Dalton highway with Sukakpak Mountain looming ahead just to the right

2023 Dalton Highway Artist-in-Residence

The application window for the 2023 Dalton Highway Artist-in-Residence opportunity has now closed. The selected artist will be announced by early May, and all applicants will be notified. If you are interested in applying in the future, look for an announcement and instructions in early 2024.

This year, the BLM Alaska and Toolik Field Station are offering a collaborative Dalton Highway Artist-in-Residence opportunity. It will run for five to seven days between June and September 2023, with exact dates at the discretion of the artist. During the residency, the artist will have the opportunity to travel much of the Dalton Highway, speak with land managers and scientific researchers, and pursue their artistic discipline amid Alaska’s inspiring landscapes. Artists may be hosted at one of the BLM cabins or campgrounds, at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology’s Toolik Field Station, and/or at a remote, backcountry location, depending on the interests and outdoor experience of the selected artist. 

The BLM will provide the selected artist with transportation from Fairbanks to the residency location(s) as well as provide housing and/or camping equipment, satellite phone, and emergency equipment (including first-aid kit). Transportation to Fairbanks is the responsibility of the selected artist.

Travel along the Dalton Highway provides a rare opportunity to traverse a remote, unpopulated part of Alaska to the very top of the continent.

The Dalton Highway is one of the most isolated roads in the United States. Built during construction of the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s, this mostly gravel highway travels through rolling, forested hills, across the Yukon River and Arctic Circle, through the rugged Brooks Range, and over the North Slope to the Arctic Ocean. Along most of its length, you'll see no strip malls, no gift shops, no service stations — just forest, tundra, and mountains, crossed by a ribbon of road and pipe. As you move north along the highway, boreal forest gives way to arctic tundra, with opportunities to see moose, caribou, Dall sheep, black and brown bears, muskox, wolves, and lynx. Every spring, migrating birds such as the arctic tern, tundra swan, and blue throat arrive for the summer nesting season. Additional highlights include the historical mining village of Wiseman and the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot. The BLM manages a swath of public lands along the highway from the Yukon River to the north side of the Brooks Range. These public lands are adjacent to Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and the Kanuti, Yukon Flats, and Arctic National Wildlife Refuges.

The Toolik Field Station is a leading, year-round Arctic observatory and research and education facility, dedicated to addressing local and global challenges of a rapidly changing Arctic. The station is located on the northern foothills of Alaska's Brooks Range and operated by the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska Fairbanks with cooperative agreement support from the U.S. National Science Foundation's Division of Polar Programs. Toolik aims to promote a greater understanding of the Arctic by safely, sustainably, and equitably fostering research and education in response to the needs of scientists and the larger community.

Interested in being the next artist?

Artist Expectations

Participating artists are asked to give at least one public demonstration or presentation during the course of their residency. Both the Toolik Field Station and Arctic Interagency Visitor Center have facilities and welcoming audiences.

As part of the program, the artist is asked to donate to the BLM and Toolik Field Station the use of an original piece of artwork from the residency. The artist will retain the copyright and may retain the original if they so choose. Artwork may be used in exhibits, for educational purposes, and/or by non-profit partners for items such as postcards or posters. 

Artist Selection

The BLM is committed to supporting artistic efforts from all mediums that support the public lands. The selection process is collaborative, with a jury that reviews and ranks all complete applications, discusses rankings, and comes to a consensus on the final selection. Artists must be 18 or over. To visit Toolik Field Station, artists must also be up to date on vaccination against COVID 19 according to CDC guidance, unless they have a medical or religious vaccine exemption.

Factors considered by the selection committee:

How well does the project embody the importance of public land? How strong is the artistic sample? How qualified and pertinent are the reference providers and what do they have to say? Does the candidate have a sufficient level of experience and knowledge to safely complete the residency? Has a previous artist in residence used a similar media recently? If yes, is the proposal unique?

Applicants will be notified by the beginning of May.

How to Apply (for future reference)

Application materials were due to the BLM by Friday, March 24, 2023.

Attention: Tyra Olstad
Central Yukon Field Office
222 University Ave
Fairbanks, AK 99709

Email: tolstad@blm.gov

Include the following materials in application packages:  

Artist's Preferred Dates of Residency (5-7 days, June–early September) 

Artwork List and Samples: Provide a one-page list of work samples submitted with title, medium, date, and other relevant information that will assist in the evaluation of your work (printed, or PDF/MS Word document format). Use your last name and image number in the file name. (For example: Smith_Image01.jpg)

  • Visual Artists (photographers, painters, sculptors, weavers, etc.): Up to 5 images of work, emailed, shared on a digital drive, or mailed as prints or digital files. Digital submissions must be in JPG or TIFF format, not larger than 2 MB each.
  • Videographers or Performing Artists: At least two productions or segments thereof, not to exceed to 5 minutes total.MPEG file format, emailed, or share a link to the video online such as YouTube, Vimeo, or a personal website.
  • Writers or Poets: Up to 10 pages of writing samples, double-spaced. Printed and mailed, or emailed or share a link to the files. Acceptable file formats are MS Word, PDF, HTML.
  • Auditory Artists (composers, sound recorders, etc.): At least two productions or segments thereof, not to exceed to 5 minutes total. Submit as WAV, MP3, WMA, or MPEG MPEG file format, emailed, or share a link to the file. 
Resume: A professional resume, including contact information, exhibition record, fellowships and residencies, and other honors. Also include names and contact information for up to three references who can speak to your ability to complete a residency in a fairly remote, wild setting. Printed, PDF, or MS Word document format, not to exceed 3 pages in length.

Project Proposal: No more than one page in length (printed, or PDF/MS Word document format). Proposal should include:

  • Your experience with outdoor activities in Alaska or similar climate
  • Why you are interested in a BLM artist residency
  • A description of your potential artistic product(s) and relevance of your project to the missions of the BLM and the Toolik Field Station
  • Potential for development of your artistic growth/interests
  • A description of a public presentation to be delivered during the residency or within 6 months of your project



Tyra Olstad
Central Yukon Field Office
222 University Ave
Fairbanks, AK 99709

Phone: 907-474-2237 

Email: tolstad@blm.gov


Dalton Highway Flickr Album
Check out our Dalton Highway Flickr album for more inspiration!


Since 2018, the BLM has hosted an artist along the Dalton Highway annually, sometimes in collaboration with other entities. This residency is intended to promote artistic interpretation of the beauty and value of natural places promised to future generations. 

  • 2018 – Kelly Ann Sheridan, painter 
  • 2019 – Iris Sutton, painter
  • 2020 – cancelled due to COVID 
  • 2021 – Sue Steinacher, painter *in collaboration with the US Department of the Interior Museum
  • 2022 – Bathsheba Demuth, writer * in collaboration with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology - Toolik Field Station