At Large  March 12, 2024  Cynthia Close

10 Inspiring Artist Residencies Around the World

Created: Tue, 03/12/2024 - 10:04
Author: rozalia
Courtesy Essere Writer & Artist Residency

Essere Writer & Artist Residency

Artist residencies provide a lifeline for many artists. They supply space, time, and potential connections for future work while offering temporary relief from the pressures of daily life. 

Some residencies are genre specific. Most invite applications from across the media spectrum to encourage creative exchange between participants. They might include visual artists, performance artists, writers, dancers, composers, filmmakers, and artists working in new media. Experimental work is generally encouraged. The length of a residency can vary widely from one week to several months, as can the cost. And most residencies cover all expenses except travel to and from the residency site. 

Whether it's MacDowell, tucked away in serene Peterborough, New Hampshire or the Fondazione Antonio Ratti in majestic Como, Italy, these organizations also provide for inspirational settings for artists around the world in some incredible locations to keep the artistic spirit uplifted. If you're looking for your next artistic getaway, here are ten residencies worth your attention.  

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Courtesy Fondazione Antonio Ratti
Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy
Fondazione Antonio Ratti, Como, Italy

Fondazione Antonio Ratti, also known as FAR, was established in Como, Italy in 1950 by entrepreneur and textiles collector Antonio Ratti. More than 3,300 examples of textiles spanning continents, cultures and centuries in this archive form the basis of inspiration for those visual artists who apply for this residency program. They sponsor an annual calendar of workshops, research projects, publications, and public events related to the history of textiles. Keeping it in the family, the founder’s daughter, Annie Ratti now serves as director of the foundation.

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Courtesy Yaddo
The Mansion at Yaddo
Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, New York

The first artists arrived in 1926 on the sprawling 400 acres of Yaddoan artist residency program located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Yaddo boasts a long list of accomplished former residents that includes 82 Pulitzer Prize winners, 34 MacArthur Fellows, and 108 Rome Prize awardees. It's welcomed the artists Philip Guston, Jordan Casteel, Jacob Lawrence, and Henri Cartier Bresson as well as Truman Capote and James Baldwin. Simply being accepted to this respected institution can give an artist a career-enhancing boost. 

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Courtesy Fondation Fiminco
Fondation Fiminco, Paris, France
Fondation Fiminco, Paris, France

Located on the fringes of Paris, France, the Fondation Fiminco, is one of the most ambitious additions to artist’s residency programs worldwide. In 2019 a former industrial site was transformed into a creative mecca encompassing exhibition and performance spaces, seven art galleries, a film production company, a book design/publishing house, and a branch of the New York art and design school, Parsons Paris. The residency program is at the heart of Fondation Fiminco and is perhaps one of the most comprehensive of its kind, offering artists support through the entire creative process from research and fabrication to staging exhibitions.

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Courtesy MacDowell
The Main House at MacDowell
MacDowell, Peterborough, New Hampshire

Like Yaddo, MacDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire, is one of the oldest and most competitive residencies still offered today. Founded in 1907 by husband-and-wife team Edward and Marian MacDowell, a composer and pianist respectively, the pair chose sculptor Helen Mears and her sister, writer Mary Mears, as their first artist residents. This was evidence that the founders were forward thinking in an era when women creatives were unrecognized. One of the largest residencies, MacDowell hosts over 300 artists annually. Alice Sebold worked on The Lovely Bones while there, Leonard Bernstein worked on his Mass, and Thornton Wilder worked on Our Town, which was said to be inspired by the residency's town of Peterborough.

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Courtesy Essere
Essere Writer and Artist Residency, Tuscany, Italy
Essere Writer and Artist Residency, Tuscany, Italy

Established in 2023, Essere Writer and Artist Residency is set within a former medieval estate on a glorious hilltop in Tuscany. The location is magical, but the time frame is limited to a two-week stay during which artists are left on their own in a relaxed atmosphere. This might be a good opportunity for artists who are stuck or finding themselves between projects and in need of a change of scenery to get their creative juices flowing.


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Courtesy Casa Uno Residency
Casa Uno Residency
Casa Uno Residency, Costa Rica

Casa Uno Residency in the beautiful nurturing environment of semi-tropical Costa Rica was created by and is managed by JoAnne Tucker, a former dancer and now multidisciplinary artist. The application process for the residency may be less demanding than it is at older, well-known programs, providing an ideal alternative for a writer, visual artist, photographer, filmmaker, storyteller, poet, composer, performer or dancer/choreographer who can devote three weeks to a project. Though it may be far from home, this residency doesn't require a fee. The participating artist is responsible for travel to and from Costa Rica. 

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Courtesy Künstlerhaus Büchshenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria
Künstlerhaus Büchshenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria
Künstlerhaus Büchshenhausen, Innsbruck, Austria

The residency/fellowship Künstlerhaus Büchshenhausen located on the edge of the Tyrolian Alps in Innsbruck, Austria requires a long-term commitment of six months to one year, and is targeted at artists engaged in post-graduate work in visual arts that is academic or theoretical in nature. They welcome international applicants and English and/or German are required languages. As a rare treat, all expenses are paid at this residency, including travel to and from the site.

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Courtesy The Marble House Project
Marble House Project
The Marble House Project, Dorset Vermont

As part of their mission statement, the residency program at The Marble House Project in rural Dorset, Vermont, has a focus on conservation of natural resources. They select artists across a broad range of disciplines who are interested in building community by integrating small-scale organic food production with the arts. The grounds are situated on a former marble quarry providing a dynamic environment for creating new work.

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Courtesy ARCUS
ARCUS, Ibaraki, Japan
ARCUS, Ibaraki, Japan

Based in Ibaraki, Japan, about an hour outside of Tokyo, the ARCUS residency program is one of the most competitive. In 2023, two artists, one from the UK, the other from Japan, were selected from 330 applicants to spend 3 months, all expenses paid, working on their proposals. Participants receive a private studio, accommodations, living expenses, a production stipend, and staff support. (The living expense and production fee for 2023 was set at 567,000 JPY (roughly $3,800 at the time of this writing) and is subject to change).  

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Photo: Laurie Lambrecht. Via Robert Rauschenberg Foundation Website
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, Captiva Island, Florida
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, New York and Captiva Island, Florida

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation sponsors three residencies at the foundation’s New York headquarters and at artist Robert Rauschenberg’s former studio and home on Captiva Island, Florida. The expansive Florida property includes a collection of historic homes and studios and hosts residencies from four to eight weeks that serve 100 artists and scholars annually. The Florida residency is currently on pause. In September 2022, Category 4 Hurricane Ian made landfall in Upper Captiva with sustained winds of 150 mph. The two research-based Rauschenberg residencies in New York for art scholars are ongoing.   

About the Author

Cynthia Close

Cynthia Close holds a MFA from Boston University, was an instructor in drawing and painting, Dean of Admissions at The Art Institute of Boston, founder of ARTWORKS Consulting, and former executive director/president of Documentary Educational Resources, a film company. She was the inaugural art editor for the literary and art journal Mud Season Review. She now writes about art and culture for several publications.

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