Experience & Review from the Artist in Residence
This summer, I humbly feel honored to be selected as a visual artist for Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts Artist-in-Residence (AIR) in the U.S.A. It was my second time to experience AIR. I had a such a productive and wonderful time there in their well-equipped huge art studio and meeting other artists (writers, composers/pianist, visual artists) selected by their committee/art professionals. The Foundation provided us not only our own studio and individual sleeping unit/lodge with own bathroom, but also each meal, so we were able to well focus on creating our own work. We walked in some evenings, and some artists did hiking almost every day in this beautiful environment.
In this blog and the next couple of the blog posts, I am sharing some photos/highlights from this specific AIR and information about Artist-in-Residence in general.
First of all, What is Artist-in-Residency?
I found Wikipedia described it quite well. In short:
“Artist-in-residence programs and other residency opportunities exist to invite artists, academicians, curators, and all manner of creative people for a time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They provide a time of reflection, research, presentation, production and immersion into a new culture. They often allow an individual to explore their practice within another community; meeting new people, using new materials, experiencing life in a new location and potentially integrating elements of that experience into their art. Art residencies emphasize the importance of meaningful and multi-layered cultural exchange and immersion into another culture.”
Each AIR really varies. My first AIR in Pajama Factory in Pennsylvania few years ago was offered only for visual artists such as oil painter, glass artist, mixed media artists like me…etc. This time, the artists that Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts (BCFA) selects are multidisciplinary – to visual artists, writers, musicians and composers. I liked both with difference setting. Although I am a visual artist, since I have a writer’s background, and have been interested in music since I was a child, I ended up enjoying it and feeling inspired much more than I expected. All artists who I met this summer are amazingly talented, intellectual, educated, and also knowledgeable in all areas/genre that are NOT their specialty(!), including TV shows, films and of course, books. In addition, they are fun and humorous. I felt privileged to be there.
Part 1) Environment and Facility of the Brush Creek Foundation of the Arts Artist-in-Residence, Saratoga, WY.
It was just gorgeous! I loved my summer studio that they offered. The writer who was in the Residency at same month loved his studio, too. His studio has cool decoration and the atmosphere would serve and get you work productively. (I will share more photos in the next post.)
As for the visual art studio, each artist gets own studio individually with a separate door and windows with shades and ventilation on the ceiling. The studio was equipped with an easel that can hold 60+inch canvas, 2-4 folding long tables, a rolling work cart, chairs, electrical outlets, own utility sink, masking tapes, basic toolbox including nails and a level, drop-cloth…etc. I appreciate the lights that have both spot tungsten lights such as the ones normally used for exhibition on the wall and also florescent light that can light up the entire room as well as natural light.
I also liked and appreciate the very short walking distance between the studios and living units in wooden lodge. Walking/commuting to your studio in safe and easy environment is important.
More about Artist-in-Residency in general.
Conditions and Selections
Many residential art centers lay down the terms guest artists have to comply with, such as an exhibition at the end of the period or a project, achieved by collaboration with other artists or cooperation with the public. However, many centers offer unconditional hospitality: the artist is free to use the residency for his or her own purposes, without any obligation towards the host. (Wikipedia)
We had an Open Studio event, however, The BCFA said it is not obligation and no expectation. Therefore, if the artist decides not to attend/show the artworks and prefer keep working in the own studio, that’s fine, too. So, doing something in order to “exchange” with their offer is not applicable here. They respect the artists’ creative time and space, and generously provide the environment for artists’ productivity. I felt unconditional hospitality.
Although it seems summer is more competitive to get selected, I chose summer time 😉 to be in Residence. Just because where I live is very hot and humid in summer and hard to work, specially since I use a heat gun and torch, working in a studio in hot weather is a torture. The town Saratoga in Wyoming appeared to me as perfect with low humidity and cool in summer. (This BCFA residency seems to have a good heating system in winter; I found the visual art studios have thermo floor. So, it looks comfortable to work in winter as well.) For the BCFA residency, you can choose either two weeks or four weeks.
Operating an artist-in-residence program costs money. Some residency programs cover all costs for the artist, some offering stipends, others don’t cover any costs at all. It is not unusual that residential art centers cover the costs only partially, which may make it necessary for the artist to find additional funding. In some countries artists can apply for subsidy at state governed bodies…. (Wikipedia)
I found that a lot of AIR charge the artists for fees such as weekly or monthly fee after you get selected and some are quite expensive, let alone most meals are often artists’ responsibility. It really depends on the program. So, if you are interested in AIR, read their guideline carefully and see if it fits your need and expectations. The BCFA requires no fee to stay/work in their AIR and offers breakfast, lunch and dinner. By the way, the amount of food was plenty. Although Saturdays (or Sundays) are not provided, there are so much leftover that you couldn’t finish…
In my next post, as
Part 2) … I will post the benefits to be in AIR along with some photos from our Open Studio and the event. I feel the one I experienced this summer was one of the best in the U.S. Meanwhile, I will post the list(links) for other AIR program including the “Best Artist Residency” in Europe. –> posted on Sep. 19.
Part 3) … Extra extra, including food they provided ☺ Will be coming up soon.
-Library, kitchen and meals.
– Fun thing you can do while in the Residency.
Come back again for the Parts 2 and 3! (They will be shorter. 🙂
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