Artists asked to apply for new state park residencies

Wild River State Park included among host sites for year-long program.

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Prairie at Wild River State Park (Greg Seitz/St. Croix 360)

A new artist-in-residency program at Minnesota parks is inviting applications for the program, including an opportunity at Wild River State Park along the St. Croix River. The year-long residency does not include accommodation at the parks, but rather a $40,000 stipend and the expectation of about 20 hours of work per week between August 2024 and August 2025.

The host parks include sites around the state in both the county, regional, and state park systems. There are three state parks involved: Tettegouche, Lake Bemidji, and Wild River. The approximately 6,500-acre Wild River State Park is located east of North Branch and includes 18 miles of St. Croix River shoreline.

The “Creating Belonging in Minnesota Parks — Artist Residency in the Parks Pilot Program” is in its pilot phase, intended to experiment and learn from the experience. It is being hosted by nonprofit Forecast Public Art, and supported by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Parks and Trails Division, the Metropolitan Council Metropolitan Regional Parks, and the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. Funding for the program comes from the 2008 Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.

The selected Minnesota-based artists-in-residence will research and engage with a park, trail or park system and its communities and then use that research to develop new work(s). Unlike traditional residency opportunities, this program focuses on how artists can serve as partners to and ambassadors for the parks and contribute not just art, but ideas.

The goal of the Minnesota Parks Artist-in-Residence Pilot Program is to enhance a sense of welcoming and belonging to park users. We hope that this pilot helps foster deeper community engagement and relationship-building in state and regional parks, improves access to Minnesota parks and trails, and increases collective appreciation for park uses, outdoor recreation, and natural resources, especially in underserved communities.

This is a paid opportunity for artists that aims to address unique opportunities and challenges around creating belonging in our public parks. Unlike traditional residency opportunities, this pilot program focuses on how artists can serve as partners to and ambassadors for the parks and contribute not just art, but ideas. This residency is modeled on artist residencies in government, which embed artists into public systems. Embedding an artist in a park or a park system will allow the selected artists to apply their own creative perspectives and skills to foster a greater sense of belonging. All selected artists will be a part of a cohort of 9, and will meet with other artists regularly to foster a sense of community and to share ideas.

Legacy funds dedicated to coordination among partner agencies will fund artists’ time, and project materials/expenses. The artwork will be determined in collaboration between the artist and the host site. Artists will also build connections in the local community and could collaborate with other parks in the region. Artistic outputs may take the form of community conversations, music/dance/theater/performance, ephemeral installations, 3D sculpture, projection/lighting projects, and other temporary works. Artists will spend an average of 20 hours each week from July 2024 – June 2025 as the Artist-in-Residence.

The parks will be involved in the following:

  • Serve as host site and primary connector for the artist
  • Provide clear information re: space access and lodging (where available)
  • Provide site onboarding/orientation for the artist
  • Establish a primary contact for artist
  • Maintain dialogue with the artist around proposed ideas
  • Communications around artist’s projects and/or events

Artists are expected to:

  • Engage with the park during the majority of the 12-month residency (Engagement and availability of park staff will differ by site. Artists will negotiate this with their host site.)
  • Produce artistic outputs while in the residency (Please note that this is not a traditional public art residency. Artworks can take a wide variety of forms including, but not limited to, community engagement events, performances, or sculptures)
  • Participate in cohort activities including: onboarding, virtual check-ins, evaluation and feedback sessions
  • Provide own transportation to/from sites

Guiding Values of the Project

Curiosity, Belonging, & Discovery – These are the values that guide the activities of the Creating Belonging in Minnesota Parks program. Participants in the program will be asked to commit to these values.

  • Curiosity: a genuine curiosity around both the opportunity, the sites and the systems
  • Belonging: an interest in exploring the physical and abstract concepts of place and belonging
  • Discovery: a desire to investigate group and individual processes, materials, etc. as a path to the discovery of news things and ways of knowing

More information and the application are available here. There is an information session scheduled for Tuesday, June 25 at 4 p.m. (Register for information session)


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