February 1st, 2018 marks the deadline to apply for the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program. This unique artist residency offers artists a chance to develop and create artwork while hiking the legendary, historical Chilkoot Trail. We spoke with 2017 Chilkoot Trail artist in residence Anthony Wallace, an interdisciplinary artist who does music, film production and sound installations, about his creative insights and experience as an artist on the trail for 10 days in June and July 2017.

Why is creating art important?

Creating art is important to me on two levels, personally and socially. Personally I think everyone needs a creative outlet to express themselves. On a social level if you are a practicing artist and presenting your work publicly you need to be commenting on issues facing our world today. I think one of the greatest issues facing North America is the protecting and reshaping the value structure of wilderness spaces. The Chilkoot Trail Artists Residency gives the opportunity to highlight the beauty and importance of wilderness spaces. How it influences people - the positive impact it has on hikers, artists, parks staff and the rest of the continent knowing spaces like this exist should they want to visit.

What was your experience like during the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency? Was there a highlight?

It was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I took my father as my support person and we spent two weeks in beautiful North American wilderness. Highlights would be creating a functioning wind harp on the summit of the pass and connecting with all the parks staff.

Would you recommend applying for the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency?

Absolutely, if you enjoying the outdoors and are looking for a social experience to find inspiration, The Chilkoot Trail Artist residency is great. It challenges you to pack your artistic practice in a backpack and see how many tools you require to achieve your artwork.

Do you have any tricks or tips for the upcoming Chilkoot Trail Artists in Residence?

Pack Light, really challenge yourself to how little tools you need for your practice. It may change the way you create but embrace the challenge and let it influence your work.

Has the Chilkoot Residency inspired your work?

Yes, it has it allowed me to hone my skills in time-lapse photography, and push me to try more wilderness residency. It has given me the confidence that I can do more and try more installations.

Favourite or most inspirational place on the Trail?

The Pass, I was able to spend ample time at the summit constructing the wind harp and it’s a eerie, beautiful place filled with a lot of history but so bleak and uncompromising.

What inspires you?

Anything can inspire me. Staying open to what’s around you and receptive to the people and places you encounter will always inspire.

What is your most important artist tool?

Time, it sounds simple but I can write lots of music in my mind, but translating it to my fingers, the paper or pulling from my thoughts takes time. Making the space for that expulsion from my brain is the most important thing.

wind harp at the summit of the Chilkoot Trail by Anthony Wallace

Wind harp on the summit of the Chilkoot Trail, by Anthony Wallace 2017.


Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency Program Information

Together, the Yukon Arts Centre, Parks Canada and the US National Park Service are providing an opportunity for established visual artists to pursue their work amidst history and nature on the Chilkoot Trail. Artists will hike the entire trail during a two week backpacking trip, spending one to three days at each campsite. Each artist will be required to provide and carry all of their backpacking gear, food and art supplies for the journey (though food caches are available, provided artists arrange delivery in time for May flights). Bringing a support person, friend or family, is highly recommended. That person will help share the load and enhance safety while travelling, camping and working in bear country. Each of the artists chosen will travel during separate two-week periods. Artists will receive up to $100 USD support from Skagway Arts Council in purchasing necessary art supplies and will receive a $1000 CAD honorarium from the Yukon Arts Centre. The residency will occur over a two-week period between late June and early August.

The Chilkoot Trail, like all Parks Canada places, reflects the rich and varied heritage of our country and provides an opportunity for Canadians and visitors to learn more about our diversity, including the history, cultures and contributions of Indigenous Peoples.

Apply online today!

This residency is open to applicants of any nationality for the 2019 edition. Artists applying for the 2019 edition are required to apply before February 1st, 2018.
If you would like more information about the Chilkoot Trail Artist Residency, visit this link: http://yukonartscentre.com/programs/chilkoot_trail_artist_residency_program