Teaching Artists | Santa Monica Mountains AiR Program

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area Artist in Resident Program (AiR)

Los Angeles, CA

Project Purpose:

The Artist in Residence (AiR) program at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service (NPS) is intended to connect non-traditional and under-engaged visitors – youth in particular – to the natural and cultural resources of the area. This program offers an alternative avenue for audiences from city centers as well as gateway communities, who might not otherwise be aware of or engaged with nature near to home or the recreation area, to connect with the park’s natural and cultural resources through art.

What We’re Looking For and Timeframe:

Three teaching artists from diverse disciplines among the visual, literary, and performing arts will be selected as an AiR recipient for a 2-4 month period (depending on the number of hours per week with the youth) between January and June 2017. The artists must have their own or make their own connection with a youth-serving organization in which the participants will come from.

We’re looking for artists to integrate a minimum of three full-day (5+hours) trips and/or one possible overnight campout into their curriculum. The youth and artists will use these trips to work on their art form or inspire their work at the studio. 

We ask that artists be working towards a culmination event/show throughout the two-three month residency. All artists are required to be an integral part of an event showcasing the work of all artists and their students on a Saturday or Sunday in May in the Santa Monica Mountains. Transportation will be provided to your group for this event. In addition, artists may have a show closer to home to showcase the work of their students at any point between January and June 2017. 


  • Each AiR will receive a $4500 stipend to fund their specific needs to complete the artist project. Funding can go towards personal compensation, material support, food and other costs associated with the production of the final project.
  • Each AiR will be provided with large school buses for their trips to nature, including, but not limited to, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. 
  • The artist and their students will all be signed up as volunteers and all time spent on their project will be counted as volunteer hours.

Selection Criteria:

  • Youth – experience with youth, number of youth served and the ability to recruit traditionally underserved or underrepresented youth in nature.
  • Artistic Merit – the artistic merit of the applicant based upon artwork submitted and proposal concept.
  • Nature – Number of visits to nature/integration into nature.
  • Project – likelihood of success - logistics, realistic budget, lesson plans that keep to a timeframe that move youth towards success.
  • Park Appropriate – appropriate for all audiences, public appeal and impact to nature.

How to Apply:

To make sure you have all the knowledge necessary to make a strong application and make sure this program is a good fit for you, please visit the Artist in Residence (AiR) website of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. You will find the link to the application on the “how to apply” page. 

The application deadline is 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 11th and award announcements will be made on Friday, December 2nd. If selected you must be able to provide a social security number or employer tax ID number.

Please contact Tori Kuykendall at [email protected]  and Gavin Todd at [email protected] with additional questions. 

Mission of the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area:

The mission of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is to protect and enhance, on a sustainable basis, one of the world’s last remaining examples of a Mediterranean ecosystem and to maintain the area’s unique natural, cultural and scenic resources, unimpaired for future generations. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is to provide an inter-linking system of parklands and open spaces that offer compatible recreation and education opportunities that are accessible to a diverse public. This is accomplished by an innovative federal, state, local, and private partnership that enhances the region’s quality of life and provides a model for other parks challenged by urbanization.

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