Headlands Center for the Arts
Situated in a campus of artist-renovated military buildings in the Marin Headlands, Headlands Center for the Arts hosts an internationally recognized Artist in Residence Program, interdisciplinary public programs, and subsidized studio rentals for Bay Area artists of all disciplines.
Mission and history
Headlands Center for the Arts (Headlands) provides an environment for creative process and the development of new work and ideas. Through artists’ residencies and public programs, Headlands offers opportunities for artist research, dialogue and exchange that build understanding and appreciation for the role of art in society.
Headlands Center for the Arts was conceived through a planning process conducted by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area after the transfer of former military property to the National Park Service. The Park Service engaged a number of nonprofit organizations as "Park Partners", to assist them in restoring the historic buildings and developing interpretive programs for the public. Headlands was incorporated in 1982 by a founding Board of Directors consisting primarily of local artists. In 1994 Headlands secured a long-term Cooperative Agreement for use of the buildings within the Golden Gate National Recreation Area.
Originally inhabited by Coast Miwok, the area was used for military installations including Fort Barry for more than a century, before the army withdrew in 1972 and turned over the land to the National Park Service. Headlands is housed in a cluster of nine historic, 1907-era military buildings at Fort Barry. Residency studios, offices and public rooms are located in two four-story former army barracks and feature 13-foot ceilings, large windows, oak balustrades, maple floors and redwood wainscoting.
Since 1985, Headlands has renovated these remarkable historic structures through granting commissions to artists. Major American artists, including Ann Hamilton, David Ireland, Bruce Tomb and John Randolph, have designed and supervised the renovation of the public rooms in the main building.
Artists in Residence
The Artist in Residence (AIR) Program has earned international renown for bringing together pioneering artists in all disciplines – visual, literary, performing and new media – from throughout the U.S. and abroad. The AIR program provides a supportive working environment that allows time for artists to experiment, reflect and grow, both individually and collectively during their stay. The program offers fully sponsored live-in and live-out residencies to approximately 30 artists each year, from March to November, and is distinguished in that there is no fee to participate. Residencies range from 1 to 6 months, with an average live-in stay of 3 months.
The focus is on the artist’s process of investigation and creation rather than on the presentation of work. AIRs join a community of up to 70 artists a year (including Affiliate Artists, MFA Award and Tournesol Award winners), with an average of 40 on site at any time.
Artist studio facilities
The Fort Barry campus is home to nearly 40 studios, shared residences, and spaces for offices, performances and events. Residency studios, offices, and public rooms are located in two four-story former army barracks with 13-foot ceilings, large windows, period detail, and hardwood floors.
Housing and other benefits
Live-in residents share historic military officers’ houses. They are fully furnished, with four bedrooms, two baths, formal dining and living rooms and fully equipped kitchens. Writers and arts professionals are provided with live/work spaces. Residents are responsible for their own housekeeping
Headlands’ Chef prepares dinner five nights a week in the Mess Hall for AIRs.
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- Alumni artists have been honored with MacArthur Fellowships, Guggenheim Fellowships, The Rome Prize and inclusion at the Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale, among many other awards.
- Notable alumni include:
Laylah Ali, Polly Apfelbaum, Sanford Biggers, Tania Bruguera, David Cale, Thomas Campbell painter/sculptor, Remy Charlip, Tony Cragg, Beth Custer, Paul DeMarinis, Elizabeth Demaray, Lewis deSoto, Anthony Discenza, Mark Dion, Harrell Fletcher, The Foundry dance (The Foundry website), Amy Francheschini, Anya Gallaccio, Katharina Grosse, Guillermo Gómez-Peña, Sam Green, Joe Goode dancer, Joanna Haigood, Ann Hamilton, Barbara Hammer, Mildred Howard, Su-Chen Hung, Brenda Hutchinson, Lewis Hyde, Margaret Kilgallen, Ned Kahn, Carla Klein, Ledoh, Mardi Louisell, Nicola López, Mads Lynnerup, Nikki S. Lee, Bernie Lubell, Dean MacCannell, Juliet Flower MacCannell, Julie Mehretu, Jeremy Mende, Miya Masaoka, Barry McGee, Simon Ortiz, Ed Osborn, Maria Porges, Clare E. Rojas, Shahzia Sikander, Bill Shannon, Rebecca Solnit, Thomas Scheibitz, Tiffany Shlain, Zak Smith, silt film, Kathryn Spence, Stephanie Syjuco, Olav Westphalen, Andrea Zittel, František Skála. Andrew Norman Wilson