Thematic Residency

SFAI offers annual thematic residencies to artists and creative practitioners that are relevant first to the local Santa Fe and New Mexico communities — but that reverberate to national and global issues — and they are tuition-free. 

The Santa Fe Art Institute accepts applications once a year for our international thematic residency, applications open in early January and close in early April. This residency includes a 1-month family residency in July only, and April, August, and December are non-residency months. 

For more information, please visit the following:
Residency FAQ
Residency Eligibility
Residency Structure & Requirements


In 2013, we shifted our residency program to support those focused on social justice issues — by shedding light on existing information and issues, stirring the emotions, sharing diverse experiences, bringing people together in a more humanistic way, and imagining new forms to build a better world.

The annual residency theme provides common ground for diverse individuals working in various media and disciplines while honoring their differences in experience and perspective. The questions we pose around the theme in our annual open call for applications are intended to generate ideas along with additional lines of inquiry and creative interdisciplinary problem solving manifested in resident works. SFAI shares the output of our annual thematic inquiry through monthly blog posts and public programs that showcase the expertise and insights of our residents, staff, and community partners.

Over the past 4 years SFAI artists have investigated critical themes such as Equal Justice, Water RightsImmigration/ Emigration, and Food Justice, and September 2018 marks the launch of our latest theme, Truth & Reconciliation.

Our residency program has hosted over 1200 residents and continues to expand, including artists from all disciplines together with writers, performers, designers, architects, and skilled professionals of many different fields, such as planning, policy, education, science, health, law, and activism.

SFAI decided to eliminate tuition in 2017 and to sponsor residencies free of charge for the first time in our 30-year history. This decision was a direct response to a global rise in intolerance and division, and the need for institutions like SFAI to provide broader access to and engender social equity through the arts.

Starting in 2020, the residency theme will shift to align with the calendar year (rather than the academic year). The next theme will be announced in January 2019, and will begin in January 2020.