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North America’s Most Beautiful Arts and Music Residencies

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For many of us, creating works of art takes a certain level of inspiration and solitude — time to reflect and a surrounding environment that suits our mental well-being. Whether we’re composing, songwriting, or producing music and sound, the act of creation is often at its best when it’s organic.

This is why creative residencies are so vital. They take us out of our hot, urban apartments and out of our busy, chore-laden lives. The best residencies for many of us are situated in natural settings that are purely inspirational in and of themselves, much lass as a result of the institutions or art centers hosting us.

Residencies help us feel renewed and able to dive right into our practice, removing the excess stress of everyday life. Sometimes you just have to get away to get inspired. So we’ve put together a delectable list of some of North America’s most captivating arts and music residencies, in case you’re on the hunt for your next creative adventure. Enjoy!

National Parks Art Foundation

Location: Various national parks in the USA

Want to get paid to hang out near a volcano in Hawaii or in the heart of Death Valley and make art? US national parks host several different residency programs in some of the country’s most breathtaking parks. 

Program fees: Housing is included, usually located just outside the parks for easy access, and most will come with a $2,000 stipend. Artists are responsible for their own travel, supplies, and food. The cost to apply is between $55 and $150.

Application details: Apply here

Chalk Hill Residency

Location: Healdsburg, California

Located an hour and a half north of San Francisco, on a ranch in Sonoma County wine country, artists of all media are provided with 2-10 weeks of accommodation and work space on the Warnecke Ranch and Vineyard. Resident artists stay in a three-bedroom, 1920s farm house, with studio spaces provided in repurposed barns. It’s perfectly peaceful while offering plenty of opportunities to attend open houses, workshops, lectures, and of course, the chance to mingle with the other artists. 

Program fees: The residency fee, including room, studio, and residency programming, is $400/week ($57/day). Sponsorships are awarded based on merit and need. The cost to apply is $25.

Application details: Apply here.

Djerassi

Location: Woodside, California

With an emphasis on preserving the land they work on, and using their facilities in a way that provides maximum benefit to the artist with the least impact on the environment, Djerassi is situated on a 583-acre ranch in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. Their programs are open to national and international mid-career level artists, and residencies are awarded at no cost, for a range of sessions lasting anywhere from four to five weeks long.

Program fees: Dinner is provided Monday through Friday by the on-site chef but all other meals (weekday and weekend) are the responsibility of the resident. The cost to apply is $45.

Application details: Apply here

Yaddo

Location: Saratoga Springs, New York

Catering to professional musicians, media-makers, writers, and performers, Yaddo is situated on a gorgeous, sprawling 400-acre estate in beautiful upstate New York. The program’s residencies last anywhere from two weeks to two months, and include room, board, and a studio. You can apply as an individual or even as members of collaborative teams of two to three — perfect for band or ensemble residencies!

Program fees: The cost to apply is $30, with additional potential costs of $5-10 for media uploads.

Application details: Apply here.

Fogo Island Arts

Location: Newfoundland, Canada

This international residency program is open to artists across many mediums for one- to three-month long residencies. Artists are given lodging and studio space on a remote island off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, as well as a weekly stipend for materials and day-to-day living. Be prepared to put on your public speaking hat though, as artists are required to give at least one presentation, performance, or workshop during their stay. Residencies open every two years.

Program fees: The cost is $20 to apply.

Application details: Apply here

SETI AIR: SETI Institute’s Artists in Residence

Location: Mountain View, California

What an incredible way to bring together the arts and the sciences. SETI Institute’s Artists in Residence program brings the two together through opportunities that welcome a range of artists whose work exhibits a direct relationship to the scientific interests of SETI Institute research, including those in electronic music, theater and dance, digital arts, and more.

Residencies last anywhere from six weeks to two years! And while artists are responsible for funding, grants are offered, and acceptance can be put on hold to obtain funding.

Program fees: There is no cost to apply.

Application details: Apply here

Rabbit Island

Location: A remote island in the middle of Lake Superior, Michigan

One of the most unique mentions on this list goes to Rabbit Island, a 91-acre forested island made up of a native ecosystem that stands on solid bedrock and has never been developed or subdivided. It’s home to bald eagles nesting in the trees, lake trout and salmon in the water, and completely devoted to artists taking the time to “investigate and challenge creative practices in a wilderness environment.”

Artists live and work on the island for two to four weeks and engage directly with the landscape, “responding to notions of conservation, ecology, and sustainability via their research and cultural practices.” Musicians are welcome to apply.

Program fees: Artists receive a fluctuating honoraria that typically averages around $2,000 to help support the residency costs as well as transportation to the island, etc. The cost to apply is $25.

Application details: Apply here.

Elsewhere

Location: Greensboro, North Carolina

Set up as a museum and artist-in-residence program inside a former three-story thrift store, Elsewhere is an incredible opportunity to collaborate with other residents and make use of a ton of random objects and locations. Artists spend one month working and residing on-site, creating projects that activate the living museum. Artists are asked to produce work that is highly specific to the building itself and make use of the unique environment, history, and surrounding neighborhoods. Perhaps the coolest part is that all objects and art remain a part of the museum long after your residency is over, making way for future artists to continue to transform it, and giving you the opportunity to be a part of a permanent collection. 

Program fees: There are several options, depending on your preference, starting at a $500 flat fee, as well as options for $70/week for a room and $70/week for board. Fellowships are available. There is no cost to apply.

Application details: Apply here.

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Angela Mastrogiacomo
Angela Mastrogiacomo

Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder of Muddy Paw PR, where her artists have seen placement on Alternative Press, Spotify, Noisey, Substream, and more, as well as the Director of Community and Events for Music Launch Co. Her free training ‘Reaching a Wider Audience Without Spending A Dime’ helps emerging artists cut through the noise and get in front of fans and industry influencers in just a few steps. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.