Fort Union National Monument

Artist in Residence FAQs


How competitive is the application process? This is a fascinating residency in one of the most beautiful parts of New Mexico, but it is fairly new so it is still a good bet for most artists. We rate it as average competitiveness.

When will applicants be notified of their acceptance to be the Fort Union National Monument Resident Artist? At least, two months prior to the commencement of the AIR term for which they applied, in this case, NOVEMBER 27th, 2019.


What are the housing arrangements? Artists are housed at the monument in employee housing. Occupants are responsible for daily cleaning and final cleaning. Pets and smoking are not allowed. Smoking is allowed in designated smoking areas. There is a full kitchen, ample air-conditioning but NO WIFI.

Is there a preferred time to arrive at the AiR? Yes. For ease of coordination and communication with the Park Service, Artists or Artist couples must schedule their arrival between 10-3 on federal work days, and must have their own transportation for the month of the residency.


Question: Is a vehicle required for this residency? Yes. Artists must have their own transportation for the month of the residency. Some of the parks are large in and of themselves, and others quite isolated.


What are the studio arrangements? There is no studio available.


Can an applicant apply for other NPAF Artist in Residence programs and workshops simultaneously? Yes. You can even apply with the exact same proposal but fitted for a different park or monument- who knows it may work better in other parks.


May an applicant apply with their Nom de Plume, pseudonym, fauxnom or exhibit name? No. The name on the application must be the individual’s legal name. However, please include above on your application if you prefer to be addressed and credited by them/it.


How many artists are selected each year? 1 artist per term, plus 3 alternates per term, are selected each year. Park requests for more in the future.


Do I need to have a car? Yes. Artists are responsible for their own travel and travel expenses. Often times we will have a donation of a vehicle, but will notify the participant of that if and when it becomes available.


How do I apply ? Click on the purple APPLY button. It will take you to our Submittable Application Page.


What are the guidelines for submitting my digital images? We basically accept most file types and are looking for files no more than a resolution of 72 PPI, no more than 3mb, and no less than 1920 pixels. We basically need to see them clearly on a full screen.


Do we select artists whose work is specifically about Fort Union ? We are interested in artists being inspired by the Monument and , like our past artists, it is impossible not to be inspired in some way by the majestic beauty of the park. A performance artist with good artwork has just as much a chance at being selected as does someone who has been plein-air painting in the park for fifty years. We have a full panel of judges, who are at the top of the arts professions looking at the portfolios. This is not about taste or any agenda, it is about great artwork and giving an artist a once in a lifetime chance to create fine art in a National Park.



Are the artists selected judged strictly on a scoring scale ? Our curators, judges and panelists are top of their profession in the arts and their names may be posted on the website. We may also consider input from cultural experts and the NPS. So, the answer is, no, because knowing and judging what art is and choosing appropriate candidates, goes far beyond just knowing a numbers scoring system.


Why is there no stipend or traveling fund for the artists? NPAF is doing the best it can at this time of U.S. economic crisis, in fact, all of the top tier at NPAF board have donated and/or loaned 100% of their salary to make sure artists and the National Parks have this opportunity. We have many donors and grant possibilities, and all funding opportunities are pursued to the best of our ability. So, an all expenses covered AIR is certainly one of our goals because NPAF is committed to artist advocacy.


Do you accept international artists? Yes, but they must have all of the proper paperwork for the program of their own accord, though we will help them as much as possible.


Will I need to rent a car? Yes. Fort Union is very isolated and you need to be inspired by places you can only get with a car or truck.


Can I bring my pet or my family? No, except as they fall into normal daily visitor guidelines.



All terms herein may change and are subject on the approval of the NPS, NPAF and other governing entities. All AIR participants may be required to accept further conditions contracts and agreements including but not limited to; codes of conduct, special use permits, rules and regulations, housing agreements, volunteer in the parks contract and any other apparent and unforeseen agreements required of any governing entity, namely the NPS, NPAF and/or NPS concessionaires.

Photo by Steven W. Martin, NPAF Resident

I want to include more pieces of art because I feel like only a few works doesn’t represent my body of work. If you were to submit only one fabulous piece of work, its greatness would be recognized and not overlooked. You are not judged on volume. On the other hand, you can consider presenting an under three minute video if you so choose. Whatever you do, please present a cohesive body of work that represents your excellence in style.


Why can’t you just go to my website, pinetrest, instagram or facebook page, instead of my having to do all of this. Good point, but we don’t like to be influenced by the anti-aesthetic platforms and framing social media presents artwork. Sure, they can be viewed there but placement in social media or obscure curation is an influential factor, and we would like to see it stand on it’s own.


Will I be considered an employee of the National Park service while I am there? The NPAF works on a Partnership Model for it’s AIR programs and the park may ask you to sign a “VIP” or Volunteer in the Park paperwork. In that case, you are classified and registered as a volunteer.


What if I am accepted to the program but my availability changes? We will do our best to accommodate your schedule but, unfortunately, because the NPS and NPAF have scheduled other dependent things around an artist committing to the AIR, we may not be able to and will have to ask one of the alternate selected artists to be the Death Valley Artist in residence.


Can I reapply even if I have been accepted previous years? Yes.


Can I apply to other NPAF programs and will participating in them put me “ahead” for the AIR program? Yes, you can apply and though it doesn’t guarantee you will be accepted into our other NPAF programs such as AIRs, workshops or museum exhibitions, our teachers are top of their field in showing you how to present your most cohesive body of work and be successful at it.

Are our application fees non-refundable? Yes.

Where do our application fees go? They go to support AIR programs and fulfill the NPAF mission to promote arts in our National Parks and Monuments and our other programs. NPAF is a non-profit 501(c)3.


Are earthworks, installation or site specific artwork appropriate to the Artist in Residence Program? Yes. However, “Any medium that involves collection or permanent altering of park resources would be in conflict with NPS preservation goals and would be deemed inappropriate. So, you may install something at a location that does not effect above, off-site, or does not have an impact on park resources. In your project proposal please be specific about your earthwork, site specific or installation concept and that you intend to work in conceptual development of said project while you are the artist in residence. Likely, the impact of your work outside of its region of impetus will have a profound impact on the audience. We have accepted these works in the past.


Will there be chances to display my artwork outside of the Artist in Residence time period? Yes, we are planning exhibits at many parks through the NPS and NPS concessionaires. The work you donate to the park will be automatically included in that park museum collections and archived. This AIR may present many opportunities.


Don’t hesitate to email questions to :



N a t i o n a l   P a r k S   A r t s   F o u n d a t i o n

" A Non-Profit Foundation offering Artist in Residence Programs, Museum In-Loan Programs, and Workshops

inspired by our National Parks, National Monuments, World Heritage Sites and other parks "

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