I've been here three times now, twice for a writer's retreat and once to continue my dream of seeing all thirty active MLB ballparks. It's a fantastic, welcoming place run by wonderful people who happen to be active in Chicago's literary and artistic community. In the winter, Miguel and Kapra run artist's residencies, which is a clever way to supplement their business during Chicago's frozen winters while enriching the lives of working artists.
What is a residency in this context?
- run by a legitimate art agency or patron of the arts
- can sometimes be mostly free to the artist, include a stipend or travel grant, or be as expensive as a five-star vacation, depending
- sometimes asks for participants to hold events, classes, workshops, give volunteer time, or donate works
- can have very simple (online forms, etc) to very complicated (full slideroom/submittable) applications with varying fees
- usually have set durations or standardized periods of time, although some do allow the artist to stay for any length of time they desire
- located across the country and internationally
For instance, Two Urns' residencies are one week long because they focus on community, holding dinners, recommending events, and encouraging artists--especially their visual artists--to spend time in Chicago's thriving art scene getting inspired, making contacts, and planning projects. I wouldn't expect to come here to complete an entire body of oil paintings, which would be best done at home. Even a writer might not make much headway with a week of uninterrupted time--although I accomplished much more than I thought I could the last time I came. What I love the most about residencies is the space away from the daily treadmill that makes it hard to plan realistic future events. I often find myself planning my next residency--even applying for it--during my time! It feels like cheating on the current residency, but I'm wild about the psychic distance from my desk at home that allows me to push forward with my writing.
I'll be writing more about residencies, and holding myself accountable to my personal goals this week!