Although it can sometimes feel like the establishment overlooks artistic endeavors, artist residencies are a great reminder of the amazing organizations in America that truly validate and foster the arts. Residencies provide a sanctified space for artists (alone or in a collective) to channel their creativity in a safe, supportive, and inspiring environment. They're also really effing cool! Here, writer Angella D'Avignon gives us her picks for some of the most amazing residency programs in the US.
The two most important resources an artist has is space and time to make their work. Whether you've attended art school or not, securing a residency is a great way to dive deeper into your practice and make connections with other artists in a fresh environment catered specifically to an artist's needs. Artist-in-residence programs range in duration, location, price, and focus, from heavily scheduled intensives to entirely self-directed free time. Most residencies are offered to emerging artists, emerging meaning an artist that is actively making artwork in the early stages of their career. I've found some of the most innovative and exciting residencies for your consideration. Happy applying!
Photos via Skohegan Art.
Where: Lake Wesserunsett, Maine
How Long: Nine weeks (mid-June to mid-August)
How Many Artists: 65
Part art commune, part summer camp, Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture is probably one of the most sought after residencies. The program admits artists over the age of 21 who may or may not have an academic background in art and includes one-on-one critiques, faculty lectures, and apparently, plenty of partying. Barns, art, and fun, what more could you want? Tuition is a little steep at $5,500, though partial fellowships are available to those who demonstrate need. Apply online here.
Photos via Ox Bow.
Where: Saugatuck, Michigan
How Long: Two to five weeks
How Many Artists: 25 to 30
Ox-Bow is one of the oldest and most prestigious art schools in the U.S.. Evenings feature slide lectures, studio visits, and other arts programming leaving you with the entire day to work in your studio or meet with other artists (It's also open to writers!). A little catch: Ox-Bow is only offered to recent MFA graduates or students who are currently working toward their MFA. However, it is fully funded for those who are accepted. Apply online here.
Photo via Container Artist Residency.
Where: The sea (!?!)
How Long: One month
How Many Artists: 12
The newest and coolest residency is the Container Artist Residency. Announced in 2015, Container takes artists onboard commercial container carriers along existing international shipping routes. You'll be living at sea in a cabin making work that responds to this atypical travel experience. The art produced during the month at sea will be presented in a final show which is accompanied by an exhibition catalogue, screenings, and lectures. Applying candidates should crave solitude, as each artist is paired with a different international route, meaning you will be alone for almost the entire time. A major perk: the residency is fully funded and you get to pick your route! Apply here.
Photos via Willapa Bay AiR.
Where: Oysterville, Washington
How Long: One month
How Many Artists: 6
If you love open spaces, water, and wind then Willapa Bay Artist in Residency (AiR) is the program for you. Situated on sixteen acres in coastal southwest Washington state, AiR is specifically designed to combine an opportunity for solitude as well as daily interaction with a community that seeks the same creative goals. It's self-directed, meaning you can spend your time however you'd like with lodging, meals, and a work space included at no cost. Only six residents are chosen, but multiple sessions are available throughout the year, making this one of the more flexible programs. Apply online here.
Photos via US National Parks Services.
Where: US National Parks
How Long: Varies
How Many Artists: Varies
Did you know you could do a residency at the Grand Canyon? National Parks services offer 42 artist-in-residence programs throughout the nation with their Arts in the Parks initiative. They range in duration and mode including month-long live/work experiences, to a volunteer program, to a paid staff option. This involves working as a seasonal employee to create public works, like murals or outdoor sculptures, for the park of your choosing. All the programs vary significantly and less than 10% provide studio space or stipend, so make sure to look into which program would be best for you. Check it out here.
Photos via Vermont Studio Center.
Where: Johnson, Vermont
How Long: Four to twelve weeks
How Many Artists: 50
Cost: $1,000 per week
Composed of thirty historical buildings located along the Gihon River in the northern Green Mountains of Vermont, the Vermont Studio Center is one of the largest international artist and writers residencies in the U.S.. Meals are served and prepared by an in-house chef and I have heard more than once that the food is incredible. Need-based scholarships are definitely available, but be prepared to front at least part of your funding as the residency fee comes out to about $1,000 per week. Admission is rolling for a good portion of the year, apply online here.
Photos via Marfa Contemporary.
Where: Marfa, Texas
How Long: Two months
How Many Artists: 1
While Marfa, Texas has long been a far-out destination for artists all over the world, it is just now starting to get recognized as a viable arts scene (don't tell the developers!). Located in the high desert of West Texas, weird and magical Marfa is home to the Chinati Foundation, an arts organization dedicated to preserving historic, large-scale public works that are site-specific and intrinsically linked to the surrounding landscape. Their resident program is funded, including a furnished apartment and studio, covered travel costs, and a stipend of $1,100 per month for U.S. residents. Apply online here.
Photos via FIAR.
Where: Fire Island, New York
How Long: Six weeks
How Many Artists: 5
Inaugurated in 2011, the Fire Island Art Residency is open to emerging queer artists and hosts five selected artists in the secluded community of Cherry Grove on Fire Island, New York. Fire Island has been an unofficial hangout for queer artists, writers, and poets in the 1950's and beyond. This summer residency, (called FIAR for short) is the first residency in the U.S. exclusively for artists identifying as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. There's a $45 application fee but the rest of the residency is covered with amenities like a free live/work space in a converted beach house, a meal stipend, and studio visits with renowned queer artists, as well as visiting artist talks. Check it out here.