(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.