This only happens once every 100 years!
I promise more upcoming info on this great Centennial; however, there’s one thing I want to make absolutely sure that you know about first. The National Park Service offers a Volunteers-In-Parks (VIPs) Artists in Residence program: https://www.nps.gov/getinvolved/volunteer.htm.
Applications are open to visual artists, photographers, sculptors, performers, writers, composers, craft artists and more (you do not have to be a professional working in the field) to live and work inside the parks while educating and communicate with the public. More than twenty-five National Parks offer Artist-In-Residence programs.
Different programs have different guidelines. The Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Montana, is open for applications from “two-dimensional visual artists, photographers, sculptors, writers, video/filmmakers, composers and musicians.” Recently they were looking for artists who could interpret the park in children’s educational materials. Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine requires the artist to provide regular programs for tourists. I applied to all of the programs that accepted writers and was accepted as the Writer in Residence, at the Everglades National Park in Homestead, Florida for one month (http://airie.org/2016/2017-airie-application-now-open/). Applications for 2017 are open only until June 1, 2016. They award six two to four week residencies a year. I received a free pass into the park and a very comfortable one bedroom apartment to live within the park itself. In return, I donated a piece of my work to the park’s permanent collection and designed a “Creativity in the Wilderness” program I share with their guests. It combined art and words to interpret scenes experienced by thousands of visitors. I loved learning about the large wading birds and living in the only location in the world where alligators and crocodiles coexist.
This is a once in a lifetime experience that only costs the transportation there and back and your food costs. It was a fabulous seeing the park in every kind of weather and light and living surrounded by other volunteers. For more info: https://www.nps.gov/subjects/arts/air.htm
Coming Soon: Will be sharing info on the National Park Service’s Centennial Celebrations taking place all over the country and will feature one of my favorite parks, along with the job I most wanted inside a national park. Do you have a favorite park? Please tell me all about it!