Throughout history, artists have seized the opportunity to immerse themselves in the natural landscape to gain new inspiration and perspectives. The Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency is an internationally recognized program providing that experience. The Yukon Arts Centre, Parks Canada, and the US National Park Service have come together to create an opportunity for established artists to spend time creating and hiking on the Chilkoot Trail.
Long used as a trade route by the Tlingit and Tagish traders in the region, the trail became the favoured way to reach the Klondike during the Gold Rush of the 1890’s. The 53km / 33mi route travels from Alaska to northern British Columbia along the Coast Mountains of the Pacific, through diverse landscapes, offering artists ‘in’ residence the experience of being up close and personal with incredibly unique natural, historic and cultural environments. The residency is planned so that during their time on the trail, artists will be able to spend one to three days at each campsite interacting with hikers along the way. Following their time on the trail artists will spend additional days in residence interacting with the public at Skagway, Alaska and Whitehorse, Yukon. There are two different trail options for artists who wish to attend the residency.
Option 1: 10 days on trail / 2 days off trail: Artists will hike the entire trail beginning in Dyea and finishing in Bennett, with time spent at various camp locations along the way. Artists will have the opportunity to create works and interact with hikers at each campsite. This option requires artists to carry all necessary equipment and art materials. This option is suited to those who have demonstrated significant experience with backcountry hiking and camping. Following their time on the trail all artists will spend one day in residence in Skagway Alaska, and a second day in residence in Whitehorse Yukon. Artists will engage with the public through art demonstrations, art talks, workshops or a combination of activities.
Option 2: 5-10 days on trail / 2 days off trail: Artists will be based on the trail at Bennett, BC, Canada for a minimum of 5 days and a maximum of 10 days to create works and interact with the public in this historic town site. Artists can undertake day and overnight trips to surrounding areas of the trail. Bennett is accessible by train which can facilitate more artist materials being brought to the site. This option is accessible to a wide range of individuals with a variety of camping experience. Artists in this option will not hike the entire trail from start to finish but can visit multiple camp sites. Following their time on the trail all artists will spend one day in residence in Skagway Alaska, and a second day in residence in Whitehorse Yukon. Artists will engage with the public through art demonstrations, art talks, workshops or a combination of activities.
Due to the nature of this program there are things you need to know before applying:
- Most artists find the residency is a 14-day commitment including their travel time too and from the trail.
- Option 1 should only be attempted by physically fit individuals, experienced with multi-day, back country hiking
- Option 2 is accessible to a wide range of individuals with a variety of camping experience
- All residencies will take place between late June and early August. Residencies will occur on separate weeks and have no overlap
- This program is open to all nationalities, but applicants must provide proof of proficiency in English
- Applications are due by February 3rd for the following calendar year
- Artists will provide artist demonstrations, talks and/or workshops along the trail with fellow hikers.
- Artists will be required to supply and carry all of their provisions including food, art supplies, camping and cooking gear and clothes
- Food caches along the route are available if delivery is arranged prior to May flights to the area
- This residency occurs is black bear and grizzly country. Artists will be required to participate in a bear safety orientation and maybe required to alter their travel route if deemed necessary for safety reasons by Parks Canada and USNPS
- It is strongly recommended that artists bring a support person to help with carrying supplies and to enhance safety while travelling and camping in bear country
- Artists will receive a $3000 CAD honorarium from the Yukon Arts Centre
- Three artists will be selected each year by Jury with one regional artist spot from the Yukon or Alaska.
Duration of residency
Most artists find the residency is a 14-day commitment including their travel time to and from the trail.
Artists pack their own tents and camping equipment.
Disciplines, work equipment and assistance
Visual Art, Sculpture, Printmaking, Textile Art, Animation, Film-making, Photography, Sound
Studio / Workspace
Back-country experience. No formal studios/workspaces.
Fees and support
Artists will receive a $3000 CAD honorarium from the Yukon Arts Centre
Expectations towards the artist
Artists will provide artist demonstrations, talks and/or workshops along the trail with fellow hikers and in Skagway Alaska and Whitehorse Yukon.