A group of people looking at the work of a past resident artist, featuring a starry night sky

2022-2023 Call for Resident Artists

The Bell Museum seeks resident artists for the 2022-2023 cycle of its Resident Artists program. This opportunity is open to artists in all disciplines who live and work in Minnesota.

Established as Minnesota’s official natural history museum by the state legislature and held in trust by the University of Minnesota, the Bell Museum has served learners of all ages for 150 years. Our mission is to ignite curiosity and wonder, explore our connections to nature and the universe, and create a better future for our evolving world. Our scientific collections contain over one million specimens representing every county in Minnesota and various locales around the globe, our Touch and See Lab and Learning Landscape provide hands-on learning experiences, and the Whitney and Elizabeth MacMillan Planetarium expands our mission to the universe and points beyond. We believe that difference is a strength and are looking for resident artists that reflect, respect, and engage with diversity. 

The Bell’s museum-based artist residencies invite candidates working in all disciplines to investigate artistic practice as a lens for science discovery in a project that draws on the expertise, collections, spaces, and themes of the Bell Museum. These residencies offer the unique opportunity to engage with Bell curators, staff, and collections; University of Minnesota research; and other extraordinary resources while exploring the potential of art to illuminate, inform, and interpret science in the public realm. 

We anticipate hosting four resident artists in sequence over the span of 18 months (April 2022 – September 2023). Residents receive a $4,000 term stipend plus a $500 materials budget. The Bell can provide additional funds to support an exhibition or special performance to realize the project. The residency term is 12-15 weeks, with a time commitment expected of 2-10 hours / week, depending on the project. Residents should expect to participate in onboarding activities to meet other residents and learn about Bell resources during Spring 2022. We welcome applicants from across the state and will be happy to accommodate residents who reside in greater Minnesota. Residents are not expected to conduct their work at the Bell Museum, but will be provided support that might include space as projects and circumstances allow.  

Residencies are open to individual artists, collaborative teams, or collectives working in all disciplines, including (but not limited to) visual artists, writers, poets, storytellers, dancers, designers, musicians, or video and film artists. Artists will work in collaboration with the Bell’s public engagement and science learning team, as well as with the museum’s curatorial, academic, and/or research staff; University of Minnesota researchers and faculty; and potentially one another. These residencies are meant to provide professional development to emerging artists, new audiences to established artists, and a way for Bell audiences to explore the intersection of art, science, and nature. Information about previous projects is available here.

We are interested in both new and partially developed work that can benefit from Bell resources. In your application materials, it is crucial to show how your project might benefit from Bell resources or expertise, as you understand them. In addition, applicants should consider their artistic work and process in the context of the following “Big Ideas”:

Knowing the Unknown

Exploring the leading edge of science and the quest to understand the unknown. We’re thinking about diverse concepts—from the future of human space travel to the 80% of the Earth’s oceans that are as yet unobserved.

Ways of Knowing

Engaging the public in connecting current scientific research to diverse cultural knowledge and a range of ways of thinking about the world.

Immersive Experience

Using immersive technologies to create opportunities for experiencing environments that may be familiar or unknown, be it the outer reaches of the cosmos, an agricultural field, or the intricate connections within the brain.

 

How to Apply

We seek projects that bring art, science, and nature together to illuminate important questions and big ideas. It is not necessary to propose a specific project, but we do want to know what central questions you aim to explore, how Bell resources and expertise can help you, and how your previous experience prepares you to carry out this project at the Bell. Required materials are a letter of application, cv or resume, contact information for three references, and an online portfolio. See details and instructions below. If you need accommodation in order to apply, please contact Kate Sigurdson at ksigurds@umn.edu.

We expect interviews with semi-finalists to take place in early February. Resident artist selection is expected by mid-March. All residencies will be completed between April 1, 2022, and September 30, 2023.

Applications for the 2022-2023 Resident Artist program are now closed.

This program is funded in part through generous support from the McKnight Foundation.

Responsibilities

Resident artists at the Bell are expected to:

  • develop a public installation, activity, or performance that is accessible to a broad audience;
  • create opportunities for spontaneous or ongoing public participation;
  • participate in a public engagement event featuring their work;
  • meet regularly (virtually or in-person) with museum staff assigned to your project, which might include staff, curators or other researchers, students or volunteers, or community partners;  
  • develop a project budget and spending schedule;
  • propose and adhere to an approved timeline for project research, development, and exhibition (or performance, etc.); and
  • meet all deadlines set by Bell staff for promoting and showing their work

Qualifications

Ideal candidates have five or more years of artistic experience and possess the following traits and competencies:

  • adaptability – able to learn quickly and thrive when immersed in new subject matter and unfamiliar environments, such as research labs and scientific collections;
  • expansive thinking – actively explores multiple ways of thinking, including scientific thinking, focusing on practices such as observation, inquiry, and critical evaluation;
  • self-direction and collaboration – comfortable taking initiative and adept at working with a variety of people;
  • public engagement – develops tools and methods for communicating their knowledge, passion, and curiosity to a diverse audience in doing and discovering science; and
  • artistic voice – cultivates a robust personal artistic practice and direction, as well as a working knowledge of and enthusiasm for a wide range of artistic work.

Application Materials

  • Cover sheet in .pdf format:
    • Brief description of expected topic/area (100 words max)
    • Contact information for 3 references
    • Link to an online portfolio containing images, video, or other documentation of at least 3 artworks
  • Curriculum vitae or resume in .pdf format

  • Letter of application in .pdf format:
    • Your letter should include an artist statement describing your work, as well as a discussion of the topic you are interested in exploring at the Bell and how you expect your project to benefit from Bell resources, as described here and on our website at www.bellmuseum.edu. We do not expect a fully fleshed-out proposal, but would like to know what you are thinking about, and how it connects to your past work and our Big Ideas.
    • Include any pertinent information about your availability during the run of the program April 2022-September 2023

Applications for the 2022-2023 Resident Artist program are now closed.

Please contact Kate Sigurdson at ksigurds@umn.edu with any questions.