Artist Residencies / by Patsy Kolesar

I'm preparing to go on my first Artist Residency this spring. Since deciding to go, I've had lots of questions from people about the why, what, who, and how of of it.

So, I'm going to tell you all more about it here and hopefully inspire some of you to start looking for your own residency experience.

I first really learned about Artist residencies last spring when I attended my first Society of North American Goldsmith's conference in Seattle. We heard an artist named Heidi Schwegler speak. She talked about her experience of doing 4 residencies in 1 year. I remember feeling inspired. How blissful it sounded to travel to another country to make art. She said she wasn't sure how she would be able to do the residencies financially and work wise, but she just started applying. When she got accepted to 4 in a 1 year period, she said everything just started coming together for her. This got my mind ticking a little.....When I got home from that conference I started to look into residencies. Being a Jewelry Artist, I have always had some trouble calling myself an "Artist"........ I didn't go to Emily Carr, I don't have my Masters in Fine Arts....... I went to VCC a local community college and earned a Diploma in Jewelry Art and Design, I've taken numerous art and jewelry classes from other local artists, I've participated in national and international exhibitions......but still I have some trouble calling myself an Artist, weird yes. So to even look into artist residencies I felt somehow like an impostor. I found some really great websites, (listed below) that had tons of information on them. I was excited to see that there are residency opportunities all over the world and that they all have different requirements. For some you might need your masters in fine art, while others really want to offer space to emerging artists. Some are communal experiences, some are more solo driven. Some you can go for a couple of weeks, others can be months or a year.

After finding a handful of residencies that interested me I asked my beau if he would be interested in applying too and going together to one if possible. His response was, "But I'm not an artist, only you are", hmmm, interesting. My response to him, "But you've made a movie, and you have played and toured in bands nationally and internationally, and you haven't worked for anyone but yourself in over 15 years"............So.......we started applying...... two "non artists" started to apply to artist residencies, submitting proposals of work we wanted to create while on the residencies. And we started to get accepted.

We are now getting ready to go to Renkum, a small town in The Netherlands. Where I will create 30 (gasp) new one of a kind pieces of wearable art, using various types of metal wire, fabric, and found objects and he will write a script for a new movie.

You know non artist type stuff!

This amazing opportunity is through an arts organization called


They have residency opportunities in both The Netherlands and in Portugal.

The most comprehensive list of artist residencies that I found was this:

You have to just start looking through them to see if you want them and if they might want you.