Announcing a new artist residency in Ajo, Arizona, where history, culture and the spectacular Sonoran Desert will inspire and inform your practice.

In fall 2018 the Sonoran Desert Inn & Conference Center is piloting a new two-week artist residency. This residency is open to emerging, established or master artists, giving them the opportunity to retreat from the day-to-day hustle and focus on a new or existing project. Ajo is a beautiful, quiet, little-known town in the middle of Arizona's Sonoran Desert, ideal for a focused period of creative output and experimentation. Our community is full of artists of all kinds and looks forward to welcoming visiting artists from across the country and around the globe. 

For this initial pilot, we are deliberately keeping the application process wide open. There is no prescribed theme or medium, and no specific type of artist we are looking for, though preference will be given to Native and Latinx individuals to highlight the historic (and historically underrepresented) populations of this region. We hope to encourage a broad pool of applicants and learn from this pilot so that we might refine and grow this program in the coming years.

Click here to read about our selected artists for Fall 2018!


Features of the Sonoran Arts Residency include:

 photo by jason rogers

photo by jason rogers

Peaceful Living Space

Visiting artists will be 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, will allow residents 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.

While other guests will be staying at the inn during the residency, early fall is generally a quiet time in Ajo. Expect javelinas, coyotes, bright night skies, and conversations with locals and travelers; don't expect a courtyard full of people or a packed roster of events.


 Photo by maxwell gay

Photo by maxwell gay

Focused Work Space

Visiting artists will also be provided, at no cost, with 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). 

We also have a clay studio, wood shop, commercial kitchen, and theater space available for artists working in those media, as well as outdoor work spaces for artists wishing to work en plein air (bear in mind the desert is still hot in early fall).

While we welcome artists working in any medium to apply, there are some limitations to the work space and available equipment. See application for details.


 photo by jewel clearwater fraser

photo by jewel clearwater fraser


Community Contributions

We envision this residency as a chance for visiting artists to contribute to the growing arts community in Ajo. 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 that includes donations like use of a private saltwater pool, access to a golf cart to explore town, free yoga classes, locally-grown and produced treats, and invitations to suppers hosted by Ajo artists and residents.

We will also ask each visiting artist to design their own community contribution. This could take the shape of a workshop, a demonstration, a talk, an open studio, a performance, or a piece of artwork left behind for Ajo to remember them by. 



Apply now! 

Prior to completing the application, please review this overview and FAQ, which has more detailed information about the residency, Ajo and the surrounding area.

Fall 2018 Residency: pick 2 weeks between September 15 and October 10, 2018

Application deadline: June 15, 2018 - this application deadline has passed and we are no longer accepting applications for Fall 2018. Click here to read about our selected artists for Fall 2018!

Notification deadline: July 18, 2018

Email questions to