It’s the final resting place for luminaries like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Leonard Bernstein, and now Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery is looking for one person to join their ranks – part time, at least – as the property’s first-ever artist-in-residence. 

The cemetery team is accepting applications from now through 2 September, and emerging and mid-career artists are encouraged to pitch work inspired by the cemetery’s landscape, monuments, and history. The winner will receive a $7500 honorarium for the nine-month program, plus access to the cemetery’s staff, 180-plus years of archival records and artifacts, and private studio space on site. The residency is slated to begin in January 2021 and run through September. 

Sopladora, by Mexican artist Javier Marin, was a gift from Michel Langlais, President of the National Sculpture Society.
Sopladora, by Mexican artist Javier Marin, was a gift to the cemetery from Michel Langlais, president of the National Sculpture Society © Green-Wood Cemetery

“It's something I've been dreaming up for the past couple of years, and the moment just seemed right,” Harry Weil, director of public programs and special projects, tells Lonely Planet. “Green-Wood is emerging as a cultural destination in New York City. We've had some really great exhibitions and programs, and an artist-in-residency program seemed like the next step.” 

Green-Wood’s Gothic Arch, by Richard M. Upjohn, welcomes visitors to the Cemetery at the 25th Street and 5th Avenue entrance
Green-Wood’s Gothic Arch, by Richard M. Upjohn, welcomes visitors to the cemetery's 25th Street and 5th Avenue entrance © Green-Wood Cemetery

The program was announced on July 6, and little more than a week later, hundreds of people had begun the application process. “We really want an artist who's going to speak to the communities surrounding Green-Wood, so work that's going to engage the viewer, whether it's going to move them through the space, engage them in larger conversations about life and death, or even what's happening politically and socially,” Weil says. “We want artists that are going to communicate to and expand our audience.”

But what makes Green-Wood tricky, he continues, is its lack of dedicated exhibition space. “Because of our space limitations, it would have to be something that's nontraditional,” Weil says. “For artists working in more traditional mediums, if they're selected, we would have to think of an alternative approach to installations.”  

The gatehouse at Green-Wood Cemetery
The winning artist will have access to private studio space in the property's landmarked gatehouse © Shannon Taggart

Weil and his team will sort through the applications to determine the top 20 candidates, and then a panel of five judges will select the winner. “I'm excited to see what artists we're going to choose,” he says, “but I'm also excited to work with them on what we can put together here." For more information, visit

You may also like: 

Paris museum unveils Instagram artist-in-residence
Legendary artists' houses you can visit around the world
Cemetery tourism: an ethical traveller's guide to graveyards

Explore related stories

San Francisco, USA. 7th Jan, 2018. A woman visits the Asian Art Museum on Free Sunday in San Francisco, the United States, Jan. 7, 2018


12 essential sites to learn about Asian American history

May 3, 2023 • 8 min read