A Way to Bring Artists and Activists Together

Signal Fire offers two distinctive residency programs: our flagship program Outpost, which houses artists in canvas wall tents in remote locations on public land, and Tinderbox, which sponsors an artist to work for three months alongside the staff of a grassroots environmental organization. Outpost is on temporary hiatus while we build guide capacity. Stay tuned for announcements about our 2020 Tinderbox program in Southern Oregon later this month.


In Summer 2015 Signal Fire premiered the Tinderbox Residency, which embeds an artist with a grassroots environmental defense group to produce a body of work in response to the group’s mission or current campaigns. The selected artist is given an introduction to the environmental organization’s mission with access to current campaigns and the physical office space. They work closely with the staff and volunteers in the office and the field to develop a body of work specific to the experience. Signal Fire provides the artist with a modest stipend, logistical support, and gear or other supplies as needed. The work resulting from Tinderbox will be considered for exhibition and inclusion in future issues of Leaf Litter. This residency program reflects Signal Fire’s dedication to build bridges between environmental advocacy, activism, and art by creating a platform for dialogue with the greater public and Signal Fire supporters.

“This residency and the relationship between Signal Fire and organizations like Bark are crucial, primarily because Signal Fire has a long-term, proactive approach that is quite innovative and unique. The strategic model of Signal Fire seems to be that of accumulating artists and offering them experiences and information while keeping in mind that one artist by herself can make an impact, but multiple artists in conversation over time have been known to change the world.”

– Gary Wiseman, Tinderbox Artist-in-Residence, 2015


Our flagship Outpost Residency started in 2009 and has continued each year in a new location. Artists are provided with food, maps, and a magnificently spacious 12×12′ canvas tent that provides both work and sleep space. The tents are equipped with a desk, cot, and rug for a comfortable camping experience, as well as kitchen utensils and food for self-prepared breakfast and lunch. Each tent is set apart from the others, but within a short walk to a base camp. Signal Fire organizers are stationed at the base camp, available for emergencies, unforeseen needs or friendly chats whenever needed. The group dines together each evening, on a meal prepared by Signal Fire at the base camp.

“Our Signal Fire Residency gave us the things that sound simple, but are so frequently hard to come by: Time. Space. Stillness. Ears. Heart. Eyes. We spent a week removed from anything except attention to these things, ourselves, our surroundings, and our work. I came home not just with a new array of sound clips or ideas, but with a freshness of spirit and eye that will feed my work for months to come.” -Lisa DeGrace, Studio M:13, Outpost Resident, 2015