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Santa Fe Art Institute : Equal Justice Residency

The Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) implements yearlong thematic programing that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse local and global communities. By hosting residencies for creative practitioners, fostering partnerships with cultural and educational organizations, and integrating social entrepreneurship incubators and design/build workshops, SFAI aspires to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change that reflects the greatest needs of our time.

SFAI is pleased to announce Equal Justice as its next residency and programmatic theme. SFAI believes deeply in the transformative power of art and design to provide creative solutions to complex problems. We are committed to employing the arts to promote greater equity, sustainability, and interconnectedness. We support artists, designers, and innovative thinkers who seek collective, creative action to bring awareness to the root causes of injustice and to drive systemic change.

Equal Justice at SFAI will explore and address systemic and structural issues of social inequity, both historically and in contemporary society. Equal Justice is often thought to be the basis of democratic society–yet as democracy has developed around the world, there are many governmental, societal, and trade barriers to equality such as segregation, racial profiling, gender discrimination, xenophobic policies, mass incarceration, and forced cultural assimilation. We ask, how can an exploration of true equal justice and democracy through the arts lead to an international dialogue?

SFAI conducts an annual, competitive selection process for residencies that is primarily based on the applicant’s ability to creatively and critically engage with the encompassing theme of the residency season for which they are applying. While seeking to cultivate creative practices, engage with diverse communities, and address pressing social issues, the selection focuses on the conceptual rigor of the applicant, their desire for community engagement, the quality of their past work, and their potential to sustain productive residency at SFAI. The selection committees are comprised of local stakeholders who are creatively invested in the annual theme, from artists to activists, policy makers and curators.

SFAI supports over 60 residents per year and offers an integrated environment that creates the ideal working conditions for residents to explore alternative models, narratives, projects, and interventions.

Beginning with the Equal Justice thematic year in Fall 2017, we will award up to 60 sponsored residencies to local, national, and international artists 25 years old and up of all disciplines as well as content experts across other fields of creative inquiry. Our hope is that the subsidization of residency fees will broaden accessibility to the residency experience and increase collective knowledge about the annual theme. We seek to increase collective knowledge about each annual theme by bringing together artists with other innovators in disciplines such as architecture, planning, policy, education, science, health, law, and activism. We strategically integrate artistic experimentation, scholarship, and community engagement through collaborative research and works that transcend the limits of traditional disciplines and create new forms, narratives, and approaches to address the central issues of our time.

The length of residencies varies from one month minimum to three months maximum. Residencies are not available during the month of December. Residency and program themes run from September through July.


Santa Fe, New Mexico: United States

Located in a stunning modern building designed by Spanish architect Ricardo Legorreta, the Santa Fe Art Institute and the city of Santa Fe provide a diverse, vibrant community. Santa Fe was the first city in the US to be designated as a member of the creative-cities network by UNESCO. SFAI residents have unprecedented access to some of the most diverse arts and cultural activities in the US. Widely known for a thriving gallery scene, virtually every weekend of the year residents can attend museum or gallery openings showcasing Santa Fe's considerable support for the traditional arts and visionary contemporary art. Santa Fe also provides a unique geography, with hikes, hot springs and a wealth of natural offerings for residents.


  • Residency Length: 1 month (min) to 3 months (max)
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 8-12
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 54
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 200


  • Application type: Open application
  • Collaboration: May apply as a team
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Application deadline: February 12
  • Application Ongoing: No
  • Additional deadline info:
    Finalists will be interviewed before acceptance into the program.

Past Residents & Quotes

At SFAI, I was so fortunate to be surrounded by artists from diverse backgrounds, working within a variety of genres and media. Being exposed to such wealth of work, ideas, and experiences made me pause, sometimes at length, and absorb as much as I could. My encounter with these amazing artists tapped on many abilities I never thought I had, or had the courage to manifest.
— Lida Nosrati
A residency at SFAI is an incredible opportunity for creativity, artistic production, and community engagement. Working with such an innovative institution allows for collaboration with diverse organizations, cultural practitioners, and a larger community to address critical issues. SFAI cultivates generative conversations, projects, and initiatives that have a local, national and international impact.
— Toni Gentilli, Residency Program Manager

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private bedroom in a shared housing facility
    Each residency includes a fully furnished, private room with full bath, communal kitchen, dining, and living room areas, laundry facilities, gallery / installation / event space, access to outdoor spaces and interior courtyards, a contemporary art library, basic foodstuffs, and bicycle access.
  • Meals: Residents make own meals/groceries provided
    We provide basic foodstuffs (such as, olive oil, bread, cereal, peanut butter jelly/jam, coffee and tea), however residents are responsible for all other groceries and preparing their own meals.
  • Computer/internet access: Computer and internet connection provided in common area (shared), Wireless Internet, Ethernet provided in living or studio area
  • Accessibility: housing/grounds/studios are accessible
    SFAI’s facility meets all ADA requirements with complete accessibility for wheelchairs to studio and living spaces. Two resident apartments are equipped with bathroom facilities for wheelchair access. The entire building has no stairs or barriers. All signage is presented in large clear type (English and Spanish).
  • Studios/special equipment: Exhibition / Installation
  • Additional studio information: 
    Residents are provided with a semi-private studio space, use of our library for writing and reading, as well as their own private rooms which are equipped with desks. We also have an outdoor workspace and an interior courtyard for working in a variety of media. We have a few basic tools available for resident use: hammers, screw gun/drill and bits, screwdrivers, misc. hardware, straight edges, self-healing cutting mat, guillotine paper cutter, level, tape measure, ladders, portable projector, and 42" monitor. Residents are responsible for providing all other tools, materials, and equipment necessary to their practice.
  • Other facilities and services: We have an agreement in place with MAKE Santa Fe that offers SFAI residents discounted access to their orientations/workshops and extensive facilities (e.g., woodshop, laser cutter, 3D printers). Residents also have free access to the library and gym as well as discounted access to the movie theater all on the adjoining University of Santa Fe Art and Design campus.

Residency Fees

Application fee - $35; Refundable security deposit - $150; no additional funding for travel, materials, or living expenses.

Stipends / other support

Each sponsored residency includes a fully furnished, private apartment and bath, communal kitchen, dining, and living room areas, laundry facilities, gallery / installation / event space, access to outdoor spaces and interior courtyards, a contemporary art library, basic foodstuffs, and bicycle access. SFAI subsidizes all the above at no cost to residents in our commitment to supporting individuals dedicated to positive social change through creativity.

Additional expectations / opportunities

There are no requirements on the work produced during residents' time at SFAI. Residents are expected to be present for the duration of their residency period with the exception of medical and family emergencies or other pertinent events. The unique SFAI environment allows residents to be as interactive or private as they wish. There are several opportunities to engage with other residents and/or the public while at SFAI in the different spaces available to residents. Spaces for resident use include the gallery, Lumpkins Studio, our lobby, and the library. All proposed activities could be just for residents, by invitation only, or open to the general public. Possible activities include, but are not limited to exhibitions (solo or group), performances, workshops, illustrated lectures, panel discussions, and installations. In 2017 we are launching a curated blog that residents may be asked to contribute content for. Additionally, we ask that all residents submit content for our online Alumni Archive including documentation of their work made while in residence at SFAI, which will also be included in an annual publication.

Contact Information

PO Box 24044
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502
United States
Tel: 505 424-5050