Headlands Center for the Arts


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. Affiliate Artists are active participants in Headlands’ local, national, and international creative community, which also includes Artists in Residence and Graduate Fellows. 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. Studios are located in Fort Barry Building 960, an artist-rehabilitated, former military building with three levels and 20 studios in total.

Award Period

  • Program period is July 1, 2019–June 23, 2020

Program Goals

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

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 percent 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 three year term)
  • All other Alumni of Headlands’ Programs are eligible to apply for the Affiliate Program at any point

Selection Criteria

Most generally, evaluative criteria fall under the five categories:

  • 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 fully equipped 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
    – Although not a non-toxic studio, as a shared space, artists are asked to be conscientious of chemical use, dust, and sound
    – Works situated off the footprint of Headlands’ campus or in the landscape require special permits from the National Park Service, and may be prohibited due to impact on cultural and natural resources
    – Foraging in the Park is prohibited, as are permanent alterations to the historic buildings Headlands inhabits, and the surrounding landscape

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

What You Need To Apply

A full application includes the following:

  • 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.
  • Documentation of recent work (see specifications below for guidelines according to discipline)
  • $10 processing fee

**Artist collaboratives should apply together by submitting ONE application per group, specifying the number of individuals on the application form. For live-in Artists in Residence, Headlands can accommodate no more than three total artists in a collaborative group.

Please select from the following list materials appropriate to your practice. The category headings are guidelines; please submit whatever type of materials best represent your work.

Visual (painting, printmaking, photography, sculpture, installation, conceptual)
Submit up to 15 images, or up to 30 minutes of video and/or DVD.
Submission of an image list with title, date, size, media, and, where applicable, conceptual intent, is optional.

Writing (poetry, fiction, nonfiction, playwriting, screenwriting)
Submit up to 20 pages of poetry, 30 pages of prose or one to two full-length plays/scripts.

Film / Video / New Media
Submit up to 30 minutes of video.
Please note: the first 10 minutes will be used for primary review.

Arts Professionals (art writers, administrators, and curators)
Submit sufficient material to evidence the breadth of your work and interests, including reviews, essays, and catalogs.

Architecture / Environment
Review documentation requirements for Visual Artists.

Interdisciplinary Arts
Review other categories to determine what materials you should submit.