Apply for a residency or make your own

Summer seems the perfect season to consider a residency – a time to indulge for an extended period, in a special place, just for your art. Sometimes, a residency deadline is even more important than the next grant deadline. A residency can help you find your new direction or deepen the work you’ve already started. Building a body of work, no matter the stage of your career, is often the best next step.

Some websites list residencies all over the world – where you could be the only artist or one among many. Some residencies even provide stipends to cover some expenses. As many of you have heard me say in my workshops, you could secure a prestigious residency and then apply for a professional development grant to pay for the costs of attending like travel, childcare, and so on.

For free information on international residencies visit: or

For residency information for a fee, visit

But what if you feel like a residency tomorrow or next week? Then make one for yourself!

Remember that a residency consists of two parts: time and space. So, find a time and block it out on your calendar. It could be a morning or a day. The space could be your office or your studio with the wi-fi turned off and a candle burning to remind you that this day is special.

Or you could host a day for a couple of artists to meet in your home or studio – with all your phones turned off and some guidelines for when you’ll work, when you’ll share and when you’ll eat lunch.

When I need a residency, I block out a day in my office. I don’t need to announce it to anyone. I prepare the night before so I know exactly what I’ll work on. When I arrive, I unplug wi-fi so I have fewer temptations to escape. I might buy lunch that day (so it feels more special than my usual brown bag lunch). I might use my timer and plan time for stretching so I can keep my body lose between the stillness of writing.

Find a residency by looking at these websites or make your own even if the best you can do is a mini-residency – it can make all the difference in your work.

Photo by William Felker