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 Nina Elder, 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 June of the following year. Summer months are reserved for partnered residencies and special initiatives.

How long are residencies?
Residencies last from one month up to three continuous months. 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 be super 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. The fees are based on how many rooms you might need. If there are 2 of you, and you do not mind sharing an apartment, your fee will be discounted to $1500 per month. If there are 8 of you, and you each need a separate room, the fee will be $1000 per month, per person. That said, we will arrange studio spaces so that collaborative teams will have one studio.



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 Legoretta, includes gallery and exhibition spaces, sky lit studio, contemporary art library, outdoor spaces and courtyards, laundry facilities, and communal kitchen, as well as dining and living room areas. Each resident receives a fully furnished private apartment with a private bath and garden entrance. Additionally, 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.

I want to apply but I cannot afford to pay $1000 per month. What should I do?
Apply. SFAI offers limited financial aid. If you are selected for a residency, you may request assistance by submitting a letter of need and documentation of income. Also, many SFAI residents are successful in writing grants as well as crowd sourcing funding. If accepted to a residency, you may request a letter of support to assist you in finding additional funding.

What is the Family Residency Initiative? How do I apply?
This initiative is possible through the support of the Sustainable Arts Foundation and allows artists to bring their children and/or family member to SFAI at no additional expense. Usually, 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.



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. It happens 3 times a year. It is a dynamic night of very short presentations both by SFAI residents and extraordinary community members. It 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!

Promotions & Social Media
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. Even though we do not exhibit resident work, 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.

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.

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 University and SFAI residents?
Although SFAI is not affiliated with the University, they generously offer SFAI residents free access to their gym, library, and discounts at their movie theater and cafeteria. The Santa Fe University of Art and Design (SFUAD) allows residents to use their ink jet printers for the cost of ink plus a small lab fee. If you are interested in doing studio visits or interacting with students, please let Nina know.

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 with in walking distance.

Does SFAI have any tools that I can use?
SFAI can loan you the basics, such as hammers, straight edges, and screwdrivers. We have a full facility use agreement with the Institute for American Indian Arts (IAIA). There, residents have access to 3-D printers, ceramics studio, a foundry, world-class digital facilities, digital and film processing, among other fabulous facilities. Additionally, 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. If you plan on bringing your service animal, you will be asked to provide certification documentation.

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 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?
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, 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.