4 Strategies to Find Artist Residencies

(look for a future post on application tips)

1.) Before we start, know that MANY residencies want to charge YOU money. No. Scan any listing for this before even reading through it. I won’t do this, and many other artists won’t either.
Exceptions to think about: some ask for a deposit that will be refunded- that means they’ve had people cancel. Fair. Some hosts are young not-for-profits offering partial subsidies. If the price would be a bargain as a vacation (like a month in a house in the south of France for 450 Euro) that might be worth it to you. Same if they offer a class or a strong mentorship experience. This depends on your budget and needs and guess what. It all looks the same on your CV, and if your work was fabulous as a result, screw it. I have my rules but don’t let anyone define your parameters for you. Artists can be so judgey, but all artists are in a different place.

2.) Some charge entry fees. Many artists will tell you that's a scam but not from my experience. Here’s what I think is fair. I’ll pay fees to non-profits. Out of my four residencies, two charged nothing (one had a 1,000 euro stipend!). Of the two asking fees, one charged $10 (that prevents every yahoo on earth from applying). The National Parks Art Foundation charged me $50, but they award a $1,000 stipend, living quarters, studio space and assistance (I WORKED IN THE CANNON SHOP WITH CANNON DUDES). That was a good investment. Another thought- the owner of Site:Brooklyn gallery told me they pay a lot of money for sites like NYFA and Submittable. That can be hard on a small place. Also I did the rough math on a few and sometimes the entry fees times the number of entries add up to approximate residency costs. It's reasonable for a not-for-profit to have a raffle. We all pay $15,and the winner gets the trip. It still goes to an artist, not corporations. The organization still devotes many hours promoting and hosting.

3.) I reccommend FIRST scanning for age, gender, citizenship restrictions etc. It's painful to get all excited and then read “Swedish citizens only”.

THEN look at who's won in the past. If all I see is landscapes, I'm not going to win. Look at the whole site. What’s their mission? Adapt your standard answers to make a good fit. This isn’t unethical. There’s more to your art than you thought and different interpretations; you have more relevancy than you knew. Even when I think I'm faking it, by the end of my little essay I'm totally into it, it relates to everything else I do, and I’m so on board.

3.) Here’s the LIST! There are other opportunities there, like exhibitions and grants. AVOID contests and juried shows. Huge non-specific ones like PHOTOGRAPHY TODAY are just a scam to take fees from a million people. The more specific the curatorial ideas are, the more likely it’s genuine. Why? Because that severly limits applicants, they only want the right idea, not 40,000 applications.

#1 on the list often lists applications vs. accepted. I don't apply if the odds are over 1/10 unless I think something is super relevant to my work.









https://rivet.es <- rates residencies, still helps.

4.) Not all residencies use these sites. Google some more with your attributes. Any qualifier that narrows the pool of applicants increases your chances.

Try artist residency and:

+ Teaching artist or art teacher

+ parent, father, mother

+ race, nationality, orientation, disability

+ state or region, even county. Like, there's one just for the NY fingerlakes area.

+ the time of year you're available

P.S.- All rules are made to be broken. A friend paid for a residency and when they returned a gallery gave them a show. Selling 4-6 pieces means probably breaking even. Plus resume = updated. So.

Lead as Material

Lead can be cast and recast, it can be a bullet, a fishing sinker or a poem. It’s so malleable. So are we. 

vintage fishing weights. I use these to stabilize hanging elements like boats, nets, etc.  

vintage fishing weights. I use these to stabilize hanging elements like boats, nets, etc.  


Notes for Bridge Guard number 41

Thanks for the compliment, and from what it sounds like you might be interested in the theme of the piece!

All the sticks are driftwood from the river. Some formed the "river" others  were used for the boats and  still other ones are serving as supports. All the pottery shards from the opposite bank past the Basilica and only available during the times when the river is low. Only the wire, paper, a few screws, and the salt are added. The salt serves as a screen for a video projected down from the boat hanging above it. It shows a looping video of the boats floating in the Danube for real.

So this is the studio, it's huge I think you'll be able to write in it. ;) 


I was almost finished with it when I went up the ramp on the Instagram side instead of the steps. There was a poem dedicating the beginning of the construction of the bridge. It's an English, Slovak, and Hungarian. The first line of the poem is "gather the ruins". Which came as a bit of a shock because that's exactly what I freaking did for two months. The text is hiding in the back because any time text is present in visual art people's eyes spend more time on the text than anything else. I love using text but I either hide it make it self referential or 3-D. 


I made another piece on translucent paper that has a poem about shepherd who crossed the Danube and calls to others from afar. I did rubbings of individual letters from Estergom gravestones on one side of the paper and some letters from the Štúrovo one on the other. The poem can be read by holding it up to the light. The letter stand for people separated by literally a piece of paper. I haven't been able to find it since the show, so if you find it while you are here please let me know. Which reminds me- the cemeteries on this side of the river are incredibly informative and poetic. I highly recommend visiting both of them. 

Mass grave of Russian soldiers from WWII

Mass grave of Russian soldiers from WWII

The Estergom one is bigger than it looks and on a hillside and is also scenic.

Make sure you ask Karol about his family's history here, and how people called to each other from across the river because the water carries the sound. By the way there is a bridge one town south it's much smaller and you can tell it used to be a crossing. It was closed during the entire communist era.

I recommend contacting Adriana Gore, she teaches English at the Hungarian speaking high school, and she has taken me places like her organic family farm, a wine festival, The culture house, a huge mansion that's also a vineyard, all places I probably wouldn't have known about or figured out how to get there on my own.


I spoke to her classes at the high school as my "duty". It was really fun so I went back several more times. I'm actually supposed to go one more time still. I had a small group of her kids come and do printmaking with me at the residence. We made art in bottles to send down the river. I'll send you her contact info.  



Gyuri will take you to Tesco (yay!) - also on the other side of the river, which is a great place to stock up on lots of things like mailing supplies etc. not just groceries. He knows about all the cultural festivals and stuff going on in the immediate area. He and Sophie have this amazing garden plot near their apartment building which is incredibly relaxing.

Many intriguing things around Estergom also- cool restaurants, older architecture, and interesting shopping. There's an outdoor market from 7 AM to 12 PM Wednesdays and Fridays. There's also some kind of other market in the evening with more homemade foods, but I haven't figured out where it is.

I'm finding out some of the best stuff right now like the homemade gourmet lemonade place over there I wish I would've known about it day one!


Oh and at the top of the mountain across the river is an abandoned church as the base of a decrepit 12 stations of the cross with a mysterious chapel at the top that is been signed hundreds maybe a thousand times with pencil for at least 120 years. There's also brightly colored statuary of Jesus on the crucifix, Mary, saints etc. This isolated almost creepy location at the top of the mountain feels like 1,000,000 miles away from civilization. The steeple is cockamamie and bound to fall in on itself soon. 


If we have time we'll talk at The Green Pub, delightfully & conveniently located across the street.  Have a good trip! 

My first and only rap composition

I am relentless, and check this

Website where the tickets can be spotted, dropped in

your cart but never boughtted

as the crowds, the hordes the fans down the site:

their demands remand you empty hands.

But my competitive eyes, crafty whiles,

so much experience

shopping while delirious,

I push towards the date they hate to break; but this is serious

the nativity occurs to me (sensibly)

breaking the proclivity to gather round the Christmas tree and

BOOM I have tickets to the room a theater flume in bloom with Alexander Hamilton.

So yeah. I got tix because Christmas Eve was available.

DUNA - residency installation 2017


DUNA Is the title of my one-person show at my Bridge Guard residency (from April through June). Everything in the installation is from the river Danube. I collected the driftwood and pottery shards from both the Slovak and Hungarian sides of the Danube. Some of the shards are hundreds of years old.

The people in this area have lived without the Maria Valeria bridge for more years than they have with it. Destroyed twice and then rebuilt in 2001 it connects people of similar heritage but now different countries. The people here were divided and assigned to 5 different nations during the last century. During the communist years families would call to one another across the river to share births and deaths, as visits required permits that were almost impossible to get approved.

Driftwood and shards do not say from which side of the river they came. The river serves as a border but behaves like a force. It draws water, wood, things and people to it. It mixes, rearranges and shapes what it finds as do people. This is how we create what we know, and what we are. And we can't take it with us, someone else will build something new from it later.


Local Materials

It's never really according to plan, but my residencies this past year have all turned into an experience using local materials and reflecting what I learned about that place. In Detroit I found abandoned tools and materials in the thrift stores. In Gettysburg I used lead from their canon shop. Here in Slovakia/Hungary I'm using driftwood and pottery shards that I find along the river banks. It's not like that's always my approach in my plan, it's very organic. But I have to identify it as a pattern after three times in a row!