7 Artist Residencies With Career-Launching Power

Artwork Archive | May 1, 2017 (Updated April 12, 2021)

Lacking the inspiration, resources, or concentrated time needed to take your art career to the next level?

Artist residencies allow artists to take a break from the ordinary routine of studio and home life and feed your creativity. But, they can be more than just a creative retreat — choosing the right one can launch your career.

Continuing with our series to provide artists with the best resources available to develop their careers, we found 7 art residencies that have hosted a list of notable alumni

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

Skowhegan promotes engagement with peers and a focus on process and experimentation. Although the residency has become most widely recognized for its focus on painting, they accept artists working in a variety of mediums.

The program gives artists complete freedom during their residency, but also provides resources and weekly lectures for guidance and feedback.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Vito Acconci, Sanford Biggers, John Cage, Alex Katz, Liz Magic Laser, Shana Moulton, John O'Connor, and LaToya Ruby Frazier

NOTABLE FACULTY: Peter Doig, Nicole Eisenman, Andrea Fraser, Allen Ginsberg, Nan Goldin, Leon Golub, Guerilla Girls, Joan Jonas, Anish Kapoor,  Jeff Koons, Barbara Kruger, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucy Lippard, Rick Lowe, Frank O’Hara, Chris Ofili, Judy Pfaff, Adrian Piper, Martha Rosler, Kiki Smith, Frank Stella, Kara Walker

WHO: Artists from all mediums are welcome to apply. Sixty-five artists are selected each year.

WHERE: Skowhegan, Maine

LENGTH: 9 weeks, June-August

TIMELINE: Application deadline January 9th

COST/FUNDING: $6000, 95% of each class receives financial aid or scholarships.


The Chinati Foundation

The Chinati Foundation was founded by sculptor Donald Judd. Since its creation, the foundation has turned the town of Marfa into an unlikely cultural hub for art and installation. The vast, desert environment serves as an inspiration for artists from many different backgrounds and is host to a plethora of outdoor art installations that surround the site, including 15 by Donald Judd himself.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Christopher Wool, Rob Fisher, Camp Bosworth, Mark Flood, Charline von Heyl, and Matthew Day Jackson

WHO: Emerging artists in sculpture, multi-media, curating, and visual arts.

WHERE: Marfa, Texas

LENGTH: 2-3 months

TIMELINE: Application deadline is April 1st

COST/FUNDING: Includes lodging and $1000 stipend to help pay for travel cost and art supplies.


The Whitney Museum of American Art Independent Study Program (ISP)

The ISP at The Whitney Museum of American Art combines studio, critical studies, and curatorial programs. The ISP facilitates opportunities for artists to engage in intellectual discussions with their peers on topics surrounding art production. This competitive program challenges artists and curators both creatively and intellectually.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Jenny Holzer, Félix González-Torres, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Marc Dion, Moyra Davye, John Miller

WHO: Students focused on art practice, curatorial work, art history, and critical writing. Fifteen students are selected for the Studio Program, four in the Curatorial Program, and six in the Critical Studies Program.

WHERE: New York, NY

LENGTH: September-May, 9 months

TIMELINE: Application deadline April 1st

COST/FUNDING: $1,800. Financial aid based on need.


The MacDowell Colony

The MacDowell Colony, founded by composer Edward MacDowell, was originally meant for musicians in need of a creative retreat. Now, the colony has become one of the most recognized visual arts and writing residencies. The location offers a cultural experience surrounding by breathtaking scenery.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: James Baldwin, Jonathan Franzen, Alice Walker, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Barbara Tuchman, Milton Avery, and Thornton Wilder.

WHO: Writers, visual artists, composers, filmmakers, playwrights, interdisciplinary artists, and architects.

WHERE: Peterborough, New Hampshire

LENGTH: 5 - 8 weeks

TIMELINE: Application deadline is April 15th

COST/FUNDING: Artists are responsible for travel and supply expenses. Room and board covered by the program.

National Parks Art Foundation

The National Parks Service Residency provides artists with the chance to be inspired in a variety of spectacular natural settings. The programs vary depending on the park they are held in and programs are designed to fit each individual artist’s project and specific landscape.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Dominic Paul Miller, Jeannine Bardo, Rick Makanaaloha Kia'imeaokekanaka San Nicolas, and Tyler Nordgren

WHO: Visual artists, writers, musicians, and other creative media.

WHERE: Gettysburg National Military Park (Pennsylvania), Dry Tortugas National Park (Florida), Chaco Culture National Historic Park (New Mexico), Aztec Ruins National Monument (New Mexico), Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park (Big Island, HI), Haleakala National Park (Maui, HI), First State National Historical Park (Delaware), Pecos national Historical Park (New Mexico). And coming soon: Big Bend National Park (Texas) and Death Valley National Park (California).

LENGTH: 1-6 months, depends on the program

TIMELINE: Application deadlines are based on the program. Check here for a full list.

COST/FUNDING: Housing covered and eligible for a $1000 stipend. Artist pays travel, supplies, and food.  

Ox-Bow Fall Artists and Writers Residency

The Ox-Bow’s Fall Residency is designed for artists and writers at many different points in their careers. This residency is an incredible opportunity for emerging artists looking to launch their career with the help of dedicated time, access to resources and mentorship. The fall residency offers a wider variety of studios that can be used for artists of different mediums to collaborate.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Laylah Ali, Nick Cave, Leon Golub, Joan Mitchell, Claes Oldenburg, and Nancy Spero.

WHO: 25-30 artists and writers at any stage in their careers.

WHERE: Saugatuck, Michigan

LENGTH: 2-5 weeks, September-October

TIMELINE: Application deadline May 1st.

COST/FUNDING: Stipends available for travel and supplies. Room and board covered by Ox-Bow.

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts

The Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts offers a great experience to further your career by only allowing non-student artists to attend. In addition to this, they offer panels, lectures, and workshops to help facilitate research on contemporary arts. If secluded settings do not foster creativity for you, The Bemis Center is located in an area that offers a mix of rural and urban settings.

NOTABLE ALUMNI: Alice Aycock, Annabeth Rosen, Adam Parker Smith, Gillian Welch, Letha Wilson, and Meredith James, Christina West

WHO: Artists who show a strong professional working history in the visual arts, media/new genre, performance, architecture, film/video, literature, interdisciplinary arts, music composition, and choreography.

WHERE: Omaha, Nebraska

LENGTH: 3 months. Residencies are held in January and May

TIMELINE: Application deadline is April 1st

COST/FUNDING: Monthly stipends of $750 to pay for living expenses and supplies. A non-restricted $500 travel stipend is also awarded.

Have all of your current work organized and ready to apply to one of these residencies by keeping your inventory up-to-date with Artwork Archive.

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