I've been accepted into four more programs so far, including ArtscapeGibraltar Point in Toronto, Listhùs in Iceland, Jiwar International Residence for Artists in Barcelona and the Institut für Alles Mögliche in Berlin. I'll be spending a month at each residence this Summer and will post reviews as I go in case you're interested in finding out more about them.
A big factor that is allowing me to accept so many opportunities is that my wife and I have secured location independent work and can earn a salary along the way. That said, you don't necessarily need to travel, have a special job or lots of vacation time to be able to participate in a residency program. There are a ton of opportunities out there for every kind of artist and life situation - whether you want to participate for one weekend or a whole year, whether you want to spend thousands or if you need to apply for a grant or subsidy to help you get there.
These 3 websites have been extremely helpful for finding residency programs:
- ResArtis - www.resartis.org
- TransArtists - http://www.transartists.org/
- Residency Unlimited - http://www.residencyunlimited.org/
Most programs that I've seen on these sites have an application and selection process similar to a grant or exhibition application to determine which artists can attend. They usually require some or all of the following support materials to apply:
- Application form
- Project proposal or letter of intent
- Artist resume
- Artist statement
- Images/samples of your work
- Letter(s) of recommendation
It can be quite a bit of work to complete each application so it's important for you to do your research in advance and focus on applying to the programs that you think will be a good fit for you.
Here are some things to consider when you're searching for a program:
What can the program offer you? Make sure you think about what you want to get out of the experience when you're choosing which programs to apply to. Does the program offer an exhibition, critiquing, networking or training opportunities? Do they have equipment that you can't access at home or do they provide you with some materials? You're investing time and maybe also some money into the experience so make sure it's going to help you achieve your goals.
The cost of a residency program varies massively depending on the organization and the location. Some are able to pay for your travel, materials and living expenses and might offer an artist fee while others can charge thousands of dollars. When considering the cost of a residency, be sure to budget for your travel, materials, shipping finished works home, food & entertainment, residency fees etc. If you're in Canada, the best option for funding all or part of your residency is to apply for a travel grant or residency award with your municipal or provincial art council, or with the Canada Council for the Arts. Keep in mind that there are also some alternative ways to fund your project. For example, I've seen many artists raise money for residencies using crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter with great success.
As an artist it might feel strange to pay for residency programs, but the truth is that many amazing organizations can't afford to completely subsidize your stay. At the same time, some residencies might charge a lot of money and not offer much in return. If you have to pay a residency fee, do your homework and make sure that you're paying a reasonable amount.
When selecting the location of your residency, consider if you want to be in an urban environment so that you can take advantage of shops, cafes and public transit, or if you want a rural environment that will be a bit more relaxed but where you'll probably need a car to get around.
If you're traveling internationally, look into the visa requirements for the country you're visiting and think about how you'll get there. For example, to get to Elsewhere Studios I had to fly into Denver, take a 5 hour bus ride to the closest bus station and then find a ride for the last hour and a half. It was a long trip, but when I got there it was totally worth the crazy trek!
Think about whether you want to meet other artists and engage with the local community or if you're looking for a more solitary experience. I really enjoyed my set-up in Paonia where I had my own room and studio so I could create alone, but I could hang out with the other artists when I was done working.
There are lots of things to consider when choosing an artist in residence program but I'm sure that if you spend a couple of hours reading through the exciting artist-in-residence programs on the sites I shared with you, you'll find something that inspires you!
Leave a comment if you have any questions about my experience or if you want to share yours. I'd love to hear from you!