Artist-in-Residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to provide artists and creative people for time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. Residencies provide a time of research, production and/or presentation and reflection. This time also allows individuals to explore his/her practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered exchange and immersion.
For those artists sure in their direction as artists, a residency can provide that vital time to explore their craft and content, or to build a body of work for exhibition. While there is often a lively exchange between resident artists (if there is more than one in a place), not all residencies offer the type of dialogue recently graduated students are used to. A Residency is a good time to become more sure of one’s own practice, without the influence of assignment or critique. This can be a lonely time for some, particularly if the artist has not developed the skills to work without outside direction.
Some residency programs are incorporated within larger institutions. Other organizations exist solely to support residential exchange programs. Residencies can be a part of museums, universities, galleries, studio spaces, theaters, artist-run spaces, municipalities, governmental offices, and even festivals. They can be seasonal, ongoing, or tied to a particular one-time event. They exist in urban spaces, rural villages, container ships and deep in nature. Hundreds of such opportunities and organizations exist throughout the world.
There is no single model, and the expectations and requirements vary greatly. The relationship between the resident and the host is often an important aspect of a residency program. Sometimes residents become quite involved in a community – giving presentations, workshops, or collaborating with local artists or the general public. At other times, they are quite secluded, with ample time to focus and investigate their own practice.
Residency programs utilize a wide range of financial models. In some situations, residents must finance their own stay, finding funding and support from their own countries and networks. There are also residency programs that provide part or all of the required finances to invited guests.
The application processes also vary widely; not all programs organize an open call for applications. Some opportunities are by invitation only, or are offered through special partnerships with other institutions, funding bodies, or organizations.
While the majority of fully funded residencies are available only to those with an MFA, there are a large number of artist residencies available for those just having recently completed a BA or BFA. As stated above, there is no single model. When choosing a residency, it is wise to take several things into account:
- Length of Residency
- Financial opportunities: teaching, jobs
- Resume building
Many times a residency experience is only the beginning of a longer relationship. Residents often return to complete a project they started, to begin a new collaboration, or participate in an exhibition, panel or workshop.
Residency Sources: There are any number of ways to find residency opportunities. Below are a few sources to begin your research.