If you haven't already bookmarked the site resartis.org, what are you waiting for? It contains a treasure trove of information on artists' residencies. If you are dancer, a film maker, a potter, a musician or a writer (plus many more), you can find residency opportunities throughout the world on this site.
After spending the last number of years in the San Diego area, working on my book of linked short stories, I wanted to switch gears in 2016. I have a new book in draft form that I'd like to work on. Parts of it are set deep in the forest, isolated from any community. I went to the resartis site looking for writing residencies closer to home and in somewhat remote areas. I found two wonderful places in Washington State and have sent in my applications.
The first is for women writers and is located on Whidbey Island. Hedgebrook was founded by philanthropist Nancy Nordhoff in 1988. Each summer, the application process opens for a brief window of time (this year the deadline for applications is July 28), and in the fall a selection committee chooses about 40 women to attend the following year. There are six cottages on 48 acres plus a common bathhouse and farmhouse where evening meals are shared. It looked like the perfect place for me to experience what it would be like to live in a cabin in the woods, while at the same time having a supporting writing community around me.
Once I started the application process, I discovered that Hedgebrook is a global community of women writers with a mission: to create opportunities for marginalized voices to reach a wider audience. Part of the application process is describing how you would participate in this movement towards equal voice. Wow. It was heady stuff to think how I might help in this cause. It was also very connected to the book I'll be working on, which centers around a marginalized family fleeing its own country to become members of another marginalized group in their new country.
The second residency is Willapa Bay Air. This is a newer residency, founded in 2014 for artists, writers, scholars, singer/songwriters and musical composers. Set on 16 acres in the southwest corner of Washington State, it also has six cottages plus a communal lodge for meals. Their application process runs from mid-May until July 31.
Here again, I think I would have an excellent opportunity to experience living in a cabin in the woods while also having a community of artists to connect with over meals. That feeling of isolation is central to the book, so I am very hopeful that I will be granted a residency.
In both cases the only cost is a modest $30 application fee. What an amazing gift these founders have offered to a small group of creative people each year. Although less than 5% of applicants will be accepted in either case, I'm crossing my fingers that one of the selection committees feels I am a good fit.
That is the beauty of the resartis site. Finding the kind of place that fits who you are as an artist.
Update: Sadly, my applications were not successful for either residency this year. I am very disappointed, as I think either would have been a wonderful opportunity for me. I will continue to look for other residencies and share the information with you.