Prudence Island Artist in Residence Program

The PI AiR program offers artists across a variety of disciplines the opportunity to spend time and be inspired by the natural beauty of Prudence Island and Narragansett Bay and to learn about the mission and activities of the nature reserve and the history of the island. 

Prudence Island is part of the traditional and ancestral lands of Wampanoag, Narragansett, and Pokanoket people past, present and future. The Narragansett name for Prudence Island is Chibachuwese or  Chibachuwesset, which has been translated as “Little place separated by a passage” and “the place apart”.

The Residency is based at the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve (NBNERR), South Prudence Island in Portsmouth, RI. The Reserve is a state-federal partnership between NOAA and RI Department of Environmental Management, and comprises 4400 acres on Prudence Island. NBNERR is part of a national network of 30 reserves whose mission is to practice and promote coastal and estuarine stewardship through innovative research and education, using a system of protected areas. 

NBNERR facilities include a visitor’s center / laboratory / office building, an education / classroom building and outdoor pavilion, and two dormitory structures that have 3-4 bedrooms, bathrooms, full kitchens, and laundry facilities. Most areas of the NBNERR campus are ADA compliant. There is no dedicated art space and artists-in-residence must bring all materials and supplies needed to generate their work. Access to the island is by ferry only. The Prudence Island ferry leaves from Thames St. in Bristol (schedules vary seasonally). 

Want to know more before you apply? Watch this video of a recent information session

Current Artists

MJ Sanqui, Artist in Residence 2024-2025

MJ Sanqui is a Filipino artist, writer, and designer from Western North Carolina, currently living in Providence, RI. Their practice fluidly incorporates print, paper, photography, text, and the book form to explore the interactions of personal and collective histories, ruderal ecologies, and remediated archives. They are a former resident and current member of the Binch Press / Queer.Archive.Work studio, a co-organizer of the Queer & Trans Zine Fest, and a triple water sign.

Suzanne Lima Pickford, Artist in Residence 2024-2025

Suzanne Lima Pickford is a Rhode Island public high school English and Creative Writing teacher of twenty-five years. She holds a B.A. and an M.A. in Creative Writing and Literature and is a member of the Read Across Rhode Island Education Committee, as well as the International Women’s Writing Guild (IWWG). Pickford serves as a mentor to countless high school writers and publishes an annual literary and arts magazine for teenage artists and writers each year. She writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction, as well as book reviews on IG @suzannepickford. Pickford has been published in Grown and Flown, The Providence Journal, and IWWG’s Network magazine.

Kathy HodgeArtist in Residence 2024-2025

Kathy Hodge was born in Providence and began to paint in oils as a teenager. She studied
painting at the Rhode Island School of Design and completed her BFA at the Swain School of
Design in New Bedford, MA.
On returning to Providence in the1980’s, she was inspired by the drama of the industrial
waterfront and began the first of many series of paintings. These included the stark organic
forms of salt marshes as well as man-made environments: church facades, Russian
cityscapes, shoemaking machinery and paintings inspired by the view out a train window.
She continued to pursue her interest in the natural landscape through the National Park Artist
in Residence Program i in 15 national parks and forests across the country, from Acadia to
Zion, Alaska to Arizona.
Her studio is in East Providence where she am currently working on a series of tangled Rhode
Island landscapes to be exhibited at the Providence Art Club in June, 2024.

Contact Sheryl Kopel, founding director of the Prudence Island AiR program, at