Artist-in-Residence Program

A woman in a volunteer shirt and hat photographing yellow flowers in the prairie.

Photographer Linda Staats was one of two Artists-in-Residence in 2008.

Linda Staats


Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Program at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site promotes creative means of communicating the park's national significance and its relevance to park visitors.

Herbert Hoover National Historic Site is not accepting applications for artist residencies this year. A listing of other National Park Service Artist-in-Residence programs can be found at


Artists in National Parks

Artists have been part of national parks since the 1870s when famed painters played a vital role in documenting the majestic landscapes of the West. It was through their works of art that many first saw these special places in America. Today artists are working in more than 40 national parks through Artist-in-Residence (AIR) Programs.

The residencies at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site allow selected artists to communicate the park's national significance through their artwork. A selection of visual arts contributions by the park's Artists-in-Residence are displayed at the visitor center and at the West Branch Public Library.

Selected Former Artists-in-Residence
Artist-in-Residence Emily Melhorn

Writer Emily Melhorn in Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park in California.

Emily Melhorn

Emily Melhorn

September 12-November 2, 2013

Emily Melhorn is a writer currently living in Los Angeles. She was a former journalist for The Gettysburg Times, The Evening Sun, and NoHo News. Ms. Melhorn wrote a column "Living the Dream" for many years for The Gettysburg Times. She has had short stories and plays published in Red Weather, received the John V.A. Weaver Prize in Poetry, and Fiction Honorable Mention for Hayden's Ferry Review. Ms. Melhorn was Artist-in-Residence at Homestead National Monument of America in 2012. She is looking forward to writing at the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site and adding to the depth of work about Herbert Hoover. "I would like to put my writings about Herbert Hoover in the context of current issues and events," said Ms. Melhorn.

Children's artwork from Artist-in-Residence Program

Artist Vivian Hyelim Kim visited the first and second grade art classes at Herbert Hoover Elementary School in West Branch. She taught them how to cut folded paper pattern, with which they decorated their classroom wall.

NPS Photo

Vivian Hyelim Kim

April 2-May 25, 2013

Vivian Hyelim Kim was born in South Korea and was raised in the U.S. She received her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute in New York and BFA from Arizona State University Herberger College of Fine Arts. She has had solo shows at Chashama Gallery in New York City and in Seoul, South Korea. She has also participated in numerous group shows and is a recipient of a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. She has been awarded residencies at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, New York Mills Residency, Paducah Artist in Residence, Vermont Studio Center and the Contemporary Artists Center. "I wish to observe the plants, flowers, and other organic elements at Herbert Hoover National Historic Site," said Ms. Kim, "and use their forms and patterns in my paper cut outs."

Cut paper and paint on canvas by Vivian Hyelim Kim

"Prairie" by Vivian Hyelim Kim

Vivian Hyelim Kim

Artist-in-Residence Steven S. Walker at work on a landscape painting.

Steven S. Walker at work on one of his landscape paintings.

NPS Photo

Steven S. Walker

July 29-August 11, 2012

Born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and raised in Virginia, Steven S. Walker has been creating artwork for most of his life. A former freelance illustrator and college instructor, Mr. Walker found peace of mind and inspiration painting the back roads and rustic barns of Virginia. He has exhibited several solo shows and in various national exhibitions such as the 2012 Salon International and the Richeson 75 Landscape Show. Mr. Walker resides in Westerville, Ohio with his loving wife and biggest fan, Evelyn.

Edge of the Prairie by Stephen S. Walker

"Edge of the Prairie", 2012 by Steven S. Walker

Steven S. Walker

Artist-in-Residence Missy Gaido Allen teaches photograph6 to kids.

Photographer Missy Gaido Allen teaches kids about nature photography in the tallgrass prairie.

NPS Photo

Missy Gaido Allen

2012 Artist-in-Residence

Born in Houston, Texas in 1968, Missy Gaido Allen studied studio art and art history in the United States and Italy. She holds a Master's in Art History from Rice University and a Ph.D. in Art History from the University of Iowa. Ms. Allen's images are in the permanent collections of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and multiple private collections. She has exhibited her work widely in solo and group exhibitions and has licensed images to Sony and Hasselblad. Ms. Allen lives in Iowa with her family.

Photograph by Artist-in-Residence Missy Gaido Allen

"Tallgrass Prairie" by Missy Gaido Allen

Missy Gaido Allen

Artist-in-Residence Megan Coe

Writer M.S. Coe and "Poetry Sprouts" write poems on construction paper.

NPS Photo

M.S. Coe

July 4-July 20, 2011

M.S. Coe grew up in the Sonoran and Mojave deserts. She worked at the University of Arizona Poetry Center and as a reader for Sonora Review and is currently an assistant editor of Epoch literary magazine. She teaches English and creative writing at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she will receive her MFA degree. Her fiction often explores the disassociation characters feel when placed into strange environments and how they reconcile with their surroundings.

Read M.S. Coe's short story, "Summer Yardscape" (PDF file, 2,063 KB) »

Artist-in-Residence Gaynell Gavin

Writer Gaynell Gavin led a nonfiction writing workshop at Herbert Hoover NHS in 2011.

Gaynell Gavin

Gaynell Gavin

May 28-June 20, 2011

Gaynell Gavin's prose and poetry has been published in many literary journals and anthologies, including Fourth Genre, North Dakota Quarterly, The Best of the Bellevue Literary Review (Bellevue Literary Press), Nebraska Presence (Backwaters Press), and Best New Poets 2006 (Samovar Press). Her poetry chapbook, Intersections, was published by Main Street Rag Publishing. Her essay, "What We Have," published in Prairie Schooner, was included among "Notable Essays " in The Best American Essays 2009. This essay, like much of her work, is grounded in the Midwest. She is originally from Illinois and is a faculty member at Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Read Gaynell Gavin's essay "Reflections of a Prairie Neophyte Topophiliac" (PDF file, 1,807 KB) »

Back Door at Hoover Cottage

"Back Door at Hoover Cottage" by Patricia Rottino Cummins

Patricia Rottino Cummins

Patricia Rottino Cummins

Oct. 17-24, 2009

Patricia Rottino Cummins of Miami, Florida, has been an art educator for over thirty years in the Miami Dade Public Schools. Her works of art are inspired by local landscapes, as well as by the vistas she has seen and photographed during her many travels and National Park residencies. "Lately I find myself closely concentrating on each landscape," said Ms. Cummins, "and discovering that unique element that interprets the moment, feeling, and importance of the subject."

Artist-in-Residence Laura Madeline Wiseman

Writer Laura Madeline Wiseman exhibited her research at Hooverfest in 2009.

Laura Madeline Wiseman

Laura Madeline Wiseman

July 14-August 2, 2009

Laura Madeline Wiseman is a PhD student in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Ms. Wiseman's great-great-great-grandmother Matilda Fletcher Wiseman, an Iowa native who lectured across the Midwest in the 19th century, inspires her current research and writing project. "These poems capture not only her life and work," said Ms. Wiseman, "but also the natural landscape of the American West, where she was born and where she lived most of her life."

Read Laura Madeline Wiseman's poem "Maternal Lineage" (PDF file, 73 KB) »


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