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Artist / Illustrator in Residence Program

Please note the botanical illustration artist / illustrator in residence program has been put on hold through 2021 due to COVID-19. We will resume this program when it is safe to do so.

The artist / illustrator in residence program is an exciting opportunity for illustrators to find inspiration in the natural beauty of Denver Botanic Gardens and further their practice with in-depth access to the Gardens’ extensive scientific collections. Residents will illustrate collections and landscapes with a focus on documenting plants native to the Rocky Mountain region, supporting the Gardens’ dedication to preservation, conservation, education and biodiversity. 

Denver Botanic Gardens strives to entertain while spreading the collective wisdom of the Gardens through outreach, collaboration and education. The Gardens’ mission is to connect people with plants, especially plants from the Rocky Mountain region and similar regions around the world, providing delight and enlightenment to everyone. Supporting this mission, the School of Botanical Art & Illustration (SBAI) provides comprehensive instruction in the artistic techniques and aesthetic vision needed to render plants in scientific detail. The program offers classes for beginners acquiring new knowledge and skills as well as experienced artists refining their technique and finding fresh directions for their work. 

The scope of this residency features two key elements: 

  • Creation of a body of work supporting the mission of Denver Botanic Gardens, particularly focused on plants native to Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region. This work will be created through reference to the Gardens’ collections and landscapes, with specific plants selected for illustration by the Gardens’ research and SBAI staff. The resident will retain copyright of all works produced during the residency but will grant permission to Denver Botanic Gardens to use images for publicity, retail purposes and publication. 
  • Of the artworks created during the residency, one piece will be selected to remain with Denver Botanic Gardens as part of its permanent collections. Leading one three-day workshop for 12 students in the Gardens’ SBAI. This workshop will focus on a technique or media that the resident specializes in, subject to the approval of the Gardens. Dates of the workshop will be determined based on the residency timeframe. 

Interaction with visitors is encouraged, promoting public understanding and appreciation of the natural world and offering an opportunity for visitors to see the Gardens through the eyes of an artist. Opportunities could include: 

  • Offering an open studio to share works in progress 
  • Conducting demonstrations for the public 
  • Writing blog posts for the Gardens’ website

Funding and Resources

The residency provides a stipend of $4,000 paid up front to offset costs of travel and transportation, art supplies and living expenses. 

The Gardens additionally offers space to work inside or outdoors plein air and access to the Gardens’ collections, including pressed plants, preserved fungi and other preserved herbaria collections, living plant collections, rare books, archival materials, art collections, and books and periodicals in the Helen Fowler Library. 

The resident must provide their own art supplies and equipment, as well as their own travel, transportation, accommodation and related living expenses. 


The residency is open to all illustrators who have completed a certificate program in scientific illustration, botanical art or illustration, nature illustration or equivalent qualification or experience. Artists working in all media will be considered. Current School of Botanical Art & Illustration instructors or staff at Denver Botanic Gardens are not eligible for the residency. 

International applicants who are proficient in English are encouraged, although additional tax documentation may be required. 

  • For residents of a country with Tax Treaty benefits who have an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), the resident must complete Form 8233. 
  • For those to whom the above does not apply, the resident must complete Form W-8 BEN and the Gardens will need to withhold 30 percent of the stipend payment. The resident can apply to the IRS to have this amount refunded after the tax year.

Should obtaining a visa be necessary, the Gardens will provide a letter of support, though not visa sponsorship.


Applications are not currently being accepted due to COVID-19.


Other Artist Residencies

Denver Botanic Gardens launched a new artist residency program in 2021: Land Line. 

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