Sunday, September 24, 2023
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How Some Artists See the World for Free (and how you can, too)

Looking out at another dark morning, Astrid started to wonder if the sun would ever make its way back. Part of her knew that she wondered this every January, but it never made things easier. And this year the darkness of the winter world seemed to reflect the feeling she had been quietly carrying for some time when it came to her art. Astrid felt a bit stuck these days, the path before her that once seemed bright and promising had become a dimly lit slog through the same thing day in and day out.

As fate would have it, the next week a friend called to ask if Astrid could drive her to the airport in a few days time. She was leaving for six weeks for an art residency abroad. As they drove to the airport on another dark morning, Astrid listened to her friend’s exuberance as the embarked on this adventure.

When she got home, Astrid grabbed her laptop and investigated the residency her friend was headed to. She started to wonder what else was out there and whether she, too could find something to pull her out of this dark spot.

A year later, Astrid was standing at the departure gate at Laguardia herself, about to board a plane bound for her own three-week paid residency in southern Europe. This would be the January she followed the light.

It’s not at all uncommon to feel stagnant as an artist trying to navigate the ins and outs of your career. Walking the same paths day after day, juggling the responsibilities of work, life, art, and all the other minutiae can start to feel like a dark cloud blocking the light of what used to be your creative inspiration.

Sometimes stepping out of our day to day circumstances for a little while, adventuring to new horizons, inviting new perspectives, can be just the thing to help clear away the dark skies and let the light back in.

As an artist, there is a whole world of residency opportunities out there just waiting to be tapped. But you have to commit to doing the work to find them and apply.

  • Build time into your regular schedule to search for residencies that match your area of expertise
  • Have a polished bio and artist statement ready to go at all times to streamline application processes
  • Do not, under any circumstances, get discouraged just because you don’t land the first–or the first ten–residencies. Keep at it.

Praxis Center not only offers the support you need to take you through every step of the application process, from polishing your bio and statement to managing timelines, we also offer a curated list of residencies, open calls, and grants all over the world. There absolutely are residencies out there that are just right for you. Finding them and applying are the first steps toward breaking out of the routine and letting the light back in.


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