Headlands Center for the Arts



The Affiliate Artist Program is drawing to a close, and the 2020–21 cohort—to be announced early November 2020—will be its last.


The Affiliate Artists Program is an immersive studio practice program awarded to approximately 20 Bay Area artists, writers, and designers annually. Affiliates receive partially subsidized studio space, public presentation opportunities, one complimentary Mess Hall dinner a week, and discounts on public events. Affiliates are active participants in Headlands’ local, national, and international creative community, which also includes Artists in Residence and Graduate Fellows. All Headlands’ Artist Programs provide opportunities for research, experimentation, professional development, and peer-to-peer exchange—and ultimately aim to foster creative breakthroughs and new modes of working and thinking.

Artists selected for this program work primarily in visual arts, film/video, writing, social practices, architecture, and design, though the program is also open to arts professionals working in curation, arts writing, and administration. Studios are primarily located in Fort Barry Building 960, an artist-rehabilitated, former military building with three levels and 20 studios in total.

These benefits and resources promote the program’s goals of:

  • Providing support for Bay Area artists to focus on and develop their individual practice
  • Cultivating a network of like-minded creative practitioners
  • Creating a thriving cultural center for Bay Area artists to participate in a national and international artist community

Application and Award Period

Applications for the Affiliate Artist Program are no longer being accepted.

Program Details

  • Year-long program, starting July 1, with opportunity to reapply for up to three years
  • 100- to 400- sq.-foot studio
  • Studios are subsidized, with approximately 50% of the cost of the program underwritten by Headlands. Rates for 2019-20 are approximately $1.10 per sq. ft.
  • Facilities access:
    • Communal kitchen and meeting space in studio building
    • Basic woodshop
    • Artists’ library with computers, scanner, and printer
  • Up to 20 artists in the program at a time
  • Engagement with Headlands Artist community
  • One complimentary dinner in the Mess Hall each week, and discounts on any additional (March to December)
  • Participation in monthly “Show and Tell” nights and support for casual artist gatherings
  • Participation in three seasonal Open Houses
  • Discounts on Public Events at Headlands
  • Become part of Headlands Alumni Network


  • Artists living in the San Francisco Bay Area who will not be enrolled in an academic program at the time Affiliate Program takes place
  • Former Headlands’ Affiliates may not apply within two years (after completing a three year term)
  • All other Alumni of Headlands’ Programs are eligible to apply for the Affiliate Program at any pointFor the Affiliate Program, Headlands can accommodate no more than three total artists in a collaborative group.

Selection Criteria

  • Quality of work
  • Applicant’s innovation, experimentation, and willingness to push disciplinary boundaries; readiness to develop practice further through participation in the program
  • Value applicant brings to the artist community at Headlands
  • Capacity of applicant to be an active participant in the program, including regular studio practice and artist community engagements
  • Practical fit between applicant’s practice and the technological and physical realities of Headlands’ historic facilities and campus set within a National Park:
    • A basic woodshop, letterpress, and limited tech and A/V equipment are the only technical resources on-site. There are no metal, ceramics, or other specialized facilities available
    • Wi-Fi in the studios is limited to email and basic browsing; internet-based practices are not feasible at this time
    • The studios are in close quarters, and as such artists are asked to be conscientious of chemical use and dust, and amplified sound is restricted
    • Alterations to the buildings and landscape, gathering of natural materials, or other artworks using Headlands’ campus or its surroundings may require special permits from the National Park Service, and may be prohibited due to impact on cultural and natural resources

Selection Process

  • Headlands’ staff reviews applications to ensure completion and eligibility
  • Submissions are reviewed by a jury of knowledgeable and esteemed artists and arts professionals
  • The jury evaluates each artist’s materials and selects finalists
  • Finalists are invited to present their work in a 20-minute, in-person interview to determine the final award selection, and are then invited to evaluate available studio spaces

What You Need To Apply

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letter of interest, outlining your specific interest in working at Headlands and how program participation will affect your practice
  • List of three references, including names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses; please note, we do not want letters of reference
  • High quality image, video, or text documentation of recent work (see the SlideRoom application for details)
  • $10 processing fee

**Artist collaboratives  (up to three artists maximum) should apply together by submitting ONE application per group, specifying the number of individuals on the application form.