Call Detail
2024 Wrangell Mountains Center Residency—McCarthy, Alaska

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Entry Deadline: 2/12/24
Application Closed

Entry Fee (Entry Fee): $25.00
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 10
Audio | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 3
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 3
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 10
Call Type: Residencies
Eligibility: International
State: Alaska

The Wrangell Mountains Center (WMC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is connecting people with wildlands through art, science, and education in Alaska. The Wrangell Mountains Residency Program aims to support visual artists of all genres, performers, and writers. Artists from the global majority, who are underrepresented, marginalized, Alaska Natives, etc. are especially encouraged to apply. The residency will provide unrestricted work time and space to focused individuals. We invite applicants from a diversity of backgrounds with creative and inquisitive minds who will both add to and benefit from the interdisciplinary efforts at our campus in McCarthy, Alaska and the surrounding Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve. Please consider how you might engage with the local ecology, community, or history before applying.

This experience uniquely combines rugged Alaskan small town life, off-the-grid experiences, and access to one of the most dynamic natural landscapes in North America. Positioned near ice-capped mountains, the roaring Kennicott River and McCarthy Creek, and the raw terminus of the Kennicott Glacier, the local landscape is an outdoor laboratory for study in ecology, glaciology, and geology. Located in downtown McCarthy, residents can have the opportunity to experience solitude and quiet and/or to be a part of the vibrant social scene. The town of McCarthy was established during the copper mining period in the early 20th century. Many historic sites and buildings in McCarthy and Kennecott combine to make the area a rich cultural environment, hosting vibrant communities full of character and dynamic narratives. It is a great place for contemplation, creative endeavor, and community engagement.

Currently on the National Register of Historic Places, the WMC campus includes the Old Hardware Store that was built in1911 as a town general mercantile, and abandoned in 1938 with closure of the copper mine. In the 1980s, the historic space was converted into an active educational center for place-based learning and understanding. The campus also includes an adjacent homestead property, Porphyry Place, which houses programming and models off-the-grid technologies and practices. All facilities at the WMC campus are designed to effectively support a learning community. Residency participants will have the opportunity to experience and to contribute to this sustainable living system.

We plan to host four residents during two two-week periods in the summer (June 5-19 and July 30-August 13). Teams of two artists are welcome to apply and will be awarded two of the four residency slots. The WMC will provide room and board as well as a simple workspace for the resident, and can help to coordinate transportation between McCarthy and Anchorage (often via carpooling). The resident is responsible for travel to and from Alaska (if out of state). There is no stipend available at this time. During the two-week time period at the WMC, the artist will be asked to share their experience with the public by demonstration, talk, reading, performance, workshop, or other means. The presentation will depend on the resident’s interests, medium, and experience in collaboration with WMC staff.

Program Goals:

  • To provide opportunity to grow creative practice through unique natural and scientific inspiration
  • Facilitate a personal experience with the dramatic landscape and sense of place
  • Foster meaningful connections and educational opportunities with the WMC
  • Create opportunities for collaboration between Residents and the local community
  • Promote professional and personal relationships between Residents

Program Dates:

We plan to host four residencies during the following dates in 2024 with two residents for each time slot:

  • June 5 -19
  • July 30 - August 13


Each resident will be provided with a furnished live/work space. These spaces are rustic but sufficiently equipped to provide basic comforts, a productive space, and privacy as well as the opportunity for immersion in the natural world and the human community. Residents will have access to common areas on campus and a fully stocked kitchen supplemented by several staff-prepared simple, healthy, vegetarian meals inspired by our garden and shared communally with WMC staff, students, and visitors.

Our remote location limits the ability of visitors to obtain many goods and services in the area. There is a small community market with a limited selection of fresh food, dry goods, and camping gear can be purchased. Participants should come prepared with all the necessary research materials and art supplies since they are not available for purchase locally. Please communicate specific needs for the residency period to ensure enjoyment and productivity. Limited wi-fi internet is available (but not reliable!) and the ability to charge electronic devices is dictated by solar power availability.

McCarthy is a welcoming, beautiful place without urban amenities. The Wrangell Mountains Center provides as much comfort as possible. Access to basic showers, drinking water, firewood, outhouses (no flush toilets), and solar energy will be covered through a campus orientation provided by staff. Please contact us in advance if you have questions.


The Wrangell Mountains Center is located in downtown McCarthy, AK approximately 300 miles east of Anchorage. McCarthy is at the end of a 60-mile long dirt road only open during the summer months that leads to the middle of the nation’s largest national park. While the 2020 census shows 107 year-round residents, the summer population swells to a few hundred seasonal residents. McCarthy has no electrical grid and vehicle traffic is limited because the only access to the town is over private vehicle bridge and a public footbridge across the Kennicott River. Temperatures climb as high as 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-summer and drop as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-winter.

Locals and supporters often spend time at the WMC throughout the summer and are great resources for human and natural history of the area. There are opportunities to go flightseeing with a local flight service, which is one of the best ways to see Wrangell-St. Elias National Park’s massive glaciers, jagged peaks, and otherwise road-less landscape. The National Park Service continues to restore historic buildings from the mining era in Kennecott and has interpretive exhibits and rangers that teach visitors about local history. Opportunities for hiking from McCarthy and Kennecott take you onto glaciers, up high mountain passes, and to remains of the original copper mines from the early 1900s. Wrangell-St. Elias National Park is unlike any other national park in the lower 48 states.

Selection Process:

Artists will be selected by the following components:

  • Artistic merit
  • Importance of the Wrangell-St. Elias/McCarthy experience to the artist’s work
  • Need or benefit to artist
  • The artist's proposed plan to engage with the community, e.g., workshop or performance
  • Feasibility of plan and ideas
  • Diversity of backgrounds and disciplines represented in the program overall

We plan to make selections by mid-March, 2023

Application Requirements

To apply please be prepared to submit the following:

  • Artist Statement (1000 character limit)
  • Please upload your resume or CV (limit your resume to 1-2 pages). We are curious about your professional experience and encourage emerging artists as well as established and mid-career artists to apply.
  • Why is this residency important to you? What do you hope to accomplish during your 2 weeks at the Wrangell Mountains Center? (2000 character limit)
  • One goal of our residency program is for artists and writers to share their work with our community? Examples of such outreach include giving a slide lecture, teaching a short workshop, and/ or having a public performance or exhibit. Are you comfortable sharing your work in a public setting? Explain what you propose to do to give back to the Wrangell–St. Elias and our community during or after your residency. We recognize that these plans may change and develop leading up to and during the course of a residency. (2000 character limit)
  • Tell us about your workspace needs. (1000 character limit)
  • Our setting is very primitive with limited water and electricity. We operate off the grid with a communal approach to sharing resources. Tell us about your experience living and working in remote locations and your comfort level with this challenge. (1000 character limit)
  • Optional response: Artists from the global majority, who are underrepresented, marginalized, Alaska Natives, etc. are especially encouraged to apply. Do you identify with any of these groups of people?
  • Optional response: Is there anything else about your background or practice that you feel is important for us to know?
  • Work samples: Please submit the following based on your area of focus. Visual Artists: 6-10 images of your work (see specifications below). Performance, video, dance, and music artists: please submit links to samples of your work online (for example on Vimeo, YouTube, or a personal webpage or blog). Please keep the time to about 15 minutes. Writers: upload up to 10 pages.

Eligibility Criteria

We invite artists and writers of all genres and stages in their careers to apply for two-week residencies at our campus in McCarthy, Alaska during the summer 2024. Artists from the global majority, who are underrepresented, marginalized, Alaska Natives, etc. are especially encouraged to apply.