Residency FAQ

Potential applicants often have a wide variety of questions about Santa Fe Art Institute’s residency program, residency fees, how we structure our public programs, travel, and the facilities. Here we have listed many of the frequently asked questions and answers. If you seek further information, please contact our Residency Program Manager at


Why does SFAI focus on themes?

SFAI implements yearlong thematic programming that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse regional and global communities. By hosting residencies for creative practitioners, fostering partnerships with cultural and educational organizations, and integrating social entrepreneurial and education initiatives, SFAI aspires to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change that reflects the greatest needs of our times.

How long does the theme last?

Residency themes span from September through July of the following year. August is reserved for partnered residencies and special initiatives. There are no residencies the month of December.

How long are residencies?

Residencies vary from one month to three months. We have found that two to three month residencies result in greater impact for residents. Residencies are not available during the month of December. The thematic residency runs from September through July. Because of the differing duration and overlaps, residents are exposed to diverse groups and create unique connections from month to month.

My current work does not relate to the theme. Can I still apply?

Yes! If you feel compelled, inspired, or have an idea that relates to the theme, you are encouraged to apply. A residency at SFAI is a great opportunity to explore new territory, find new focus, and engage with other creative people with similar interests.

I am not a visual artist. Can I still apply?

Yes! We seek applications from community activists, architects, designers, educators, studio artists, computer programmers, poets, filmmakers, philosophers, dancers, curators, policy makers, and playwrights! While we do not have specific facilities for each of these diverse practices, we can help you find the right situation to make your residency at SFAI productive. Applications may take the form of project proposals, and are accepted from individuals as well as collaborative teams.

What do you mean by “community interaction?”

SFAI aspires to cultivate creative practices, engage with diverse communities, and address some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Residents are introduced to our community partners based on the scope of their projects and identified needs within our region. Some artists work with students, others create public programs that SFAI hosts, while others create entirely new projects based on the research and resources that they encounter while in Santa Fe.

I am part of a collective. Can we apply?

SFAI is unique in that we encourage collectives to apply! You only need to fill out a singular application. Studio space will be considered based on the scale of the collaborative team and the group needs.



What does the $1000 per month cover?

Artists selected for a residency receive living and working space at SFAI, which is centrally located within Santa Fe’s vibrant and diverse cultural community. SFAI’s facility, a nearly 17,000 square foot complex designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, includes gallery and exhibition spaces, sky lit studios, a contemporary art library, outdoor spaces and courtyards, laundry facilities, and a communal kitchen, dining and living room area. Each resident receives a fully furnished private apartment with a private bath and garden entrance. Each resident is given a semi-private studio space as well as access to a very large collaborative studio. There is wireless Internet throughout the building.

Does SFAI provide food? Do I have to cook?

SFAI provides basics for residents to share. This usually includes: eggs, milk, half & half, butter, cheese, bread, cereal, flour, spices, coffee, tea, olive oil, jelly/jam, and peanut butter. Residents prepare their own meals and provide their own supplemental food.

Does SFAI offer stipends? Travel support? Production budgets?

At this time, SFAI does not offer funding beyond our fellowships. However, there are specific residency initiatives made possible through partnerships with various national and international organizations. Please see for a comprehensive list of these opportunities.


What is the Family Residency Initiative? How do I apply?

In the month of July, 2017, this initiative allows artists with children to participate in the thematic residency at SFAI. In addition to the $1000 per month residency fee, and if the family needs additional living space, there is a $500 fee for a second room. Families are hosted during the month of July. To apply, please fill out the thematic residency application, and check the box labeled Family Residency Initiative in step 14. For more information, visit the Family Residency Initiative Page.


Who are the jurors? Will they give me feedback on my application?
The selection committee is comprised of successful artists, content experts, writers, community stakeholders and other creative professionals from Santa Fe and around the world. Jurors are invited to the jury on the basis of their experience, connection to the thematic content, and thought leadership. They are given a small stipend for their participation. Jurors are not able to provide feedback on applications; however, SFAI staff may be able to provide feedback on a limited basis.

Each competitive selection process for residencies at SFAI is primarily based on the applicant’s ability to creatively and critically engage with the theme of the annual residency, or requirements of each particular fellowship or special initiative for which they are applying. The selection focuses on the experience of the artist, the quality of their past work, and their potential to sustain productive residency at SFAI.


What kinds of public events happen at SFAI?

SFAI is a very vibrant place. During your residency it is quite possible that groups of students or other public groups will be in the facility. We often host classes from one of the local universities, with whom you might be asked to participate. We sometimes host artist talks, lectures, round table conversations, workshops, exhibitions, and community events. Notices and fliers for special programs will be posted on the bulletin board in the kitchen, as well as notification through email.

What is SFAI 140?

SFAI 140 is our signature event and happens 3 times a year. It is a dynamic night of very short presentations both by SFAI residents and extraordinary community members. If you are in residence during the months of March, July, and November, SFAI 140 is a great opportunity to meet people who are doing amazing things in Santa Fe, and for residents to show the amazing work they produce while they are here!


Will SFAI give me a show? Will you introduce me to curators? Will you make me famous?

We work hard to make sure that you have a great experience while at SFAI, but we do not guarantee any level of exposure. SFAI encourages residents to interact with the vibrant museum and gallery scene in Santa Fe, and will let you know about the myriad of cultural events that are going on. Curators and gallerists attend many of our events, and you are urged to make your own connections with them.

Will SFAI promote my work?

SFAI uses a cross platform strategy to promote its programs & residents. This strategy focuses upon Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, monthly newsletters, and Vimeo/YouTube. It is designed to grow a resident’s online presence. SFAI’s strategy, for example, includes periodic features on residents & alumni across platforms. SFAI is also building an online platform for residents and alumni to continue to feature their work and build their network.

In order to benefit from this promotion, residents should follow us on:


Twitter @SFAI



The more contact a resident has with SFAI on social media, the more SFAI will be able to promote the resident. Residents are highly encouraged to post on the SFAI wall, tweet at SFAI, use SFAI hashtags (#SFAI, #SANTAFEARTINSTITUTE, etc.) and to share/retweet SFAI content. Suitable resident postings include current work, upcoming shows, articles on work, artist websites etc.

How can I keep up to date with SFAI?

SFAI keeps up to date information on its website, and is active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Vimeo/YouTube. In conjunction with social media, SFAI uses e-newsletters to share stories & current events. Residents can connect and keep up with SFAI using the above links and signing up for our newsletter at

Do I have to donate a piece of art? Do I have to give a talk?

No you do not. We only ask that you participate fully in the life of SFAI. This means participating in planned residency activities and engaging with our community as much as you are able. If you happen to be here during an SFAI 140, we will be thrilled to showcase you during this dynamic public event.


Where is SFAI located?

We are located on the campus of the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD), in the urban center of Santa Fe. SFAI is a few miles from the historic plaza, the mountains, and Museum Hill.

Does SFAI meet ADA requirements for accessibility?

SFAI’s facility meets all ADA requirements, with complete accessibility for wheelchairs from parking spaces, to studio and living spaces. Two resident rooms are equipped with fully accessible bathrooms, and since SFAI’s complex is one level, there are no stairs or barriers. All signage is presented in large clear type and in Braille.

How do I get to SFAI?

Many people like to drive here so they can bring materials and also explore the region. If you choose to fly, the main airport for the entire state of New Mexico is in Albuquerque, and there is a smaller regional airport in Santa Fe. You may arrange for a shuttle that will bring you from either airport to SFAI’s front door. SFAI does not provide transportation.

What is the relationship between the Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) and SFAI residents?

Although SFAI is not affiliated with SFUAD.

What other local partnerships or resources are available to residents?

SFAI maintains many local and regional partnerships to help provide residents a meaningful experience, and to provide the local community with access to our innovative programming and talented artists. Some partnerships are based in the current theme, some are advocacy and educational partners, and others are based in the artistic and museum community. SFAI recommends that, if you plan to conduct local outreach as part of your work during your residency, please contact the Residency Program Manager before your arrival.

Due to the generosity of the local community, SFAI is pleased to offer residents discounted entry to residents for many local museums, exhibits, and theaters. The Residency Program Manager will provide more information during your orientation, upon arrival.

Does SFAI provide art materials or supplies?

SFAI does not provide materials or supplies. We have arranged for all residents to receive a 10% discount at Artisan’s, an art supply store that is within walking distance.

Does SFAI have any tools that I can use?

SFAI has basic tools, such as hammers, straight edges, and screwdrivers. The Habitat for Humanity Restore loans a wide variety of power tools and hand tools for use at SFAI.

Can I bring my pet?

SFAI only allows certified service animals in accordance with the ADA.

Can I travel during my residency?

You may come and go as you please, but please note that leaving during your residency does not extend your overall residency dates.

If I only stay for a month can I come back next year for another month?

Many residents have such a positive experience that they want to return to SFAI. Our themes often have strong conceptual links from year to year, and we definitely encourage alumni to return! All residents must formally reapply if they want to return. In the rare case that there is an opening in the schedule, we might offer that to a previous resident who desires to return to complete a project.

Can I have visitors?

Yes! Please feel free to invite people to visit SFAI and your studio between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm, Monday through Friday. You may have an overnight guest in your room for a maximum of 3 nights at a cost of $25 per night. If rooms are available, guests may stay in a separate room for $75 per night. Residents are responsible for their visitors’ adherence to all regulations. Please approve all overnight guests ahead of time with Residency Program Manager.

Are there any grocery stores within walking distance?

Yes. Smith’s, a general grocery store, is located next to SFAI. Health and specialty food stores including Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s are located near the center of town. These stores are conveniently located on bus routes accessible from SFAI.

Do I have to clean up after myself?

Yes. Communal living is both a blessing and curse, and cleanliness keeps everyone happy and healthy. There is a cleaning service, but only for public spaces. Residents are expected to keep the kitchen clean, wash their own dishes, and make the gallery available and presentable for public events. There are laundry facilities on site, and SFAI provides cleaning supplies.

I don’t have a car. What do I do?

That will not be a problem. There are plenty of public transportation options. SFAI also has a few vehicles available to our residents. You may borrow a car if you have a current U.S. driver’s license that is in good standing. A driving test will be administered and a waiver must be signed before vehicles can be checked out. There is a $30 per month driving fee.

Are there any restrictions with the SFAI cars?

Cars are available for local, in-town day trips only. Residents may only check out a car for three hours at a time, and must replenish all the gas they use each time they take a car out. Any traffic infractions will result in driving privileges being revoked.

Can I drive an SFAI car using an international license?

Unfortunately, due to insurance restrictions, cars are only available for drivers with a current U.S. license.

Are there bicycles that I can use?

Yes, SFAI has several bicycles and locks available for daily use. Bikes can be signed out on a daily basis.

What about public transportation?

There are many buses in Santa Fe, and several of them have lines that pass right by SFAI. There are bus schedules available online.