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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis


Through several programs, our Art+Science initiative aims to build dialogue between artists and scientists, and change the way each thinks. 

Together, art and science have the power to transform.

At NCEAS, we believe Art and Science play key roles in nurturing the innovative thinking we need to deal with the complex changes we are currently experiencing across the globe.

While they each communicate the complexity of our world differently - science with data and facts, art with the imagination and feelings - both entail a process of asking new questions and exposing possible answers.

Our Art+Science initiative is structured around three different programs: an artist-in-residence program, gallery space and events for local artists, and embedding artists into working group research.

Artist in Residence program

Our artist-in-residence program is a unique opportunity for artists and environmental scientists to come together to work in dialogue and inspire each other. Our goal is to unleash new levels of creativity and innovation in the ways we think about, communicate, and solve the world’s most pressing environmental challenges.

This opportunity is open to artists of all sorts, such as painters, poets, musicians, photographers, illustrators, printmakers, playwrights, digital artists, and more. Artist residents will be able to work at our headquarters and interact with our resident and visiting researchers.

Benefits of the residency

  • Up to three months of accommodation provided by 'Esquina del Arte', a charming artists retreat located in Santa Barbara.
  • Each Artist-in-Residence is expected to include the dates of the final exhibition as part of their time in residency.
  • Office space at NCEAS, located in downtown Santa Barbara.
  • Funding for travel and supplies.
  • Interactions with a diversity of scientists spanning a range of environmental topics.
  • Opportunities to give on-campus lectures at NCEAS & UC Santa Barbara’s main campus.
  • A 'First Thursday' exhibition on September 5, 2024.

How to apply

The application process for 2024 is now open! You can view application details in the Call for Proposals. The application deadline is January 15, 2024, 5pm PDT. To stay up-to-date on NCEAS news and announcements about our 2024 Artist in Residence, please sign up for our monthly newsletter.

Learn about the power of integrating art and science through our video "Mixing Methods: Art+Science at NCEAS."

Embedding artists into working group science

We are exploring ways to support projects to embed artists within a working group setting to allow for more focused and sustained dialogue, and resources to study and evaluate that process and its outcomes

Art + Science Gallery Space

We periodically host environmental science-themed exhibitions by local artists at our office in downtown Santa Barbara.

Current Featured Artists:
  • Elkpen created an NCEAS mural called the "Butterfly Effect" in our old office building, highlighted in the video below

  • Colin Schildhauer

The Butterfly Effect

Our old office building featured a mural, called "The Butterfly Effect," created by LA-based street artist Elkpen, which conveyed the study of ecology through visual metaphors.

Art is a process of observation. So is science. They have a natural correspondence to build on.

Elkpen, artist