©2010 Helen R Klebesadel, Escape From The Yellow Wallpaper III, Watercolor, 30 x 40

Listed below are wonderful artist residencies in Wisconsin, the US, and abroad, as well as major grants, exchange programs and exhibition opportunities for artists.  This post also includes a discussion of moving through the paralysis of inaction toward our goals as artists.

I have a number of paintings that use Medusa as a metaphor.  I’m especially fond of painting her as a self portrait.  People that know my work well can sometimes find her, or some version of a wild haired woman, in my more surreal narrative watercolors.  Sometimes she is overt and sometimes hidden.

©2010 Helen R Klebesadel, Escape From The Yellow Wallpaper III-detail, Watercolor

In the myth of Medusa, she was one of three Gorgon sisters that some considered protectors and others monsters.  They were winged women with snakes in their hair.  Some version of them appear in the iconography of many cultures.  There are many tales of Medusa and how she came to be.  In some stories she was raped and the snakes came from her anger.  In others she was punished by Athena for sleeping with Poseidon (Medusa is on her agea).  In all of the tales Medusa  was so powerful that her mere glance could turn men to stone.  Her head was cut off by the hero Perseus who used a mirrored shield to guide him so he could see her reflection rather than look her in the eye.  Later her head was used as a weapon, so it wasn’t her power but who controlled it that was at issue.  Some scholars have interpreted the severing of her head as the stealing of a mask representing the power of her female-centered culture.

©2010 Helen R Klebesadel, Medusa Faces, Watercolor, 48x45

The part of the Medusa myth that appeals to me concerns the idea of being paralyzed by fear but moving anyway.  When I use Medusa in a painting she is almost always rendered as a mask, and she represents a fear or rage to be faced before you can move on.  For me in facing Medusa (yourself) you are facing your worst fears, which are usually internal, and often between you and what you need to do to grow. Several times I have painted figures caught in that moment of dread before acting to face their Medusa.  My Medusa paintings represent a personal commitment to look behind the mask, to face what frightens me, and to find a way to act despite paralyzing terror or, at least, immobilizing avoidance.

Most of us have times when we are paralyzed into inaction by our desires to avoid an issue or decision that might require us to change how we approach something. In general it is normal to pause and consider our options before taking extreme actions in our lives, but there is a point where the immobilization can be considered chronic.

As artists we will often stay with what we are comfortable with and know well in our art work, repeating what works, rather that pushing our boundaries or wandering into uncharted territory.  However in life and in art repeating the same patterns will usually produce the same results.   Risk taking and growth are often associated.  The only way to succeed is to grow, try new things and stretch beyond our capabilities.  It is how we successful we are at taking risks that will be the critical factor in our ability to succeed.

We know when we need to make a change and we look for ways to initiate the process, but it can be hard to change the patterns we are most comfortable with.  Sometimes it is as simple giving yourself permission to say ‘no’ to other obligations and take the time to BE an artist (like by applying to participate in an artist residency).  Sometimes it is as small as returning a call, emailing someone,  or following up with someone who presents a new opportunity,  that is the very important step in expanding our lives as artists.   I like to think that every time we face a fear and take a positive action, it changes our pattern and makes it easier to move forward when we encounter our next challenge.
I find it useful to ask myself: What’s the worst that can happen?   Usually the answer is: “Nothing,” or at the very least, “I will receive ‘No’ for an answer, so what. “   There is no downside to trying.  Let us make the call, put in the application, say ‘yes’ to the new challenge and see how it changes our lives for the better.

Each time we see that we are freezing up let us take the next step anyway.  This will reinforces a new pattern of moving forward. The more we repeat the new pattern the more reflexive it becomes. Once the new pattern is in place I am convinced we will be amazed at how expansive and exciting our art and life becomes.  It has happened to me before and I know it will happen again.
All that said, here is the list of opportunities I have been considering for a while or have already done.  I plan to act on at least one I want to try, despite fear of rejection, in the next month.  What is on your art avoidance list that? Tell me if you face a Medusa any time soon (remember the success is in the facing…taking the action to get past the fear….changing the pattern of paralysis).


ACRE:  Artist Cooperative Residency Program, Steuben, WI
2010 marks the inaugural year for ACRE, which was founded by many of the collaborators from the organization Harold Arts in an effort to provide the arts community with a more affordable, cooperative, and dialogue-oriented residency program. ACRE’s annual artist residency takes place over a period of three weeks every August in rural Southwest Wisconsin.  Residents can apply for a 12-day or 25-day residency or are free to determine the length of their stay for a reasonable day rate. The residency will support up to 25-30 residents at a given time.

Edenfred, Madison WI

(I regret to share that Edenfred has announced it will close as of the first of the year due to the inability to reach an affordable agreement with the City of Madison regarding city requirements.  I have been lucky enough to participate as a day fellow with a collaboration artist at Edenfred this fall and can attest that its a terrible loss to Wisconsin’s arts community).

Edenfred is dedicated to the development of the arts and culture and is especially interested in encouraging interdisciplinary dialogue. To ensure our programming efforts mutually benefit artists and the community, resident fellows are required to have some direct interaction with the Madison community during their stay. Programs offered include a Resident Fellows Program (open application); Day Fellows Program (local/regional) and Cooperative Residency

Michael Kohler Arts Center, Artist-in-Residence Program, Sheboygan, WI
Art/Industry program makes industrial technologies and facilities available to artists through long-term residencies, short-term workshops, tours, and other programming so that they may further their artistic explorations. Artists have the opportunity to spend two to six months creating works of art utilizing industrial materials and equipment. Artists-in-residence are provided with studio space in the factory which is accessible to them 24 hours a day, seven days a week. In addition, they receive free materials, use of equipment, technical assistance, photographic services, housing, round-trip transportation within the continental United States from their homes to the site, and weekly honoraria.

Necedah National Wildlife Refuge Painters, writers, photographers, ceramists and other artists can apply to an artist-in-residency at the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge in Wisconsin. Sponsored by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the two to four week residency period provides the selected artist with free lodging, studio space and the opportunity for the artist to interpret and share through their craft the resources found within the 44,000-acre refuge.  Daniel Peterson by email [email protected]

Wormfarm Institute
, Reedsberg, WI
Dedicated to integrating culture and agriculture, the Wormfarm Institute is an evolving laboratory of the arts and ecology and fertile ground for creative work. They look for artists and writers with an interest in sustainable systems and our place in the natural world. The Wormfarm can host up to three visiting artists at a time, with residencies running from two weeks to six months (May to October).   They prefer a minimum of two months, but will consider shorter stays.  Each artist is provided with accommodations, use of our growing facility and time and space to create. In exchange, we ask each to participate in farm operations for 15 hours per week and to share the results of their creative efforts with the local community.

Selected Residencies and Fellowships-U.S.A

A.I.R. Gallery Fellowship Program
, New York
AI.R. is the first artist-run, not-for-profit gallery for women artists in the country. A.I.R. offers women artists a space to show work as innovative, transitory or unsaleabe as the artist’s conceptions demands. Based on the feminist principles of economic cooperation and decision by consensus, A.I.R. offers an alternative venue for women artists, which protects the creative process and the individual voice of the artist. The Fellowship Program, in place since 1993, provides under represented and emerging artists with the opportunity to develop their work in preparation for a solo show, to build relationships with other artists and arts professionals, and to learn about gallery operations.

Anderson Ranch Arts Center, Colorado
This artists-in-residence program encourages the creative, intellectual and personal growth of emerging artists. Applicants are chosen based on artistic merit and live and work at Anderson Ranch for periods of two, three or six months between October and March creating a body of work. Anderson Ranch also hosts a Visiting Artist program for established artists seeking to work on projects that foster personal growth.

Appalachian Center for the Crafts, Smithville, Tennessee
The Artist in Residence program is a one- to three-year appointment allowing emerging professional artists to work in the environment of the Craft Center. Each studio (clay, fibers, glass, metals and wood) has a resident artist with a BFA, MFA or professional equivalent. There is also a residency position for the exhibitions program. The residency program has a competitive application process to fill these six positions.

Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, Gatlinburg, TN 377
Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts is a nationally renowned center of contemporary arts and crafts education. I have taught here, and it’s a lovely facility just outside of Smoky Mountain National Park.  Workshops are offered for one and two weeks in the spring and summer, and one-week and weekends in the fall. Areas of study include: ceramics, fibers, metals/jewelry, painting, drawing, photography, warm glass, woodturning, woodworking, sculpture, and book and paper arts. Artist residencies, assistantships, work-study, scholarships available.

Atlantic Center for the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida
3 week to 2 month residencies with emphasis on interaction and collaboration. Scholarships and job opportunities available.

Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts, Omaha, Nebraska
Residencies provide well-equipped studio spaces, living accommodations and monthly stipends. Located in two urban warehouses totaling 110,000 square feet, facilities are designed to foster creativity and the productive exchange of ideas. Artists from the world come to the Bemis Center to work in this supportive community and confront new challenges.

Corporation of Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY
Season: year-round, thirty guests maximum. Environment: secluded retreat on 400 acres of pristine forest. rolling lawns, ponds. splendid mansion. visual artists have private rooms and studio. Guests meet for breakfast and dinner. Residencies are from two weeks to two months. There is no set fee, although voluntary contributions are expected.

Cummington Community of the Arts, RR 1, Box 145, Cummington, MA 01026. Tel. 413 -634-2172. Application deadline: six months prior to anticipated residency. Season: year-round. Environment: Rural Berkshire Mountains. on 150 acres. In July and August up to 30 people are accepted, including children. From October through May one-to eight-month residencies are available for 15 adults. All creative and performing artists are welcome. Cummington is especially interested in artists disadvantaged by race, sex age or economic class. There is a special full-time children’s program for ages 5-12. Financial aid is available.

Fine Arts Work Center, Provincetown, MA.
Application deadline: February 1. Season: October 1-May 1. Environment: seven-month residencies must stay for entire period. Ten writers, ten visual artists. Families welcome. Monthly stipend is $650 for emerging visual artists of any age. There are 14 studios.  Candidates of outstanding promise who have yet to received significant recognition for their work. are sought.

Haystack Mountain School of Crafts, Deer Isle, ME
The school offers intensive studio-based workshops in a variety of craft media including clay, glass, metals, paper, blacksmithing, weaving, woodworking and more. Programs range from short workshops to three-week sessions and anyone may participate, from beginners to advanced professionals.

Helene Wurlitzer Foundation, Taos, NM
Application deadline: none. Season: May through September. Environment: twelve separate furnished studio apartments outside of Taos. New Mexico, on thirteen acres.  All creative artists except performing artists. Free rent and utilities. but no families. Residencies are from three to six months. no financial aid is available. Guests buy and prepare own meals.

Lill Street Studios, Chicago, Illinois
Lillstreet Art Center supports the arts through an artist residency program, gallery, studio space, education and outreach program. They are dedicated to bringing artists and audience together through their commitment to promoting, supporting and encouraging the fine arts.

MacDowell Colony, Peterborough, NH
Application deadline: six months prior to anticipated residency. Season: year-round. Environment: Up to thirty artists (except performing artists) have one-month residences at a time, no families. On 400 acres of farm and woodland, There is a graphics workshop library separate dormitory rooms, private studios. Breakfast and dinner are taken communally. But picnic lunches are delivered to studios. Artists pay according to their ability.

Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, NY
Season: year-round. Environment: 600 acre estate of Edna St. Vincent Millay All creative artists except performing artists; no families. Five summer residencies of one month. three winter residencies of two months. Bedroom. separate studio. and board provided for visual artists. No other aid.

Montalvo Center for the Arts, Saratoga. CA
Application deadline: none. Season: year-round.  Environment: peaceful, secluded private estate on 176 acres. with arboretum. gallery, museum. theater. concerts. Six artists are housed in 3 apartments and 3 guest cottages. There is a studio barn for visual artists. There are scholarships for the 3-month residencies, with possibility of 3-month extensions.

National Park Service Artist-In Residency Program
he National Park Services offers opportunities for two-dimensional visual artists, photographers, sculptors, performers, writers, composers, and craft artists to live and work in the parks. There are currently 29 parks participating in the Artist-In-Residence program.

National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, Career Development Program for Visual Artists, Miami, FL, Transportation to Miami, studio and living facilities provided, exhibition, catalogue and materials also provided, plus $1,000/month stipend. Must be 18 to 35 years old to apply.

Oregon School of Arts and Crafts, Artist-in-Residence Program, Portland, Oregon:
Offers a semester-long program for emerging artists and a summer residency for mid-career artists. The residencies are offered in each of the College’s seven media areas of concentration: book arts, ceramics, drawing, fibers, metals, photography and wood. Both programs offer housing, individual studio space, a stipend and the opportunity to become involved in community life at the College. All residents give an introductory slide lecture and a public review of their work. Each fall an exhibition in the College’s Hoffman Gallery features work by the artists in residence.

Penland School of Crafts, Penland, NC,. Offers Resident Artist Programs, Work Study Fellowships and Classes.

Peters Valley Craft Center, Layton, NJ
Peters Valley provides residency opportunities for practicing artists. These residencies may be one or two months in duration and provide a heated room and access to a heated studio, except blacksmithing, for a monthly fee. Materials and food are the responsibility of the participant but all houses are equipped with fully functional kitchens. Through the generosity of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, a limited number of scholarships are available to New Jersey residents. These scholarships cover the fee and provide a monthly stipend to the selected artists. Mediums include ceramics, blacksmithing, fibers, fine metals, photography, and wood working.

Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL
Room, board, studio and small stipend provided.  Application deadline: none.  Season. year-round, two weeks to two months.  Environment: large. old estate on national historic register Averages 10 to 12 guests on beautiful grounds. Bedrooms and studios for visual artists, no families.

Ucross Foundation, Director, Residency Program, Clearmont, Wyoming
2 week to 4 week residencies providing room, board and studio at no charge.

Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, Vermont
Founded by artists in 1984, the Vermont Studio Center is the largest international artists’ and writers’ Residency Program in the United States, hosting 50 visual artists and writers each month from across the country and around the world.  The Studio Center provides 4-12 week studio residencies on an historic 30-building campus along the Gihon River in Johnson, Vermont, a village in the heart of the northern Green Mountains.

Women’s Studio Workshop Residencies, Rosendale, NY
WSW Residency differs from other residencies in that artistic staff is available to coach, train, and advise artists on all aspects of their projects. WSW offers a variety of Artist-in-Residence opportunities. WSW Resident artists will receive 24-hour studio access, technical and production assistance, on-campus housing, travel per diem, a materials stipend, and a weekly personal stipend during their stay. The cost to Fellowship recipients is $200 per week plus materials, approximately one fifth the cost of the actual residency. The award includes on-site housing and unlimited access to the studios. Artists are given a studio orientation but should be able to work independently. Technical assistance is available for an additional fee.

Worcester Center for Crafts, Worcester, MA
The Worcester Center for Crafts provides several opportunities for professional artisans and those who aspire to practice craft professionally to grow in their knowledge and skills. The Artists-in-Residence program is a 10-month residency that includes a private studio, 24-hour access, the opportunity to teach and exposure to other talented artists who can serve as peers and mentors in your growth process. Residencies are available in ceramics, glass, metals, weaving and wood.


Art In The Embassies
I have participated in this program, which asks artists to loan art for multiple years.  The ART in Embassies Program promotes the cultural identity of America’s art and artists by borrowing original works of art by U.S. citizens for display in U.S. embassy residences worldwide. Each ART exhibition is developed collaboratively between a United States ambassador and one of our curators. They select both image-based and abstract work in all media.

American Academy in Rome, Fellowships Coordinator, New York
Residency in Rome, monthly stipend, travel, supplies, studio space and partial board.

Banff Centre, Alberta, Canada,
Arts at The Banff Centre have a long and distinguished history. For over 70 years, The Banff Centre has provided professional career development and lifelong learning for artists and cultural leaders in performing, literary, new media, and visual arts. Work is showcased throughout the year in public concerts, exhibitions, and events, culminating in the Banff Summer Arts Festival. The Centre awards more than $3.8 million in scholarships each year.

Cite Internationale des Artes, Paris, France. Support for one year residencies in Paris.

Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD New York, NY.  The DAAD Artist in Berlin Residency Program is a 6 months to 1 year grant to be a resident in West Berlin. The grant includes monthly installments to cover living expenses, travel including spouse and children, health and accident insurance, misc. allowance and participation in German language courses. The program is open to visual artists, writers, musicians, and film makers. The program is extremely selective –only 20-25 participants are selected each year.

Wallace Foundation, Institute of International Education, New York, NY
This program has two interrelated components: (1) a three- to six-month residency for a visual artist at select sites in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and South Asia; and (2) community activities developed in partnership with a U.S. nonprofit organization, enabling the artist to share his or her experiences with a U.S. Community. Grant awards will support the artist’s honorarium, travel and residency expenses, as well as a portion of the costs of the community program offered by the U.S. partner organization.

There are many more visual artists residencies. Here are several places to search for more opportunities:

http://www.chicagoartistsresource.org/visual-arts/node/215    http://www.mesart.com/art/Resources:Artist-in-Residency_Programs   http://www.resartis.org


Gottlieb Foundation, Inc., Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, New York, New York This Foundation is a nonprofit corporation registered with the State of New York. The Foundation was established according to provisions in the will of Adolph Gottlieb in order to award financial assistance to mature creative painters and sculptors. It provides financial support to individual artists who have shown a lifetime commitment to their art. The Foundation has two separate assistance programs: The Individual Support Grant (awarded annually), and The Emergency Assistance Grant (available throughout the year).

Healing Through Arts. Box 411, Wayland, MA 01778. Tel. 508-358-5553. Dedicated to developing the relationships between the healing arts and the creative arts through communication, education and research, grants up to $2,000 are offered to artist’s exploring the use of art in a healing capacity.

Pollock-Krasner Foundation, Inc., New York, NY
Grants to individual visual artists for the sole purpose of providing financial assistance to individual working artists internationally. The Foundation’s duel criteria for grants are recognizable artistic merit and financial need, whether professional, personal or both. The Foundation welcomes applications from painters, sculptors, graphic, installation and mixed-media artists. The Foundation will consider need on the part of an applicant for all legitimate expenditures relating to his/her professional work, personal living and medical expenses. With very few exceptions, the Foundation will not fund travel expenses.

Ise Cultural Foundation, New York, NY
Offers grants to fine and performance artists who are residents of the U.S. or Japan. Submit outline of specific proposal, no longer than one single-spaced, typed page, in English. Applications not preceded by an outline will not be considered. Proposals are reviewed twice a year.

Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, New York, NY Fellowships are awarded to artists who have already demonstrated exceptional creative ability. Appointments are ordinarily made for one year, and in no instance for a period shorter than six consecutive months. The amounts of the grants will be adjusted to the needs of the Fellows, considering their other resources and the purpose and scope of their plans. Members of the teaching profession receiving sabbatical leave on full or part salary are eligible for appointment.