Monday, September 7, 2009

Artist Residencies

After looking into artist residencies by attending the TransCultural Exchange Conference on Artist Residencies in Boston this past April with fellow graduate Jane Rainwater, I was exposed to three days of workshops, lectures and meetings that explained the plethora of opportunities available to artists.

I decided to apply in August for an artist residency close by. I'd been thinking how great it would be to just concentrate on painting all day, every day and stop only to make meals, eat and sleep. And it was truly wonderful to get away from moving, packing and selling the house and focus on my art practice, knowing my studio space would be torn down after I finished the residency.

Most residency programs invite you into their program after you write a proposal on what you hope to accomplish with your work. Some artist residencies pay you to go to them and others you pay them to be in their residency program. The amount of time an artist is in a residency program varies from one week to one year.

The wonderful things about artist residencies are, they provide you with an opportunity to concentrate solely on your work, to be with other artists who are also concentrating on their work and to be in a supportive creative environment. Additionally, there is the fact that many artist residencies give you the chance immerse yourself in a culture and/or country outside of being a traveler or tourist. Often the physical environment of an artist residency is inspiring.

I was given a fellowship this past August to do a short week long artist residency at The Contemporary Artists Center at Woodside in Troy NY.

Nancy McTague Stock a fellow graduate from The Art Institute of Boston, who is a good friend and I were both accepted into the CAC at Woodside artist residency program. I loved being in the physical space the beauty of the grounds inspired me. Painting inside an old chapel fits in with my belief that painting is a spiritual practice.

Woodside Chapel and Church is now a non-profit art organization was founded in 1990 in the culturally rich Berkshires of Massachusetts. With the recent acquisition of the historic Woodside Church and Chapel, they have expanded across the border to New York state.

I loved being in an artist residency, but I don't think it is for everyone. You have to be able to work while living out of a suitcase. It is hard to get into the space of working and not be distracted with what is going on in your environment. You have to be quite disciplined and make the most of your time there, it takes a lot of energy to successfully complete a residency. I would like to do another residency and will pursue applying to other programs, but first I have decided to create a home base from which I can come back to, recharge.

In my next post, I will share the work I created at Woodside.