Artist in Residence Program

Artist in Residence Program

A stylized, dark blue graphic featuring the silhouette of a person engaging with an art piece by Gal Nissim and Leslie Ruckman. A green illustration of a hawk overlays the dark graphic.
NYC Audubon is began accepting applications for our 2024 cohort of Artists in Residence on Governors Island in January 2024. This unique and innovative Artist in Residence program will offer two local artists space, resources, and transdisciplinary exchange opportunities to investigate birds and wildlife conservation in the context of urban natural space and public engagement. 

The Artist in Residence program runs May-October 2024. Each artist will receive a stipend of $750.

Please note that this residency—like other Artist in Residence programs on Governors Island—takes place in an old house with limited amenities. The studio and workshop space is not climate-controlled (no AC or heat), nor are there bathrooms or running water inside the building. There is public Wifi and cell service on the Island, but both are spotty.

Artists in Residence are responsible for the installation and de-installation of their studios and solo exhibitions.
An NYC Audubon volunteer engages with a young Island visitor below the work of 2023 AiR Carolyn Monastra.
An NYC Audubon volunteer engages with a young Island visitor below the work of 2023 AiR Carolyn Monastra.
Avian Ancestors, 2023. By 2023 AiR Dario Mohr.
Avian Ancestors, 2023. By 2023 AiR Dario Mohr.
2023 AiR Dario Mohr in his Governors Island studio space.
2023 AiR Dario Mohr in his Governors Island studio space.
Governors Island visitors engage with 2023 AiR Carolyn Monastra's Divergence of Birds installation.
Governors Island visitors engage with 2023 AiR Carolyn Monastra's Divergence of Birds installation.

About NYC Audubon

NYC Audubon is a nonprofit organization that works for the protection of wild birds and habitat in the five boroughs, improving the quality of life for all New Yorkers. Founded in 1979, NYC Audubon works through research science, engagement, and advocacy to involve all New Yorkers in appreciating, learning about, and taking action to protect urban biodiversity and ensure a sustainable future for the City.  

We believe that all people have the right to a close connection to the natural world and the right to a healthy environment. We also recognize that inequities in our society are widespread and hinder access to nature. In an effort to close the gap of these inequities, NYC Audubon provides points of entry that appeal to a variety of audiences, including public workshops and art exhibits that capture the spirit of our urban birds and the imaginations of both adults and children. 

NYC Audubon is an independent non-profit organization. We affiliate with and often collaborate with the National Audubon Society (and its state office Audubon New York), but are a separate entity. 

Note that NYC Audubon will be changing its name in 2024, dropping “Audubon” and choosing a new name that is more inclusive and better represents our work. We will announce our new name in late March 2024, but will remain an affiliated chapter of National Audubon. Click here  to learn more about our name change.

NYC Audubon on Governors Island

Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, just minutes from Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront by ferry. An award-winning park complements its dozens of historic buildings, year-round educational and cultural facilities, rich arts and culture program and 22-acre National Monument. In the coming years, Governors Island will also be home to the Center for Climate Solutions: a phys­i­cal hub com­mit­ted to research­ing and demon­strat­ing urban cli­mate solu­tions, and advanc­ing edu­ca­tion, train­ing, and work­force devel­op­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties for New York­ers in cli­mate and envi­ron­men­tal fields.

For six years, NYC Audubon has maintained a presence on Governors Island through our seasonal environmental center and weekly bird outings. NYC Audubon engages thousands of visitors over the course of a season.

About the NYC Audubon Artist in Residence (AiR) program

NYC Audubon’s Artist in Residence (AiR) program is a six-month residency program on Governors Island providing commissioning support, studio space, and exhibition and related opportunities designed to support the creative process of New York City-based, wildlife conservation-focused artists.

Two Artists in Residence will be provided a studio space at NYC Audubon’s seasonal environmental center in a historic house at Governors Island’s Colonels’ Row between May-October 2024. Artists receive a one-time $750 stipend and a supportive community in which to develop ideas and focus on their artistic direction.

Artists in Residence have opportunities to present works in progress as part of Governors Island Open Studios events, as well as finished work in the first-floor gallery space at NYC Audubon's seasonal environmental center throughout the 2024 season. Artist applicants must be willing to lead at least one conservation-focused art workshop for Island visitors during their residency.  

Program Structure

The program is six months in length. Artists apply with a specific project they would like to work on during the program. The program is largely driven by the unique character of each Artist in Residence, organized through cohort meetings. NYC Audubon Artists in Residence display their work in solo exhibitions between May-October. AiR solo shows run for approximately 2 months in the downstairs gallery space of the seasonal environmental center. One Artist in Residence will present their work in a Summer Exhibition (July-August), and the other Artist in Residence will present their work in a Fall Exhibition (September-October).

Residency Resources & Requirements

Resources provided by NYC Audubon during the course of the residency:
  • A stipend of $750
  • Unlimited use of free studio space on Governors Island, during the Island’s public hours
  • Governors Island ferry seasonal pass
  • Opportunities to participate in other NYC Audubon programs and design your own
  • Discounts at most Island eateries

During the residency, each AiR is required to:
  • Show work as part of NYC Audubon’s seasonal residence on Governors Island
  • Lead at least one free, conservation-focused art workshop for Governors Island visitors between May-October 2024
  • Install and uninstall their own work, including transporting materials and supplies to Governors Island via the public ferry
  • Purchase/procure their own supplies


Please note, the studio and workshop space on Governors Island is on the second floor of a two-story, 19th-century house within Governors Island’s Historic District. The studio and workshop space is not climate-controlled, nor are there bathrooms or running water inside the building. Indoor restrooms are located inside the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center at Governors Island near Soissons Landing. Trailer restrooms are available at Yankee Pier, the west end of Liggett Terrace, South Battery, and near Slide Hill. 

If you would like to discuss alternative access and accommodations, please email Jesse McLaughlin at

Application Process

Two artists will be selected to participate in the 2024 NYC Audubon Artist in Residence program based on compelling online applications and work samples.

Application Components:
  • Artist Statement: An artist statement describes what you make and why you make it. Make sure to state what medium you work in (painting, sculpture, installation, non-narrative video, durational performance, etc.) Please limit your Artist Statement to 250 words. 
  • Project Description: A project description describes the creative project (or projects) you would like to focus on during your time as an Artist in Residence. State why NYC Audubon and this residency program are relevant to you. Please limit your Project Description to 500 words.
  • Workshop Description: Artists in Residence are required to lead one wildlife conservation-focused, art workshop for Governors Island visitors. How do you plan to engage the public in your work? Please limit your Workshop Description to 500 words. 
  • Work Sample(s): You are required to provide at least one work sample, but permitted to provide a maximum of three work samples. Work samples may be uploaded directly to the online form or linked. If you are submitting video, please limit each sample to five minutes.

NYC Audubon's AiR Program is for emerging or established artists who are:
  • Working at a generative level in bird-focused and/or wildlife conservation-focused art
  • Interested in gaining experience engaging the public about their work
  • Committed to a specific project(s) they’d like to work on during the 2024 AiR season

Most importantly, the expertise, values, and perspectives of a diverse and inclusive organization are fundamental to expanding the reach and impact of our conservation, advocacy, and educational efforts. BIPOC artists and other systemically marginalized artists are encouraged to apply.

We are able to accept art in a wide variety of media, so long as the work pertains to birds or wildlife conservation and can fit the constraints of the space. Please note that the Island has limited capacity to support electronic and/or internet-dependent works.


Applications open: January 16, 2024
Application deadline:  March 1, 2024 @ 11:59pm ET
Notification: No later than April 15, 2024
Program duration: May - October 2024 (6 months)