Artist in Residence Program at Canyons of the Ancients NM
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BLM CO Canyons of the Ancients National Monument > Artist in Residence 


“Mesas, Buttes, Plateaus, and Cuestas” at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument   

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Canyons of the Ancients National Monument (CANM) –  is pleased to announce the 2015 Artist–in-Residence program “Mesas, Buttes, Plateaus, and Cuestas.” Applicants will spend at least one week developing artwork representative of the monument, which will be featured as part of the BLM's national Artists-in-Residence Program. Applications will be accepted though Friday, Sept. 4, 2015

Artists and Public Lands
Artists have long contributed to the preservation and interpretation of our public lands.  Thomas Moran, Fredric Edwin Church, Henry David Thoreau, and John Muir are great examples of nineteenth century artist that instilled a sense of pride in this country’s wild but developing landscapes. Subsequently, artists have used music, photography, prose and other mediums to celebrate America’s public lands. This creative work illustrates the experience of the common man in a sublime natural setting and demonstrates the artistic expression that plays a vital role in connecting people to the natural world.

Today, painters and photographers continue to document national monument landscapes with contemporary approaches and techniques. Writers, sculptors, musicians, composers, and other performing artists also draw upon the multifaceted quality of public lands for inspiration.  Artists translate through art the purpose and values of the agencies developed to protect, preserve, and manage public lands and resources.
Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Artist-in-Residence (AiR) Program continues this tradition.

Rocks in CANM. Photo by Eric Muller.

PROGRAM GOALS: The Artist-in-Residence program is intended to promote

  • Appreciation of the cultural and natural resources protected with CANM;
  • Awareness of the unique and the fragile nature of these resources; and
  • Visitor ethics and conduct that support resource preservation.
The CANM Artist-in-Residence program is open to all professional artists over 18 years of age who are United States citizens. 

The CANM-AiR program will consider any medium suitable for digital reproduction including two-dimensional visual still media (such as painting, photography, printmaking), literature, video, music, etc.

An application form is available here.  Your application should be accompanied by art samples in the format specified, your resume showing relevant previous work and achievement, and a narrative describing your project proposal.  

Applications may be sent by email or physically mailed (on paper or CD/DVD) but NOT BOTH. 




  • Visual Artists (photographers, painters, etc.): Submit 4 to 10 images by email, CD, 35mm slides, or 8x10 prints. Digital images must be .jpg or .tif format, maximum size 5 MB each.
  • Videographers: Submit two productions, or segments thereof, not to exceed 5 minutes total, on CD/DVD in MPEG file format.
  • Musicians, Composers: Submit two compositions, or segments thereof, not to exceed 5 minutes total, on CD/DVD  (WAV, MP3, or WMA file format).
  • Writers: Submit up to 10 pages of written samples, double-spaced, printed or in Word (.doc) format. 

13th century masonry in CANMSELECTION CRITERIA
Final selections are based on the merit and professionalism of the artist and the proposal.  Applications will be evaluated according to these elements:

  • ART: Artistic merit of sample work submitted
  • PROPOSAL: Originality, quality, feasibility. Proposal should address program goals and natural or cultural resources within Canyons of the Ancients
  • EXPERIENCE: Applicant's background and previous accomplishments

Selection is solely based on merit, without regard to sex, race, religion, national origin, employer, or physical ability.

Collared Lizard in CANM. Photo by Eric Muller.


Artists should plan to spend at least seven consecutive days of residency during October through December 2015, on dates scheduled in advance, in or adjacent to the National Monument.

Artists are responsible for their own lodging, meals, transportation, cell phone, etc. A stipend of $750 per artist may be available to help defray expenses. Some insurance coverage is provided under the required BLM Volunteer Services Agreement.  

In addition to other terms described on this page, the program participant will sign and be covered by the official BLM Volunteer Agreement during the residency period. The participant must abide by the same rules of conduct as any other visitor or CANM volunteer. Most of the monument is accessible by foot; vehicle access is limited. The artwork must not identify archaeological sites not otherwise publicized.

The resident artist must provide BLM with a high-resolution and reproduction-quality digital version of at least one original artwork created during the residency or as a result of it, which may be reproduced by the BLM in any print or electronic format. The product is due to BLM within one month (30 days) following the end of the residency period. 

The product must not identify nor communicate the location of archaeological sites that are not otherwise publicly identified for visitors.

Corn Cob House in Sand Canyon

The Artist-in-Residence is expected to conduct at least one 45-minute public presentation during the residency period. Please include a description of your planned presentation with your application. The prospect of positive public involvement is one important element in selecting artist projects.

The presentation should be developed using only a few hours of the artist's time, and tailored to the artist's medium and interests.  Presentations may utilize almost any format including demonstrations, talks, slide shows, exploratory walks, or hands-on workshops. Artists must provide their own supplies and equipment for these public presentations.

Potential public presentation venues include the artist residence, local libraries or schools, cultural and arts centers, or an outdoor setting in Canyons of the Ancients. 

Artists are also requested to give public presentations in their home communities about their residency experience after the residency ends.

The artist agrees that artwork produced under the AiR program may be reproduced for use in exhibits, publications, or other educational purposes by the Bureau of Land Management or by its cooperating  nonprofit partners.

The artist will retain copyright © to the artwork produced under the BLM AiR Program. The BLM will identify the artist as the creator of the image(s) on materials it produces and/or distributes. 

When the artist reproduces the artwork for his/her own purposes, captioning or publication information must include the statement: "This artwork was produced under the Artist-in-Residence Program of the Bureau of Land Management at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument."

Program participants will abide by all local, state, and federal laws including all BLM rules and regulations appropriate to the BLM-CANM site during their residency. CANM managers, the local site AiR Program coordinator, or the national BLM Artist-in-Residence program office have the right to cancel any artist's residency immediately for inappropriate behavior or serious disregard for safety or BLM regulations. AiR Program participants will be official BLM Volunteers, and are encouraged to promote appropriate site etiquette and landscape conservation in any public contacts while acting as the Artist-in-Residence at Canyons of the Ancients.




For more information, call 970.882.5600 or write to 
blm_co_artist_in_residence @blm.gov

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument
27501 HWY 184
Dolores, CO 81323





"Trail Canyon" pastel by Jeff Potter

"Castle Rock Sunset" oil on canvas by Jeff Potter 
May 11-19, 2013

Jeff Potter, a painter living in Alameda, New Mexico, shared his vision of Canyons of the Ancients in a presentation to visitors to the Anasazi Heritage Center.  The New Mexico native paints with pastels, watercolor, and oil paints. he also creates woodblock and linoleum prints.  The prolific artist has also participated in regional exhibitions in Texas and Utah.

My artwork showcases the majestic, unique and fragile landscape, and how the ancient people built dwellings to live in harmony there. Sensations of light and weather on the land evoke a former time.... My dramatic images will hopefully produce an emotional response that evokes appreciation for why these cultural and natural resources areas are protected.  (Jeff Potter)

"Sleeping Ute: Awake in Summer Light" (Acrylic) by Lewis Williams

"Boulder Castle Time Frame" (Oil)  by Lewis WilliamsLEWIS WILLIAMS
July 14-21,2013 


Lewis Williams was the second Artist-in-Residence to immerse himself in Canyons of the Ancients during 2013.  He shared his point of view and works-in-progress in a presentation to visitors to the Anasazi Heritage Center.


Williams is an artist of remarkable variety. His preferred media include oils, acrylics, charcoal, pastels, watercolors, and block prints. He was recently featured at plein-air art shows in Moab and Escalante, Utah. 

Williams' art reflects a sense of sacred connections to the landscape. The Ohio native was changed forever on his first trip West at age 17, when he fell in love with the Southwest.


I learned the power of wilderness, Williams says. I am drawn to elements in nature that struggle against other elements, as archetypes of resilience, with a sanctity in being just what they are made to be.




Forty-four artists from across the nation applied for residencies at CANM during 2012. Those selected were chosen on the basis of both artistic merit and pubic outreach proposals. This year’s chosen artists were:

Each artist spent one week absorbing and experiencing the Monument landscape, creating a work of art in response to the experience, then sharing their vision and techniques with the public.



 Watercolor by Arthur Short Bull. Copyright of the artist.

Arthur Short Bull belongs to the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) people of the northern Great Plains. He works primarily in watercolors, and was the last of four artists in 2012 to spend time exploring and absorbing the landscape while creating art in response to the experience. His presentation was from a Native American point of view, and he explained how his cultural background has influenced his creative process. 

Arthur Short BullThe artist is related to famed Lakota historian Amos Bad Heart Bull, younger brother of He Dog, both of whom rode with Crazy Horse at the battle of Little Big Horn.
“The history of the American West is rich and abundant, and inextricably interwoven with that of the original inhabitants.... That history has rarely been told visually through the eyes of Native Americans, with the outlook and interpretation that only Native Americans could express,” Short Bull said.

In 2006 Short Bull was a recipient of the First Peoples Cultural Capital Program Fellowship, during which he commemorated the Wounded Knee Massacre in poems and paintings. In 2009 Short Bull received a First Peoples Fund Business Leadership award, and in 2010 he was a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, DC. Short Bull’s paintings are found in collections throughout America and Europe.




Watercolor by Joyce Heuman. Copyright of the artist.

Joyce Heuman, Artist-in-Residence at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, led interested artists on a hiking and sketching tour on Saturday, May 19, 2012. 

Heuman was the second of four artists-in-residence to work in Canyons of the Ancients this summer, devoting herself to art and observation. She is a watercolorist and aficionado of local history, and the only selected artist who lives in the Cortez area. Heuman’s twin passions, for painting and nature, are evident in all her work. She has exhibited art in various galleries and venues throughout the Southwest, and is currently employed by Crow Canyon Archaeological Center near Cortez.

According to Heuman, “A walk through this spectacular landscape is a journey through time, and many places show evidence of early habitation. Our imaginations are activated by intriguing alcoves that shelter the remains of ancient homes. 





Gouache by Carol Chamberland. Copyright of the artist.

Carol Chamberland, Artist-in-Residence for Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, shared her work and vision with the public on July 1, 2012 at the Bureau of Land Management Anasazi Heritage Center.  

Chamberland was the third artist this year to spend a week exploring and absorbing the southwest Colorado landscape and creating art in response to the experience. Her presentation discussed both materials and technique, and comment on how her archeological background has influenced the creative process.
The Artist-in-Residence program promotes awareness through art of the exceptional places protected within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, and provides an opportunity for learning and dialogue about the value of preserving public lands.
The Albuquerque-based artist grew up in Connecticut where she developed an early love for outdoor activities.
“I hope that by exploring difficult terrain on foot, and producing exciting imagery of places within the Monument, others will be inspired to make the physical journey themselves,” said Chamberland.
Previous participants have worked in black-and-white photography and watercolors. Chamberland’s mixed media paintings often portray a desert of abstract forms and patterns illuminated by intense and spooky light.

Part of her presentation showed creative digital work based on her years of rock art research. When not painting, she leads volunteer groups who record ancient rock art on public lands throughout New Mexico, and volunteers as a docent at the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.   

Chamberland also discussed a more introspective project involving 30 years of annual self-portraits.  She believes that “all of life’s experiences provide inspiration for the mindful artist.”






Wall and petroglyph at Painted Hand Pueblo in CANM,  by Kirk Gittings. Copyright of the artist.

Tower at Painted Hand Pueblo in CANM by Kirk Gittings. Copyright of the artist.

Kirk Gittings, first Artist-in-Residence at Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, discussed the ideas behind his life work in a theater presentation at the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Anasazi Heritage Center on  April 21, 2012.

The Albuquerque photographer is one of four professional artists chosen for one-week residencies during the spring and summer 2012 at Canyons of the Ancients. His primary tool is a large-format 4x5 inch view camera, which demands a slow and deliberate approach, according to Gittings.
The Artist-in-Residence program promotes awareness through art of the exceptional places protected within the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System and provides an opportunity for learning and dialogue about the value of preserving public lands.

Gittings sees the expanse of canyons and mesas as a mythological landscape with aesthetic and historic qualities to inspire both residents and visitors. He will spend a week immersed in the Monument landscapes, learning their inner story and making photographs.

“My first mythological landscape was my childhood home west of Albuquerque,” said Gittings. “Surrounded by the volcanos, Sandia Peak, Ladron Peak, and Mount Taylor, my brother and I invented personal mythologies. I learned later that prominent landforms featured in Native American origin myths, and that tourist stops along Route 66 were mythologized versions of cowboy culture and the Old West.”

Gittings’ acclaimed book Chaco Body (with poet V.B. Price) became the first part of a long-term project to reimagine the Southwest in mythic terms. Gittings has presented his work previously to the American Institute of Architects and the Art Institute of Chicago, as well as at Chaco Canyon and the University of New Mexico.





Link to Canyons of the Ancients National Monument home page

27501 HWY 184, DOLORES, CO 81323
(970) 882-5600


National Conservation Lands link


Last updated: 08-20-2015