Is an Artist Residency Economically Feasible?

artist-in-residence

As artists we are constantly thinking about ways to improve or evolve our craft by adapting old and new methodologies, allowing ourselves to be influenced by society and environment and taking on new challenges.  Two of the greatest road blocks to moving from thought to reality are time and funding.  Artist residencies, in some cases provide both.  But like all things, there are benefits and costs to these professional development opportunities.

Benefits:  stipend (if provided), time and space (mostly free) to create new work or develop works in progress, increase your network, connect with the local community, collaborate with and learn from fellow residents, engage new audiences, convene in a space where you and your work are valued

Costs: travel, food, room & board, supplies (if not covered by residency).

According to the Alliance for Artist Communities, two-thirds of residencies don’t require artists to incur the bulk of the cost.  But there are still one-third of the residencies that expect artists to pay.  When you add that to the income artists forego by taking leave from their “bill-paying” jobs, the artist residency does not even seem economically feasible.

In her article, “Surveying Arts Residencies: Making It Happen”, An Xiao offers that “short-term residency programs…point to a way forward for residencies”. Short term residencies offer the benefits described above but at a relatively lower price and the best part is that you may not have to sacrifice your current employment for your professional development and ultimately the Art.  @anxiaostudios

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