to participate in our residencies, each opportunity completely different. The purpose is to share with the community artwork that conveys the inspirational and other values of wilderness. 

Each artist will be provided the same safety training as other volunteers (may include aviation and boat safety, kayak safety, use of radios and satellite phones, review of Job Hazard Analyses, etc.).  The hosting federal agency will provide transportation to and from the field, camping and field gear, and in many cases, food as well.

2013 AIR Sepand Shahab recording sounds in Misty Fiords.Travel to and from Alaska is the artist’s responsibility.  Participants should plan to arrive in Alaska at least one full day prior to a residency to ensure enough time for safety training. Return travel should be planned for a couple days after a residency, as weather sometimes delays the return from the field.  Artists are also responsible for their personal gear, including art supplies.

As an artist-in-residence, you will experience the wilderness like few others. Traveling alongside a ranger, you might kayak the calm fiords and camp on glacier-carved shores. There will be plenty of time to sit back in your camp chair and absorb the crackling ice bergs and roaring waterfalls. From the water, you might see a bear foraging among intertidal mussels, or seals hauled-out on the ice. On remote beaches, your steps will mingle with the tracks of wolves, bears, birds, maybe even a mink. The wilderness soundscape will embrace you with the screeches of eagles or the songs of whales. Along the way, you’ll get a peek at what it’s like to care for the land by sharing time with a ranger.

2014 AIR Ray Geier sketching in South Baranof.As a volunteer, each artist will assist with some basic ranger duties, which may include boarding a tour boat to provide education, participating in research projects, such as seal counts or climate change studies, walking a beach to remove litter, or other generally light duties. However, an emphasis for the artist will be experiencing the wilderness and exploring how to communicate its inspirational qualities through their artwork.





Stories supporting the Voices of the Wilderness artist-in-residence program: