Artist-in-Residence at Indiana Dunes National Park by Bethann Wilson

This Saturday I leave for Indiana! I was accepted to another Artist-in-Residence Program at Indiana Dunes National Park on the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

Indiana Dunes is about 45 minutes from Chicago

Indiana Dunes is about 45 minutes from Chicago

A lot of people ask me about artist residencies since I have a couple under my belt now. What does it mean to be an Artist-in-Residence? Wikipedia sums it up pretty nicely. “Artist-in-residence programs exist to invite artists, academicians, and curators to reside within the premises of an institution. Some residency programs are incorporated within larger institutions, such as museums, universities, or galleries. Other organizations exist solely to support residential exchange programs.” There are all types of programs that range from ones that you have to pay for, ones that are free, and ones that offer a small stipend. Sometimes there is housing and sometimes there is not. Sometimes you are living with other artists and sometimes you are not…

Indiana Dunes National Park

Indiana Dunes National Park

Applying for a residency program involves a lot of research to find a program that is a good fit for you. Personally, I discovered that these types of programs existed through my husband who is an avid outdoorsmen and frequents state and national parks. He introduced me to a program at Baxter State Park which I applied to but was not accepted to. I hazarded applying to several other programs and was invited to be one of 4 Artists-in-Residence at Fire Island National Seashore in 2018. It was an incredible two weeks full of creativity, personal grown, and introspection. I came back refreshed and my art-making was reinvigorated. It was such a fantastic experience that I put out several more applications to find a residency experience for 2019. Indiana Dunes seemed like a really nice fit and I am super excited for this upcoming adventure.

The Indiana Dunes Artist-in-Residence program builds on the tradition of artist Frank Dudley, who first visited the Indiana Dunes over 100 years ago, and found his place painting the fragile and constantly evolving landscape and promoting and preserving the dunes.  The Artist-in-Residence (AIR) program at Indiana Dunes offers professional artists the opportunity to live in the park for two weeks to, like Dudley almost a century before, create art that helps generate appreciation and support for the National Park. In exchange, the artist provides a public program and donates a piece of art created during their stay.

This is the inside of the cabin where I will be staying

This is the inside of the cabin where I will be staying

Hello 2019! by Bethann Wilson

Hi Friends! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season! I was super busy with festivities (aren’t we all?) but also managed to create some new pieces, host 5 sold-out workshops at Night Owl Gallery, make a TV appearance on a local lifestyle show, and see my art on a 52 foot billboard!!

📷: Shawn McDermott  December 2018

Bmore Lifestyle November 2018  left to right: Christina Denny, Beth-Ann Wilson, Chardelle Moore

Bmore Lifestyle November 2018

left to right: Christina Denny, Beth-Ann Wilson, Chardelle Moore

Back from Fire Island by Bethann Wilson

#findyourpark  Me standing near the Watch Hill Campground on Fire Island

#findyourpark Me standing near the Watch Hill Campground on Fire Island

Boats Beneath a Cloudy Sky, 11” x 14”, oil on canvas

Boats Beneath a Cloudy Sky, 11” x 14”, oil on canvas

I’m back from Fire Island and still sorting through all of my photos and videos.

I can’t wait to share some of them with you! I have posted a couple of snippets on Instagram and Facebook but I am waiting to debut the paintings in person during October’s First Friday Art Walk in Highlandtown at Night Owl Gallery.

This was such an incredible experience where I learned a lot about myself and my creativity. I will definitely be applying what I have learned to my home-studio practice.

More soon!

-B

Fire Island Artist-in-Residence by Bethann Wilson

I am about to embark on my first artist residency!  I leave Monday.

"Light House" from my Scotland series, oil on canvas 2012 sold

"Light House" from my Scotland series, oil on canvas 2012 sold

The Fire Island National Seashore Artist-in-Residence Program honors the longstanding tradition of art in the national parks and on Fire Island by facilitating artists to create relevant place- and story-based work that brings a broader understanding of the unique elements that comprise Fire Island. The goals of this program are to provide creative and educational opportunities for artists of all disciplines to explore the qualities of the natural environment, culture, and/or history of Fire Island, and to support the mission of the NPS to promote the conservation and preservation of the park.
— National Park Service Website
Image Courtesy nps.gov

Image Courtesy nps.gov

The residency will be from September 1 - September 15.  My focus will be on painting to capture and interpret the changing weather and the affect it has on the landscape.  I'm so excited for this opportunity to focus on this next phase of art-making.  Two weeks of uninterrupted studio time at this point in my life I feel like I can accomplish a LOT.  I am hoping to have lots of new work to share upon completion of the residency.  I am also hoping to have time to write about the experience to be able to share that with anyone else considering doing something like this.  From talking to other folks in the artistic community, at least in Baltimore, a lot of individuals don't even know that these opportunities exist!

More information about the Artist-in-Residence Program at Fire Island National Seashore can be found at https://www.nps.gov/fiis/getinvolved/supportyourpark/artist-in-residence.htm.

Check back here for updates!