How to be a Residency Whore
First off, what IS this mysterious thing called a "residency"?
It's basically time to work, time "off" for artists (writers, visual artists, composers, choreographers) to go somewhere to make art. The theory is to get away from whatever day to day life you have, and to be in an environment where you can create art or write. Some famous residencies are Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Bellagio.
Residency whores are those individuals who, for a variety of reasons, travel from residency to residency, for a certain period of time. For example, a writer working on a novel may put their furniture and life in cold storage, take a year off and travel from one residency to another. Now, while I know people who do this, I am not one of those. And, yet, I have been lucky enough to have been to a number of residencies in the US and abroad and would like to offer this bit of advice, that I wish had been given to me early on.
1) Before searching for a residency, decide what YOU need. How long? One week? A month? Six months? A year? Will you need to be in a certain place for research or collaboration? Do you want to be in the US? Close to home or far away? Do you want to be by yourself? With others? With writers or a mixture of artists? Do you need a stipend? Do you want a free residency? Can you afford to pay? Do you want to cook your own meals? Or have them provided? Can you afford an application fee? What time of year do you want to go? How long can you wait? Some residencies plan 2-3 years in advance. Are you willing to donate art? To teach? To work with students? Do you want to hold readings or an art show? Is a rustic environment something you are looking for? Isolation? Or an opportunity to socialize?
2) Once you have your goals, THEN go to Poets and Writers or ResArtist and search for a residency which fits YOUR priorities. Instead of the other way around.
Hope this helps and happy resident-ing!
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