What is An Artist Residency? A Brief Guide…

Art. A name, a word that has the creative endeavors to imprint your mind every time you see creative work. Art has that effect on people, which can even change their perspective on everything. Art can create an imaginary world inside your brain and take you to a place where you can find yourself in a peaceful space.

And to distract you from the reality and the chaos, some funding bodies or residencies provide programs in small towns where artists can create a world of art and colorful project for the local community. Those are called an artist in residence programs.

An artist in residence program is when a museum or a workspace recruits artists or communities to create work for the museum’s upcoming programs. They provide artists a definite period and space to use their skills and produce arts to promote the organization.

What is the Concept of Artist Residency?

I’m pretty sure when the headline caught your attention, the very first thing you thought was that it probably means some artist living his daily life in his own personal studio, which is decorated aesthetically with canvas paintings and small beautiful stationary objects. In short, you thought it meant an artist living in his own accommodation.

Art residencies are any sort of place, for example, museum, studio spaces, national parks, or any kind of community where an organization can hire creative individuals and other artists to promote their own work and company.

There are lots of artists hidden worldwide, waiting to find their comfort zone to create their work and send it to an exhibition. Artist in residence is an excellent opportunity for artists to test their skill set and produce work in a dedicated time.

Where Can We Find Such Programs?

These programs are not explicitly held in a museum, closed space, or studios. It can be held in an open urban area or in any open space in rural areas. The residents all gather together in a spot where it has been announced that an artist-in-residence program will be held here. Sometimes, there are causes behind arranging these programs.

For example, some small towns held such programs for funding purposes, sometimes collaboration agreements between fellow residents and an organization create a program.

One fine example of an artist residency is the MacDowell Colony. It is located in New Hampshire, United States, founded in 1907. The Artist in Residence Program at San Francisco and Residency Unlimited at the former South Congregational Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

What to Do Before Applying for Art Residencies?

The residency programs will provide some rules for the project and explain the application process that one artist needs to follow to bounce ideas off with the community.

Of course, there are some disciplines and rules to maintain and follow.

An artist has to go through an open application process first, and if he gets selected to promote his artwork in the exhibition, the museum staff will provide him with studio space to work on their new art.

Artists have to make sure that they are interested in the project, find their comfort zone while working and have minimum residency experience. Most of them are resident artists as the workplace is nearer and it’s easy for them to go and work in their studios.

A museum is bestowed with a new project, visual arts, artwork, and bits of knowledge from an exhibition and attracts audiences. The museum and art lovers explore the museum and spend time here to learn new things, which eventually becomes a cause of benefit to the museum itself.

Pros of Artist Residency:

  • Artists get paid
  • Financially support artists
  • Visual artists get to promote their arts in museum
  • The community gets to see the artwork and spends good time
  • Residency involves, which mean the artist can explore and focus on their own residence
  • Beneficial to museums as well
  • Easier for resident artists

Cons of Artist Residencies:

  • Visual artists in artist residencies sometimes don’t get paid.
  • If the museum doesn’t get enough audience, it will be a loss.
  • Only residence is involved, so sometimes not everyone is allowed to take part in it.

MacDowell Colony Art Residency Program

The public programs in MacDowell Colony of New Hampshire support other artists by giving them the residency opportunity to unleash their inner talent and show their arts and other creative work to other residents.

MacDowell Colony holds its programs in a natural environment so the other residents in the nearby space can enjoy the realistic view and different types of artwork.

Visual artists in the community show their art in MacDowell Downtown, a series of programs held by the MacDowell Colony staff on the first Friday of the month from March to November. All sorts of art are shown in the agenda of MacDowell Colony.

Residencies of artists can be of many types. Not all residence will pay the artists. Some will be free and will be told to cook their own food. Some will take charge to apply in a program, and some will be completely free to exhibit their work in a museum.

Artists all around the world have created their world with their art and paintings. After a long creative process, they send them to the local museum or exhibition for the residents to look at their artwork. An artist in residence programs gets the support only when his own work gets accepted in the program. The benefit of one artist can be the benefit of one museum too.


I hope you have a clear idea of artist residencies now, and you can easily believe that it’s not just a simple home. It’s home to many other artists who are beginners and also those who are in their mid-career.

Artist in residence has helped many organizations to raise funds and helped many passionate artists to build their dream and explore their talent.