It’s good to get away. For all of us, a change of scene can mean the difference between remaining productive and sinking into the dull freeze of monotony. For artists, this may be especially true since inspiration is often drawn from new experience and new surroundings. Taking the time to get away is not just good for the spirit, it is good business. Residencies around the world offer artists the opportunity to do exactly this. There are programs in every corner of the globe for durations of a few days to a year or more. Residencies are no vacation of course, often they are quite rigorous with high expectations for participants’ time and effort. But landing a residency can not only open up new horizons in your personal journey as an artist, it can be a serious boost to your career. Here are five of the top artist residencies in the world today.
Over a century ago, this world renowned art school and retreat was founded by two students from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Frederick Fursman and Walter Marshall Clute. The idea was to offer a place for art students to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Over the first few years, the school moved location a bit but remained in the same rural region along the banks of the Kalamazoo River and Lake Michigan. Today, Oxbow is one of the best known residencies for artists offering programs to both emerging and established artists. There are opportunities for residency, education, and teaching. There are residencies in summer and fall as well as artist fellowships. Funding is available through a separate application process.
Whitney Independent Study Program
Anyone who has spent more than a minute in the art world is likely familiar with The Whitney Museum of American Art. The Independent Study Program selects a total of 25 students each year to participate in programs focused on studio art, curation, and critical studies. Fifteen students participate in the studio art program during which they produce work for an exhibition that takes place at the end of the program duration. Four curatorial students collaborate to mount an exhibition at one of Whitney’s museum branches. Six students in the critical studies program work closely with an art historian, critic, or cultural theorist on research intensives to produce papers presented during a symposium at the end of the program. Students who are currently enrolled in a degree program can receive credit for their participation in the Independent Study Program. Financial assistance is available based on need.
Rome Prize Fellowship
Rome has been a global cultural hub for literally thousands of years. The American Academy in Rome was founded to tap into this vein of timeless culture in order to offer a place where artists can spend time surrounded by the inspiration of millennia. Each year, Rome Prize Fellowships are awarded, allowing artists to partake in the experience of living on the eleven acre campus in Rome. Fellowships include room and board, a stipend, and individual studio space. The Rome Prize Fellowship is only open to US citizens.
Eyebeam residencies are aimed at artists working with technology or technologists whose work relates to the arts. Residencies are intensive and last for an entire calendar year in Brooklyn, New York. Participants must be willing to devote time three days each week to professional development and group feedback. Heavy participation and presence is expected and necessary in order to succeed. Eyebeam offers residents a generous stipend during their tenure as well as access to cutting edge facilities and networking opportunities. Eyebeam is open to international citizens. They do not provide housing but will assist in finding suitable accommodation as well as in the Visa process if needed.
DAAD Artist in Residence Program
This Berlin artist residency has an alumni list that includes John Cage, Margaret Atwood, and Damien Hirst, among others. The program is open to emerging artists from around the world and lasts six months to one year depending on field. Initiated by the Ford Foundation in 1963, the program was then taken over by the German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdinst—hence the moniker DAAD) and offers grants to up to twenty artists each year. The program is intended to be a conduit for cultural exchange as well as a catalyst for furthering the careers of artists who show demonstrable talent but have yet to become fully established in the field.
There are two facets to IASPIS residency. One is to offer residency in Sweden to twelve Swedish and international artists and the other is to offer residencies abroad to eight Swedish artists. The aim of the program is to allow for exchange between Swedish artists and artists from the wider world in order to promote cultural awareness and artistic development. The programs in Sweden take place in Stockholm, Malmo, Gothenburg, and Umea. Four spots are available in the Stockholm residency for Swedish citizens. Residencies abroad for Swedish artists take place in Berlin, Beijing, Cairo, Jingdezhen, London, New York, Tokyo, and Mexico City.