Sunday, April 23, 2006

Painting Retreats, Artist Colonies and Residency Programmes

My copy of "The Pastel Journal" arrived this week and besides a riveting read and viewing of the Pastel 100 it contained a very interesting article by Michael Chesley Johnson on "Safe Havens: Artist's Retreats".

Besides talking about the value to an artist of a retreat (or painting holiday) or residency program, Michael provides a list of Painting Retreats and Workshops for pastel artists and a reminder about the ones which can be found at the back of each edition of the Pastel Journal.

He also highlighted the information about Arts and Crafts workshops which can be found at This is a source of relevant information I'd not come across before - but this is maybe linked to the fact that it mainly covers workshops in the USA or delivered by USA based artists. I wasn't very impressed with their search function which threw up a lot of irrelevant workshops for the search terms I used - but there's certainly a lot of information on the site.

On Friday I also came across a website which lists Artists Colonies and Residency programs in the USA. This website classifies the different programs as follows:
This list includes three distinct types of residency programs.
  • Artist in Residence (AIR) programs are hosted by an institution such as a college, national park, or museum. These programs usually run for long periods of time (a year, or a semester), usually host only one artist at a time, often pay an honorarium, and often expect the artist to interact with the public by offering a class, or presenting in some other fashion (which can even include allowing the public to watch you work in your open studio).
  • Artist colonies exist to allow artists time to work without distractions. Most are located in rural areas, and there is no public interaction (most have rules prohibiting anyone from interrupting artists in their studios between 9:00 and 5:00). A few can offer a modest stipend, and some request payment (usually partial payment of actual expenses), but many allow artists simply to come for free. Artist colonies usually have a number of artists in residence at any one time (from 4-20), and a sense of community builds as residents share dinners and breakfasts together. Artist colonies host artists for lengths of time ranging from two weeks to three months, but most last approximately one month.

Both AIR Programs and artist colonies request work samples, references, and an essay describing your work plan while in residence, and both are competitive, with panels evaluating applications.

  • A third category of retreat programs are not competitive and require no work samples or elaborate applications. These retreats serve artists on a first-come, first-served basis for a fee. These programs tend to last for shorter amounts of time, such as a week or two.

I'm certainly planning to post comments on the pastel workshops I'm taking later this year and it would be good to read about other people's experiences on their blogs. Feel free to comment or post links to similar such posts on other art blogs - while bearing in mind my comments policy and the fact that this is not an invite to those delivering such retreats or workshops to advertise!

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  1. You have given me such a gift. What a treasure you have here. Thank you.

  2. Hi Katherine, Just came across your blog and particularly liked this post. I wasn't too sure of the differences between the each program, but am clear on it now. I'll have to check out the website that lists the programs. Now if I could just get away long enough to do one.....


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