Residency Information

General Information

SFAI sponsors more than 80 residencies and fellowships per year for creative practitioners from all over the world, and offers visionary, social justice theme-focused programming that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse regional and global communities. Our award-winning facility and dedicated staff support our residents alongside other innovative institutional programming.

SFAI’s international thematic residency continues to expand to serve the needs of artists, writers, performers, designers, architects, and skilled professionals of many different fields, such as planning, policy, education, science, health, law, and activism, in the support of inspired interdisciplinary thinking and creative risk taking. By hosting residencies for creative practitioners, fostering partnerships with social, cultural and educational organizations, and integrating artistic experimentation, scholarship, and community engagement, SFAI cultivates collaborative research and works that transcend the limits of traditional disciplines. Together, our residents, fellows, community partners and staff boldly strive to create new forms, narratives, and approaches that address the central issues of our times, and to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change.

SFAI also hosts prestigious local, national, and international fellowships with foundation and governmental partners including the Ford Foundation, HARPO Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts, Taiwan Ministry of Culture, and Greece Fulbright Commission.



Our residency program is housed in a distinctive, all-inclusive 17,000 square foot facility designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legoretta. National and International residents live on-site in a fully-furnished individual room with private bath and exterior patio. Each resident is also provided a semi-private studio along with access to communal work areas and a collaborative research space that serves as the annual thematic headquarters and archive. All residents share a kitchen, dining room, lounge, laundry facilities, and contemporary art library, and there is wireless internet throughout the building. The overall physical layout of the residency spaces encourages daily interaction and fosters collaboration among residents.

SFAI does not offer any specialized facilities, but does provide basic tools, ample work areas, and a free, limited membership to MAKE Santa Fe to all residents for the duration of their residency.

See pictures and read more about our facilities here.


Residency Duration & Schedule

The international thematic residency program year spans two calendar years, beginning in September and continuing through the following August.

Individual and collaborative (i.e., two-person) residencies vary in duration from one month to three months. We have found that two to three month-long residencies result in greater impact for residents, especially those starting new projects and/or working closely with local community partners.

SFAI also hosts up to four large collectives of 10 or more members for one and two week periods during select months within the thematic residency year. All collectives must apply for and be accepted into the thematic residency program.

Each residency month begins on a Monday and ends on a Friday unless these dates need to shift in order to observe  a national holiday.

The month of July is reserved expressly for our Family Residency, which provides living and working space for parent-artists, their spouses/partners, and children.  All parent-artists interested in attending the Family Residency must apply for and be accepted into the thematic residency program.

Residencies are not available during the month of December.



Must be 25 years of age or older.

Open to all artistic disciplines (visual arts, writing, performance, new media, etc.) and other creative practices including, but not limited to, curation, design, architecture, education, humanities, social sciences, law, medicine, and science. We strongly encourage applicants with interdisciplinary and non-traditional creative practices.

SFAI welcomes local, national, and international applicants. Please note that SFAI cannot provide visa support to residents beyond a letter of acceptance.

We accept applications from individuals, collaborations (2 people), and collectives (3 to 12 people).


Residency Structure

SFAI offers a semi-structured residency program so that residents can initiate, continue, and/or complete creative work that expands and enriches their professional practice.  This means, we provide a level of access to and support from staff and community partners, as well as nurture critical engagement with the annual theme and a carefully curated cohort, however, residents are expected to be largely self-directed.

Aside from a few required activities listed below, residents are free to spend their time at SFAI as they see fit, be it making in their studios, quietly contemplating in their rooms, reading in our library, self-organizing studio visits or discussion groups with their fellow residents, out in the field exploring New Mexico while researching and/or gathering materials, interfacing with our diverse community, visiting local museums, or attending one of the many cultural events unique to Santa Fe.

Project proposals give structure to a resident’s time at SFAI; a focused way in which to engage the annual theme and facilitate community engagement with established partners. However, SFAI realizes that the creative process is not linear and is often influenced by the resident’s experiences with the people and places of northern New Mexico once here, as well as their conversations with their cohort and SFAI staff around the residency theme. Therefore, we do not require a finished project, nor do we expect that residents follow their project proposals exactly as they were outlined in their application.

  • Please note that SFAI is not responsible for facilitating professional connections on the behalf of residents (i.e., introducing you to curators, establishing connections with galleries, getting you in the press, hosting an exhibition of your work).



  • Residents are expected to be present for the duration of their scheduled residency with the exception of short day or overnight trips, medical and family emergencies, or other pertinent events.
  • All residents are required to participate in a group orientation at the beginning of their residency and an exit interview at the end of their residency.
  • All residents are also expected to participate in a monthly 2-hour Resident Showcase wherein SFAI staff, board members and the residency cohort can become familiar with the work of each resident through brief presentations.
  • Participation in SFAI 140 is requested of all residents present at the time of the event, which takes place three times a year, typically on the third Friday, in March, July, and November. For more information about SFAI 140 and videos of past presenters, please visit our website and Vimeo page.
  • All residents are required to submit digital materials/content for our online Resident Archive and thematic residency publication prior to or within one month of their departure. These materials can vary in format from still images to video and writing. You can embed image and video files as well as PDF documents in your page and provide external links to your personal website, social media accounts, Vimeo page, etc.  These materials can be a combination of documentation of the work you produced while in residency at SFAI and projects recently completed outside SFAI. This documentation may also be used in other SFAI marketing materials, including periodic social media posts and monthly newsletters.


Applications & Deadlines

Applications for the international thematic residency program are accepted once annually and only online through our SlideRoom portal. SFAI does not accept residency applications by email, post, or fax.

SFAI typically announces the annual theme and open call for applications in early October with the deadline to submit in early February. These dates are subject to change. The best way to stay informed about opportunities and deadlines is to sign up for our Newsletter.

Check our Fellowship Page for other application deadlines and procedures.



The competitive selection process for our residency program at SFAI is primarily based on the applicant’s ability to creatively and critically engage with the annual residency theme, or the particular requirements of each fellowship for which they are applying.

The selection criteria for our international thematic residency program also focus on: the applicant’s personal and professional merit, including the applicant’s experience and the quality of their past work; the applicant’s capacity to grow through risk-taking new work and their ability to sustain a productive practice in a semi-structured environment; the applicant’s potential for professional development through access to a sponsored residency; and the creative excellence of the application along with the potential for the applicant’s proposed project to engage community and effect tangible, positive social change.

The selection committee changes each year and is comprised of esteemed artists, content experts, educators, community stakeholders and other creative professionals from Santa Fe and around the world, as well as SFAI’s diverse board and staff members.

The selection criteria and process for the Fellowships hosted at SFAI are typically established and administered by the foundations who sponsor them. Please refer to our Fellowship Page for links to these organizations’ websites.


Application & Residency Costs

SFAI charges a $35 application fee through SlideRoom. The fee goes towards the online software to support the application process, data storage, and juror stipends.

Upon acceptance to and before arrival at SFAI, a refundable $150 security deposit is required of all residents living and/or working in our facilities.

All travel costs and arrangements are the responsibility of the resident, as are materials and living expenses.

SFAI’s institutional costs for the international thematic residency program are roughly $4,000 per resident, per month. Beginning in September 2017, SFAI will subsidize these residency costs to broaden access to and diversify our program in our commitment to supporting individuals dedicated to positive social change through creativity.

If you or your organization would like to graciously donate to SFAI to directly sponsor an artist and help us continue to support our tuition-free social justice themed residency program for years to come, please contact SFAI at