Alaska Dreamin': Meet the Rasmuson Foundation and its Artist Residencies

It's common knowledge that most artists like peace and quiet, but solitude is a relative thing. After all, even Thoreau walked into town to buy bread once a week. (There were even rumors he took in a game or two of bingo at the Concord community center.)

The Rasmuson Foundation seems to understand this. Why? Because they're based in Anchorage. As in Anchorage, Alaska. You're pretty isolated up there.

And so the foundation launched its eight-week Artist Residency Program in 2013 to help Alaska-based artists get out of the state for a spell. Four Alaska-based artists are selected each year to participate in residencies at Lower 48-based art centers.

These organizations include Zygote Press (Cleveland), McColl Center for Art + Innovation (Charlotte), Santa Fe Art Institute in partnership with the Institute of American Indian Arts, and Djerassi Resident Artists Program (Woodside, CA).

Applicants must be full-time Alaska residents for two years prior to the application deadline, remain residents for the duration of the program, and be able to commit to the full eight-week residency. Disciplines currently eligible are Crafts, Folk and Traditional Arts; Literary Arts/Scriptworks; Media Arts; Social Practice; and Visual Arts.

Alaska-based artists can apply to the program between July 1 and August 15 each year through Rasmuson Foundation’s website.

But for every cooped-up Alaska-based artists identifying with Jack Torrence in The Shining, there's a stressed-out painter in Brooklyn dreaming of caribou. And so the residency works both ways: Four Lower 48-based artists are paired with an Alaska arts organizations. These organizations include Bunnell Street Arts Center (Homer), Anchorage Museum at Rasmuson Center, the Alaska Native Art Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the Island Institute (Sitka).

Lower 48 based artists are nominated each year by the program partner organizations located outside of Alaska.

Applicants are asked to describe their training and cumulative creative experiences, their goals for participating in an artist residency, and the benefits anticipated. A strong proposal will contain a compelling and concise residency plan. Applicants must submit supporting work samples (e.g. images, recordings, scripts, resume) that demonstrate their level of artistic accomplishment.

Organizations receive funding to cover travel, administrative fees, housing, meals, materials, transportation, and a $4,000 stipend per artist.

Cue the Johnny Horton!