Residencies can be the perfect way to explore your practice or create a new body of work in a stunningly productive and short period of time. So many of us do not have the luxury of working full-time in our studios; we may work as fabricators or teach or perhaps we have non-art related day jobs. Getting into the flow of personal work and finding the time to get a large project completed can be tough.
I teach full-time and I find it difficult to get a large amount of work going throughout the school year. Some of my artist-teacher friends do manage to get a lot of work done and make a point to be in their studio on a daily basis (and I only hate them a little bit) and those pushy, overachievers need not read more! All kidding aside, the summer month is pretty much left as a big, scary void of time with a lot of pressure to perform. One of the ways that I have mitigated this big, scary void of time is to plan ahead and apply for a residency for a few weeks or a month. This forces me to develop my project concept, pitch my proposal and hope I get the residency and financial support. Most artist residencies are primarily covered through grants from the NEA or other large funders, or the residency foundation may be partially or fully endowed. However, there is usually a small daily or weekly fee, and for most of us who teach or work in the arts, that can still be an expensive studio experience.
One of the residencies that I would like to put on your radar is Hambidge. Hambidge is a terrific residency program in the North Georgia mountains that sits on 600 acres. Picture the scenery from the films Last of the Mohicans or Deliverance (maybe don’t picture anything more than the vistas in Deliverance), and you have the stunning scenery that surrounds Hambidge. There are nine different studios for visual artists, writers and composers- each studio is actually a small house complete with kitchen, bath and a bedroom. There is also the Antinori Pottery Studio that has several electric and gas kilns as well as a raku kiln. This facility is also used by a few local potters and ceramic sculptors.
One of the great aspects of applying to Hambidge as a new resident fellow: they receive a fantastic NEA grant that allows them to fully fund several new fellows each year as well as give a $700 stipend for a two week residency. As a previous recipient of this, I was overjoyed not only for the opportunity, but what I came away with in terms of work made, friends met and amazing food eaten. (Yes, their chef, Rae, is amazing. She will cook gourmet vegetarian meals for you four nights a week so that you have more time for your art). There are amazing trails to hike when you are needing a studio break, and wifi is only accessible (this is a blessing) in Lucinda’s Rock House where you eat dinner, do laundry, or hang out with other residents. The other residents are one of the most overlooked ‘positives’ of residencies, I believe. To sit with a select group of highly accomplished artists/writers/composers and share your work and ideas on a nightly basis is so enriching. It is wonderful to have such instant rapport with a group of artists, and I have been extremely lucky to have had this experience at nearly every residency I have been to.
The deadline for summer residencies at Hambidge is coming up fast, NEW DEADLINE January 20!