Room and board for 2 two weeks, transportation between Anchorage and McCarthy.
Transportation to and from Anchorage.
Application fee: $30. Online application.
The Wrangell Mountains Center (WMC) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is connecting people with wildlands through art, science, and education in the Wrangell Mountains. The Wrangell Mountains Residency Program aims to support artists of all genres, writers, and inquiring minds. The organization and community will provide a rustic workspace located in heart of the nation’s largest national park. They invite applicants with creative and inquisitive minds who will both add to and benefit from the interdisciplinary efforts at the community hub in McCarthy, Alaska and the surrounding Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve.
Located in the center of McCarthy, a small mountain community, and within the boundaries of the nation’s largest unit of the national park system (over 13 million acres), the vast and spectacular setting provides a unique natural and cultural environment for the WMC. Positioned near ice-capped mountains, the roaring Kennicott River and McCarthy Creek, and the raw terminus of the Kennicott Glacier, the local landscape is a dynamic laboratory for study in ecology, glaciology, and geology. The town of McCarthy was established during the copper mining period in the early 20th century. After the local copper mines were abandoned in the 1930s, the once booming community virtually became a ghost town, but as the national park was established in the 1980s and with the growth of local tourism, McCarthy has been rediscovered by everyone from Alaskans to international travelers. Many historic sites and buildings in McCarthy and Kennecott combine to make the area a rich cultural environment, hosting vibrant communities full of character and dynamic narratives. It is an ideal place for contemplation and creative endeavor.
The Old Hardware Store (OHS), located next to McCarthy Creek at the end of main street McCarthy, is the heart of the WMC where meals are prepared and shared among staff, volunteers, and program participants. The OHS was built in 1911 as a town general mercantile and was converted into a community hub for arts and sciences in the 1980s. This 100 year old building is currently on the National Register of Historic Places. Across the street from the OHS is Porphyry Place, a former homestead cabin, where artists, scientists, and locals give public lectures and weekly youth programs take place. Located behind Porphyry Place is one of three gardens at the WMC, including a small greenhouse, which supply the WMC kitchen with fresh greens throughout the summer months. Residency participants will have the opportunity to experience and contribute to the sustainable living system at the WMC.
One goal of the residency program is for artists and writers to share their work with the community. Examples of such outreach include giving a slide lecture, teaching a short workshop, and/or having a public performance or exhibit.
Each resident will be provided with a private and furnished live/work space. The smaller of the two is a cozy 12’ x 12’ standalone cabin with a small wood burning stove, desk, and twin size bed. The slightly larger studio is located on the second floor above a small workshop and includes a small propane heater, work tables, and queen size bed. There is an outhouse located just a few paces from both spaces. The studios are not equipped with electricity, but the long Alaskan summer days provide ample natural light for many hours and small electronics can be charged on the solar power system at the main facility. Residents will have access to common areas on campus and simple, healthy meals (mostly vegetarian) will be provided and shared communally with WMC staff, students, and visitors.
The remote location limits the ability of visitors to obtain many goods and services in the area. Participants should come prepared with all the necessary research materials and art supplies since they are not available for purchase locally. Please communicate specific needs for the residency period to ensure enjoyment and productivity. Internet access can be purchased on a personal computer, but the ability to charge electronic devices is dictated by solar power availability, which can be limited in inclement weather. Laundry opportunities are available.
See accommodation information.
The Wrangell Mountains Center is located in downtown McCarthy, AK approximately 300 miles east of Anchorage. McCarthy is at the end of a 60-mile long dirt road only open during the summer months that leads to the middle of the nation’s largest national park. While the 2010 census shows only 28 year-round residents, the summer population swells to a few hundred seasonal residents. McCarthy has no electrical grid and vehicle traffic is limited because the only access to the town is over private vehicle bridge and a public footbridge across the Kennicott River. Temperatures climb as high as 80-90 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-summer and drop as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit in mid-winter.
Locals and supporters often spend time at the WMC throughout the summer and are great resources for human and natural history of the area. There are opportunities to go flightseeing with a local flight service, which is one of the best ways to see Wrangell-St. Elias National Park’s massive glaciers, jagged peaks, and otherwise road-less landscape. The National Park Service continues to restore historic buildings from the mining era in Kennecott and has interpretive exhibits and rangers that teach visitors about local history. Opportunities for hiking from McCarthy and Kennecott take you onto glaciers, up high mountain passes, and to remains of the original copper mines from the early 1900s.
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