Mural by Miss Hazard, 2017
Announcing a new artist residency in Ajo, Arizona, where history, culture and the spectacular Sonoran Desert will inspire and inform your practice.
In 2018 the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center launched a new artist residency. This residency is open to emerging, mid-career and established artists, giving them the opportunity to step away from the day-to-day hustle and focus on a new or existing project in an inspiring setting. Ajo is a beautiful, quiet, little-known town in the heart of Arizona's Sonoran Desert, ideal for a period of creativity and experimentation, as well as exploration. Our community is full of artists of all kinds and embraces visiting artists from across the country and around the globe.
For Spring 2019, there is no prescribed theme or medium. We are focusing on visual and performing artists, and preference is given to Native and Latinx individuals to highlight the historic (and historically underrepresented) populations of this region. That said, artists of all backgrounds and cultures are encouraged to apply. Click here to read about our selected artists for Fall 2018 and Winter 2019!
The February 1st deadline for May 2019 residencies has now passed. We will be announcing the selected artists in March 2019 - stay tuned!
Features of the Sonoran Arts Residency include:
Peaceful Living Space
Visiting artists are given a kitchenette room at the Sonoran Desert Inn for the duration of their stay. Our rooms, all former elementary school classrooms, are comfortable, air conditioned, spacious, and full of light. The kitchenette, stocked with a coffeemaker (and locally roasted coffee), fridge, microwave, stove, pots, pans, and dishes, allows artists to easily prepare their own simple meals.
All rooms are on the ground level and open onto a lovely central courtyard, the centerpiece of which is an urban farm managed by our partners, the Ajo Center for Sustainable Agriculture. ADA-friendly rooms are available.
While other guests will be staying at the inn during the residency, we intentionally host artists-in-residence during our quiet months. Expect javelinas, bright night skies, and conversations with locals and travelers. Don't expect a courtyard full of people or a packed roster of events.
Focused Work Space
Visiting artists will also be provided, at no cost, a large, air conditioned classroom as their studio space. Classrooms are approximately 800 square feet and have five 8-foot windows, letting in lots of natural light. They are equipped with an artist sink; hi-speed WiFi; cabinets, closets and shelving for storage of supplies; and tables and chairs (which can be removed if not needed). Studios are ADA-friendly, with ADA-accessible restrooms nearby.
We have rehearsal and performance space available, as well as outdoor work spaces for artists wishing to work en plein air.
While we welcome visual and performing artists working in any medium to apply, there are some limitations to the work space and available equipment. See application for details.
The Sonoran Arts Residency is unique in that it provides time and space to explore Ajo and the surrounding region, and get to know the locals and fellow artists. It isn’t strictly a retreat-style residency, where you will work in isolation for days at a time - although by expanding it from 2 weeks in Fall 2018/Winter 2019 to 4 weeks in Spring 2019, visiting artists should be able to balance focused work time and community exploration.
We envision the residency as a chance for artists-in-residence to contribute to the growing arts community in Ajo, so will ask each visiting artist to participate in community activities to showcase their work. This generally takes shape as a pop-up show in a local gallery near the end of your residency, and open studio times throughout.
We also see value in inviting the Ajo community to contribute to the quality of each visiting artist's experience. To this end, we have curated a collection of "community perks" for each artist like use of a private saltwater pool, access to a bicycle and a golf cart to explore town, free yoga classes, locally-grown and produced treats, and invitations to suppers hosted by Ajo artists and residents.
The deadline for May 2019 residencies has passed and we are currently reviewing applications. Stay tuned for announcements on the selected artists!
TIMELINE - May 2019 Residencies
Application Available: December 20, 2019
Application Deadline: February 1, 2019
Notification of Selection: by March 10, 2019
Residency Dates: May 4-June 1, 2019
Please email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org