Artists on the Trail

Artists have long created art about the New England landscape, drawing inspiration from the natural beauty of the region through which the New England Trail runs. The National Park Service hosts residency programs for artists in more than 50 parks around the country. In 2012, the NET hosted their first Artist-In-Residence (AiR). 

Meet our current and past AiR’s and check out their inspirational work!



During the 2024 Summer season, Emma will be creating intricate watercolor nature journal entries while section hiking the NET. Emma will share the macro and micro wonders of the trail with her art, workshops, and gallery exhibit showcasing her pieces inspired by the trail. Emma encourages people to get out and be creative. “Nature journaling doesn’t require many supplies. There’s no formula. Your art can be formed in whichever way feels right in the moment.” Emma looks forward to meeting you on the trail.

In 2019 we welcomed a new Artist -In-Residence to the New England Trail. Marisa Williamson joined us, leading a project along the trail called “Monuments to Escape.” Monuments to Escape is a public art project for which ten speculative and collaborative monuments were visualized over the course of 2019 and 2020. Through her art installations, monuments and performances along the trail Marisa sought provide answers to the question “On the scenic trail, what stories are memorialized and what has been forgotten?” Marisa is a Newark, NJ-based multimedia artist who has created site specific works at and in collaboration with the University of Virginia, Mural Arts Philadelphia, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, Storm King Art Center, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For more info about her work and this project please visit Monuments to Escape or follow the links above.

Ben Cosgrove served as the New England Trail’s first ever composer-in-residence beginning September, 2017. He worked throughout the year to write and present new music about the landscape of Southern New England based on his experiences with the trail. Ben is a traveling composer, pianist and multi-instrumentalist who draws his inspiration from his interests in landscape, place and, ecology. His music has been described as “stunning, compelling and powerful.” For more about Ben and to listen to his music, check out!

As the 2017- 18 artist in residence with the NET, Ben composed new music and gave performances along the trail. Please watch his newest videoBen Cosgrove: Moving Through Landscapes // Music on the New England Trail. This video provides an introduction to his time working on the New England Trail.

If you visited the NET during the summer and fall of 2017, you may have spotted the Scenic Kiosks created by William Van Beckum! Drawing on the tradition of scenic imagery in the American conservation movement, Van Beckum’s installations aimed to encourage tourism, recreation and conservation efforts. Van Beckum gathered images posted to Instagram by hikers and combined 20- 50 from each section, creating a visualized record of the communities involved with the trail. 

Head over to for more information about the Scenic Kiosk project and other ongoing installations!

David K. Leff served as the New England Trail’s first poet in residence in fall 2016. Leff was selected for his extensive experience as a hiker, natural resource conservationist, and nature poet.  Leff led poetry-based hikes and conducted nature poetry writing workshops. He also used his residency to probe the idea of “trailness” — the notion that connectivity is critical to human affairs and is also represented physically by a continuous footpath — through a series of Haibun, a marriage of prose and haiku. Check out David Leff’s Trail Poetry blog.

Artist profile video: Stories in Wind, Stone and Water: Poetry along the New England Trail

Xio (see-oh) is a nationally recognized artist, curator, writer, and speaker, and the NPS Centennial, NET Artist on the Trail! He has completed several commissions for the National Park Service, including African Burial Ground NM, Big Cypress NR, and Weir Farm NHS. He photographed the NET in both Massachusetts and Connecticut. “I’m excited by the challenge of working on my first national scenic trail,” said Xio, “and eager to learn about the New England Trail’s landscapes, natural and cultural history, the communities it touches, and the amazing volunteers who care for this treasure of a trail.” 

Richardson-Zlogar Cabin in Northfield MA © 2015

Artist profile videoUnseen Beauty: Photography by Xiomáro along the New England Trail

“A Sensory Walk on the New England Trail” 

In October 2015, artist Bibi Calderaro led a series of sensorial walks on the New England National Scenic Trail that explored the human connection with place through an in-depth walking experience. Bibi uses a unique approach to bring awareness to one’s surroundings and draw attention to the multiple ways one may connect with the land. Although aimed at enhancing the relationship between individuals and living landscapes, Bibi’s approach allows for a wide range of possibilities and insights from being truly present.

“Walking, in and of itself, is a grounding experience…it is to understand, relate…it is to be fully alive.” –Bibi Calderaro, Artist

“Parks to People”, was a community art project developed by Carolina Aragon, in collaboration with Smith College Students and an after-school program in Holyoke. The project goal was to create artwork that inspired the public to visit the New England Trail. The Holyoke Public Library, “Parks to People” celebrated the unveiling of new bus sign and exhibition opening. Carolina Aragon has created environmentally-focused art installations all over the country.

During the months of September, October, and November in 2013, the National Park Service, in cooperation with the Appalachian Mountain Club and Connecticut Forest & Park Association, presented TO BE AT THE FATHER EDGE: Photographs along the New England Trail/Barbara Bosworth, an exhibition of panoramic photographs taken along the trail over course of a year. The photographs were displayed at nine different sites – each with its own relationship to the trail – to form a unique exhibition that viewers can experience at their own pace and following their own path. The exhibition included a series of events ranging from hiking with the artist to lectures and discussions, all of which were enthusiastically attended. For more, check out the artist profile video.

In the summer of 2013 the Massachusetts Walking Tour thru-hiked the New England Trail in Massachusetts. With gear and instruments on their backs, they explored and celebrated the diverse landscape of the NET. Along the way, they performed free concerts at libraries, fields, farms and trail shelters, in support of bringing together NET trail communities through the arts. Take a listen to some of our favorite songs from the concerts on our youtube page.

NET hikers discovered something glowing on the trail in summer of 2012. The Hespera Stones, a temporary sculptural installation inscribed with poetry from Emily Dickinson’s “The Mountains Stood In Haze,” quietly greeted visitors as they explored the trail along the Mt. Holyoke Range in Skinner State Park in Hadley, MA. Artist, Christopher Frost, describes the look of the softly glowing stones as a combination of green technology and sculpture – the stones were cast with embedded LEDs and powered by solar panels hidden within the trees. The installation allowed for open-ended interpretation of the trail experience and the history of the surrounding communities through art. To learn more about this project, watch this interview with the artist.


The National Park Service’s Youth Ambassador Program (YAP) encourages young people to connect with the outdoors. The hip-hop group partnered with the NET in the fall of 2012 to compose a creative music video about their experience on the trail. Part of their 2015 “Centennial!” video for the National Park Service was also filmed on the NET. Click to view these hip-hop interpretations of the NET.

application and selection process

The New England National Scenic Trail is not currently accepting applications.


Artists of all mediums are encouraged to apply! The goal of the program is to encourage and inspire artistic connection with the Trail.