National Park Artist is a Real Job, and They’re Hiring

November 14, 2018

U.S. National Parks have it all: inspiring landscape, majestic beauty, serenity. Amazingly, there is a job out there where you’d get paid just to behold it all.

From the sounds-too-good-to-be-true-but-it-really-is-true file, Capitol Reef National Park, located in south-central Utah in the heart of red rock country, is accepting applications for its Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program. The right professional artists will get the opportunity to pursue their discipline among the 242,000 acres of desert landscape, including the white domes of Navajo Sandstone, red and green rocks, black boulders, and historical Fruita orchards.

Yes, it’s a real job.

“This residency program is an exciting progression of our relationship with the artist community, and will give visitors the chance to know Capitol Reef in a new and different way, through the eyes of an artist,” former Capitol Reef National Park Superintendent Leah McGinnis, who helped form the program in 2017, states in the job description.

In 2019 the park is offering one-night sky photographer residency for 2-4 weeks. As an International Dark Sky Park, Capitol Reef is “interested in engaging in art and culture with our dark skies,” which should be enough to inspire any artist to start updating their resume and portfolio for consideration.

The International Dark Sky Park is the perfect destination for night sky photographers.

But wait, there’s more.

The park also offers three artists a choice of residency of 2-4 weeks during the months of March through October for visual and performing artists, and writers and composers, the National Park Service states.
The selected artist will be given rent-free use of a furnished park house, and will also receive a $500 contribution from The Entrada Institute to assist with travel and supply expenses.

As for getting around Capitol Reef, bring some good hiking shoes.

The park boasts nearly 200 miles of marked frontcountry trails and backcountry routes, from easy walks to three-day backpacking trips. There are also scenic driving tours, rock climbing, horseback riding, and biking.

Capitol Reef has been home to “artists in residence” for hundreds, if not thousands of years.

Even wandering artists won’t be alone. There are 239 bird species, 71 mammal species, 15 reptiles, five amphibians, and 13 native fish species within Capitol Reef.

Visually, take your pick of pinyon-juniper, perennial streams, dry washes, and rock cliffs, all within sight of sandstone that dates back 275 million years, from which to draw inspiration.

As for work duties as AiR:

“The artist works an average of 40 hours of work per week in the park or other approved locations,” the National Park Service adds. “During the residency, the artist presents one 45-minute public interpretive program for a two-week residency or two 45-minute presentations for a four-week residency either in the park or at The Entrada Institute.”

No later than six months after an artist’s residency, the selected artist will donate an original, Capitol Reef-inspired product to the Capitol Reef Natural History Association (CRNHA), chosen by the park superintendent. Contributed works will be held by the CRNHA and will be in the public domain, and not subject to copyright laws.

The Fruita orchards have thousands of trees from which visitors can pick cherries, apricots, peaches, pears, and apples.

While the 2019 AiR selections will be announced soon, applications for 2020 will be accepted between Oct. 1-31, 2019. Capitol Reef National Park staff, park partners and community arts leaders select the artists chosen based on merit and “how the artists’ work can communicate the park’s national significance and its relevance to park visitors,” the National Park Service describes.

Other basic elements of the gig include free lodging within the Historic Fruita District, with utilities included. The AiR will have a private bedroom and studio but may have shared common living areas, bathrooms, and kitchen. (Note: ADA-compliant housing is currently not available.)

If solitude is an artist’s muse, this is a dream job as well. No family or pets are allowed, and guests require approval prior to a visit. Wi-Fi is provided; however, there is no cell phone service in the park.

Dental and medical care, churches and groceries are available within 30 miles west of the park in Torrey, Bicknell, and Loa. More extensive services are available in Richfield (population 7,500) located 75 miles to the west of the park.

If you have any questions, contact Penni Torgerson at 435-425-4101.

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