Skip to Main Content
Main Content Section

Artist-in-Residence Program

January 12, 2023

Learn more about the Estes Park Center Artist in Residence Program! 

Artist-in-Residence Program - Where Nature Inspires

The Camp Artist Program has existed at the YMCA of the Rockies since 1943, with our first artist, Al Wands, teaching summer art classes in exchange for a cabin. Wands, a plein air painter, shared his passion for painting with Y guests for many years.  The YMCA has a long tradition of hosting notable artists at the Estes Park center. Ruby C. McIntosh, whose work was inspired by Colorado artist Vance Kirkland, had a different approach to painting. An expressionist painter, Ruby McIntosh replaced Al Wands in 1959, and stayed at the Y as our summer artist until 1973. Most recently, our Y-Artist was muralist and plein air painter Susan K. Dailey. Susan Dailey’s murals appear throughout the Estes Park Center and can be seen in the historical Administration Building and the Lula W. Dorsey Museum. In addition, her murals can be seen adorning grain towers and buildings in agricultural towns such as Berthoud Colorado.

Using this program as inspiration, we recognize the value of having an artist on property. Financial support gives artists more freedom to create, and an opportunity to experience the Rockies in the summer. The YMCA benefits through an increased emphasis on art and culture, new experiences for guests, and programming hosted by high-quality artists and performers. It will also highlight our rich history in cultural programming, plus draw attention to our Craft and Design Center, Youth Programs, and outdoor amphitheaters.

While Plein Air painting has been a traditional avenue for an artist-in-residence program, we are hoping to diversify the type of artists we host. Our guests would benefit from a rotation of artists with diverse backgrounds in painting, writing, music, theater, dance, photography, or other artistic pursuits. Meanwhile, they’ll be using nature as an inspiration to their art.

Learn More & Apply for the Artist in Residence Program


Create space for artists to gain inspiration from the Rocky Mountains, while sharing their talents with YMCA guests and staff.


One artist (or group of artists) will be selected for each 2-week session:

        •    June 11th-24th, 2023
        •    June 25th-July 8th, 2023
        •    July 9th- 22nd, 2023
        •    July 23rd – August 5th, 2023
        •    August 6th-19th, 2023

Basic Itinerary:

  • Mondays: Casual "Pop Up" performance or program outside the Maude Jellison Library. This is an opportunity for you to show off your talents but also interact with guests on property.
  • Tuesdays: Workshop with Day Camp kids, ages 4th-8th grade. This should be a hands-on interactive experience.
  • Wednesdays: Casual "Pop Up" performance or program at the Outdoor Classroom, outside of the Mootz Family Craft & Design Center. This is an opportunity for you to show off your talents but also interact with guests on property.
  • Thursdays: Exhibit at the Dorsey Museum or indoor performance at Hemple Auditorium, depending on art medium. 

We will work with you in advance to develop and advertise programming.


  • Housing: 13 nights in a 3-bedroom cabin on YMCA property.
  • Food: Included free of charge at our staff dining hall.
  • Stipend: $1000 for two weeks
  • Materials and supplies: $200 stipend will be given for materials needed to adapt programming for guests.
  • Artists should also use this time to create. We will list all of our artists on our website.

Open to:

Painters, musicians, writers, poets, sculptors, photographers, playwrights, and more. The only criteria are that programming must be family-friendly and align with YMCA of the Rockies missions and values. Applicants must be 18 years or older.

How to apply:

Email portfolios, websites or resumes to Ronda Suarez, Craft & Design Director, In your email, please also answer the following questions:

  • What is your connection to YMCA of the Rockies?
  • What do you hope to gain from your residency at the Y?
  • Describe a one-hour program you can adapt for a "pop-up" program featuring your talents.
  • Your first and second priority for dates.

We will set up a short interview for selected artists. Deadline to apply is February 28th. Applicants will be notified of acceptance by March 31st.

Assigned Categories: Estes Park Center, Activities & Programming

Help Support YMCA of the Rockies.