Artist residencies play a valuable role in the arts ecosystem by building more resilient artist communities. Artists have ample opportunities to build on their professional skill set through art residency opportunities worldwide, with a wide-ranging selection of prestigious and lesser-known options for artists and creatives to select from, the possibilities can seem endless! Key to a resilient and resourceful network for artists, artist residencies offer a space for creatives to connect, host studio visits, make work, learn and forge new connections. Many of these opportunities also culminate in an exhibition of the artists-in-residence.
While there are several comprehensive surveys on artist residencies, ranging from publications to online lists, most important is the quality of life and career development a residency can provide to the participating creatives. Residencies take a valuable share of resources, requiring an artist to donate time and, often, money as well. In the spirit of shedding light on groundbreaking artist residency opportunities, we have gathered advice and insights from key stakeholders in the world of art residencies here as a guide to selecting the best artist residency for you!
Artist Communities: Choose Wisely
Before selecting an artist residency to further your professional career development, first make sure you solicit advice from artist communities who have already gone through these experience before you. Online residency review sites ResArtis and startup Rivet both give artists the ability to gain an inside look into residency pros and cons prior to signing on the dotted line. With feedback from past artists-in-residence, artist communities come together to provide fair, level-headed insights into the resources and support level new residents can expect at each residency. Second only to attending an info session, these websites focus on providing real-time, honest reviews, documenting the level of quality residency applicants can expect via crowdsourced reflections from the artists who have personally experienced these opportunities.
When weighing which residency you apply to it can be critical to examine the personal factors that will weigh on the types of opportunities you are seeking out. Rivet Co-Founder, and founder, Rate My Residency, Katrina Neumann reflects on the different concerns that artists applying to residencies will be considering during their research into the best options available to them. In her interview with Arts Podcast “The Conversation”, Neumann reflects on the aspects of a residency that mean the most to the artists applying. “A residency does break down to (factors such as) time, space, money, and networking. For example, if you have a family and you need to get out (to work), this (residency) could be cheaper than a studio in New York City… it’s cheaper to go to a residency that allows families. As an individual, you have to weigh this opportunity versus something more local.” A practicing artist herself, Neumann weighs in on the benefits that a good residency imparts on participating artists. “I’m a believer in these residencies, this is where creativity is born in these spaces when you have time.”
Weighing in: Inside Insight on Artist Communities
With innumerable residencies to choose from, artists should focus on specific opportunities aligned with their career and professional practice. One particular residency open to painters who are seeking a supportive, environment facilitating networking and providing ample resources is Golden Artist Residency. Open to artist residents working as painters, the residency has built up a reputation since 2012 as a site for painters to receive instruction, networking opportunities, large studio space, and much more. Envisioned by and supported by the family behind Golden Artist Colors, the residency allows artists the rare opportunity to get hands-on experience in color mastery with industry insiders. Barbara Golden, Golden Foundation Director, notes that the residency offers ample opportunity for hands-on professional development. “Residents meet face to face with the Material Application Specialists of the company, and participate in six to eight sessions of in-depth analysis of the properties of hundreds of acrylic, oil, and watercolor paints and mediums, by creating sample boards,” reflects Golden. “Sessions also include sharing information on the latest available research of the paints, health and safety issues, best studio practices, and environmentally friendly methods for disposal of waste materials in the studio, to name just a few. Additionally, the technicians are available for one-on-one consulting with the artists, on any projects, concerns, or road blocks regarding their artwork. The labs are often tasked with creating a custom product for the artists, based on their ideas and requests.”
Golden also provides specific insights into how artists are supported in the development of new proejcts over the course of their residency. “We assist artists in the professional development of their careers by providing them with resources and materials that have been rigorously tested and backed by research, and that are state of the art. As artists search for new ideas, materials often become paramount to their projects. We believe that an artist’s professional development should include the practice of being responsible for the production of their work, for understanding best practices and techniques, and for making best choices about the materials they use. “
In addition to artist open studio events open to the public, and e-blasts and social media announcements promoting their artists, Golden Artist Residency centers their resources around creating networking opportunities for artists in their residencies by ensuring they sustain vibrant artist communities. “Studios at the residency are open studios, this is not the kind of residency where an artist can close a door and be isolated. There is much interaction between the residents, attending the Technical programs together, learning by listening to each other’s questions, comparing samples and samples and samples of dried paint and medium surfaces that they have generated.” Golden hones in on the potential for artists to realize their potential by engaging with other artists also in the residency. “This interaction creates dialogue and a community that often keeps in touch with each other long after the 4 weeks of residency ends. The opportunity to interact with each other, to share meals, to be together with like-minded professional artists, allows artists of all ages, to develop professionally. Additionally, we visit other local residencies, further widening the residents’ connections with others who have come from all over the world.”
The amount of artist residencies available to creative working across disciplines is substantial. Whether looking for the residency opportunity that will launch your career or a retreat to escape it all, make sure you invest your time and energy wisely by pursuing and selecting opportunities that create dialogue, opportunities and facilitate stronger artist communities for participating artists.
Familiar with artist residency opportunities? Want to share your own feedback from residencies you’ve attended, or have advice for artists headed off to a residency for the first time? Share your insights in the comments below!