Summer Residency

California Botanic Gardens

Claremont, CA

California Botanic Garden (CalBG), the largest garden devoted to California native plants, invites artists from all disciplines to apply for an immersive three-week summer residency. During these challenging times with restricted access to the places and communities that both artists and audiences have relied on, CalBG aims to offer a creative space in the sanctuary of our 86-acre botanic garden for artists to explore and utilize. In tandem, we aim to provide our audiences with accessible and novel ways to connect to the Garden; by presenting artists’ work onsite and then virtually following the residency, we endeavor to cultivate new ways to access our botanic garden, our local environment and the larger world of native plants. 

We are looking for artists with diverse perspectives to engage in their own process of homing. Homing is the innate ability of an animal to navigate to a known location through unfamiliar areas. It is the instinct to return to the place we remember after traveling a long distance away from it. This journey is a way to re-establish oneself in the continuity between the geographic past and present. California native plants define and distinguish the concept of home as organisms that have developed unique ways of existing and co-existing in this special place that we call California. These plants are stunningly diverse and speak a unique botanical language. They are irrevocably intertwined with a sense of place, invaluable to countless forms of wildlife and deeply rooted in all California Native American cultures. In this sense, California native plants can provide a living door into the natural heritage and distinct identity of California itself.

As facilitators of critical discussion, visiting artists are invited to reflect on their connection with nature and to generate a creative response to this experience during their time at the garden. The residency application is open to all media, including but not limited to: photography, processed based work, painting, video, poetry, and sculpture. Uninterrupted access to the garden (Monday - Sunday, 8 am - 8 pm; this includes days and times that we are closed to the general public) will provide time and space for artists to retreat, reflect, and create work outside of familiar spaces and routines. They may explore the richness and diversity of landscapes and plant communities that represent the habitats of California. The residency, an approximately three-week period starting Friday, July 24 and ending August 16, will culminate in a virtual exhibition and an onsite exhibition (if work is applicable for outdoor viewing). This may take place in an outdoor exhibition space where visitors can view art alongside native California plants. An online exhibition will accommodate the need for social distance and provide an additional platform for the artists to share their work in the digital realm. Artists are encouraged to consider the ability of viewers to engage with the art and employ alternative ways of displaying their work. This can be as simple as documenting processed based work and showcasing it online, or as complex as multimedia sound and video work. Artists may sell work through the onsite and virtual exhibitions; the Garden will facilitate these sales during the duration of the exhibitions and will request a 25% commission. Selling work is not a requirement or consideration for the residency. This will not be a stipulated question on the application materials. 

Our aim is to provide accessibility for artists and audiences during this period, because access to the usual tools and methods of creating might be difficult for those whose workspaces have been disrupted. Staff will be onsite to assist the participating artists in navigating the site. Participants will receive a $300 stipend for transportation and material costs for the three-week period and an annual membership to California Botanic Garden. Three artists will be selected for the residency based on internal review. Artists must be 21 or over and reside in Southern California; this is to encourage frequent visitation and use of the Garden during the residency period and beyond. Questions about eligibility may be submitted to [email protected].

Selected artists will be expected to facilitate a one-hour artist talk following the completion of their residency; this talk can focus on the work generated during the residency as well as their larger creative practice. Residency applications are due on Sunday, July 19 at 11:59 PM. Selections will be announced on Wednesday, July 22.


To complete an application, please visit

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