Call Detail
2022 Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence - Auburn, WA

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Entry Deadline: 10/28/21
Application Closed
Work Sample Requirements
Images | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 15
Video | Minimum:Min. 0, Maximum:Max. 2
Total Samples | Minimum:Min. 5, Maximum:Max. 15
Call Type: Residencies
Eligibility: Regional
State: Washington
Budget: $3,500

The Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence program offers an annual opportunity for an artist to pursue their work in, and to be inspired by, the unique and beautiful setting of the Mary Olson Farm in Auburn, Washington. The residency lasts approximately two months during the months of June and July.

The residency will provide:

  • A $3,500 stipend (funds can be used at will towards art supplies, transportation, meals, etc.)
  • A large historic  barn “studio space,” approximately 450 sq. ft., on an historic 67-acre property (accommodations not provided)
  • Opportunities to tour and learn about the property and the other six historic buildings,  as well as Auburn’s history as shared by the White River Valley Museum
  • An exhibition opportunity, reception and well-publicized artist talk in the City of Auburn

Expectations of the selected artist include:

  • A minimum of ten hours per week times eight weeks, creating work on-site at the Mary Olson Farm “studio space”
  • Two “open-studio” weekend afternoons for the public to view works in progress and talk with the artist (dates TBD between selected artist and city staff)
  • One free artist-led workshop demonstrating techniques or inspiration to the public
  • Participation in a final artist talk/presentation, reception and exhibition
  • Artists provide their own art supplies, and transportation to and from Mary Olson Farm in Auburn, Washington


  • Individual artists or artist team currently residing in the Pacific Northwest working in two and three-dimensional media, including but not limited to: drawing, painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, installation, woodworking, printmaking, etc.
  • Other than individual artists, collaborative projects will also be considered

The review process will be competitive and the selection process will be made by a jury including: the City of Auburn Arts Coordinator, the Mary Olson Farm and White River Valley Museum Director, at least one other City of Auburn staff person and a panel of local artists or arts professionals.

All applicants will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Artistic excellence as demonstrated in work samples
  • Artist’s residency proposal: strength, creativity and originality in concept, material implementation, and engagement with the site as described in proposal
  • Feasibility of artist’s ability to create innovative work during the residency, participate actively in all expected open studio days, artist talks, public workshop, final exhibition, etc.

Applicants should use the residency proposal to provide the selection committee with a comprehensive idea of the planned project, how it will draw inspiration from the Mary Olson Farm or surrounding natural landscape, and why the proposed project should be the one chosen. To get an idea of what kind of experience you can expect at the Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence, we welcome interested artists to make appointments to come visit the farm and meet with the City of Auburn staff.

Phase One

  • Submit application by deadline at 10:59 PM Pacific Time on October 28, 2021 DEADLINE EXTENDED
  • Applications will be reviewed by the jury and finalists will be selected
  • Finalists notified of results by November 5, 2021. Finalists move on to phase two.

Phase Two

  • Finalists will be invited to interview with jury and city staff on November 10, 2021 between 1-4 pm to discuss proposed project in more depth (so please plan ahead to be available)
  • Final selection and artist notifications by November 5, 2021

Phase Three

  • Selected artist receives contract, and coordinates dates of residency events/workshops
  • Artist participates in residency in June and July of 2022 (including two open weekend studio afternoons and a free public workshop)
  • A final art exhibition, reception and artist talk/presentation will be scheduled for a later date TBD by artist and City staff

Alford Olson, a Swedish immigrant, purchased the property in 1879. Throughout its existence, the farm has diversified its activities, but it has always essentially operated as a subsistence farm. In its early days it was a source of timber and hops. After hops declined in value, the Olson family moved into raising cows for dairy and veal, poultry and egg farming, apple harvesting, and potato farming. Mary wove rag rugs and her son Alfred took up hunting and sold pelts and bartered apples and veal.

In the 1970's the farm was rented out to various tenants and some renovations were begun on the buildings, but never completed. In 1994, after many years of vacancy and deteriorations, the City of Auburn purchased the 67 acre farm. After several years of planning and fundraising, restoration work began on the major buildings, as well as projects surrounding the restoration on Olson Creek and reclaiming the pastures from years of neglect and invasion by Himalayan blackberries. The final restoration projects were finished in 2011 and the Mary Olson Farm opened that summer for the first time to the general public.

Today, visitors can tour inside the restored 1897 barn, pause and consider what life was like on a rural farm in the 1902 farmhouse, or wander through the century-old orchard and learn about the many varieties of apples and cherries Alfred Olson cultivated. Other restored and preserved structures on the property include a garage, weaving shed, chicken coop, outhouse, smokehouse, and 19th century wagon road.

Amenities available for use in the barn artist “studio space” include: large indoor works space complete with electrical outlets and lights, water available from an exterior hot and cold sink or hose, Sanican bathroom onsite, and tables and chairs available for artist’s use. More information about the Mary Olson Farm can be found at:


  • Sign agreement with the City of Auburn about residency plans, expectations and guidelines.
  • Leave the space in the same or better condition as when they moved in. The farm is on the National Register of Historic Places and as such absolutely NO changes can be made to the buildings, gardens or landscape.
  • Understand that the initial $2,000 portion stipend payment is made at the beginning of the residency, and that payments cannot be made until contracts have been fully processed. The remaining $1,500 will be retained until all of the expected residency requirements are completed.
  • Understand that the artwork displayed must be appropriate for the public realm.
  • Install and de-install your own work in a professional fashion for the final exhibition.
  • Partner with the City of Auburn to market and promote the exhibition. Exhibits are publicized through city-generated press releases, printed materials, social media, and the City’s web site at
  • Artists are welcome to offer their works for sale, but are not required to do so. All sales are handled privately between the artist and the buyer. The City of Auburn does not take a commission on any works sold through the galleries or residency program.
  • The artist agrees to make available their photos taken of the farm during the residency, for use by the City of Auburn and the White River Valley Museum to promote the program.
  • The selected artist must agree to participate in the entire residency program including all events, the final exhibition, etc. No exceptions.
  • Artists are welcome to have visitors during the residency, but must notify the farm caretaker of planned visitors and receive advance permission.
  • Comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • No pets or children are allowed.

Allison Hyde
City of Auburn Arts Coordinator 

Application Requirements



5-15 digital images that demonstrate the artist’s past work (required)
Artists applying as a team who have no examples of joint work in the past should submit 3-5 images of each artist’s work. Individual artists are advised to submit 10 images.

  • File Format: Submit according to CaFE requirements with the highest resolution allowed.
  • File Labeling: Files must be titled with the applicant’s last name followed by a number indicating the viewing order. Use a “0” in front of single digit numbers and use only letters, numbers, and underscores. For example: Smith_01.jpg; Smith_02.jpg. If using Mac OS 8 or later, be sure to include a “.jpg” extension at the end of each image title.

3 online videos that demonstrate the artist’s past work (optional)
Please provide the exact web address(es) where the online videos can be viewed. The panel will view a minimum of 1 minute and a maximum of 3 minutes of each video.

Provide the following information on the online application upload for each image:

  • Title of each work represented in the image
  • Media & dimensions (H x W x D)
  • Description if needed. If work is presented as part of a collaboration, explain your role in the larger project
  • For videos longer than 3 minutes, note what 1-3 minute segment you want reviewed

Please write a statement outlining the work you would like to create or display if selected for the Mary Olson Farm Artist in Residence opportunity. We encourage proposals crafted from inspiration provided by the farm and its history. The proposal should briefly outline the materials, concept, any necessary technical installation details or plans of how to hang/display your work. 

  • Upload as a PDF
  • 500 words/3000 characters or less
  • Name your residency proposal file as follows: “Last Name_ Residency Proposal.pdf”

Provide us with a brief artist statement to give us a sense of your work, inspiration, materials or techniques. Feel free to describe your work overall, or describe a past project or body of work.

  • Upload as a PDF
  • 500 words/3000 characters or less
  • Name your artist statement file as follows: “Last Name_ Artist Statement.pdf”

Provide information which may include: education, exhibition record, awards, residencies, visiting artist lectures, relevant work experience or training, publications, etc. If submitting as a group, a current resume should be submitted for the contact person and all group members.

  • Upload as a PDF
  • 3 pages or less
  • Name your resume file as follows: “Last Name_ Resume.pdf”

Eligibility Criteria


  • Individual artists or artist team currently residing in the Pacific Northwest working in two and three-dimensional media, including but not limited to: drawing, painting, photography, textiles, sculpture, installation, woodworking, printmaking, etc.
  • Other than individual artists, collaborative projects will also be considered