Artist Residency Discovery Guide – Part Two: “When the Going Gets Tough, The Creative Get Going”

Artist Residency Discovery Guide

Part Two: When the Going Gets Tough, the Creative Get Going

Part One of this guide was an introduction to who I am and what led me to discover the existence of Artist In Residency programs. In this post, I will define what an Artist Residency is to me, and how that definition developed into a path that inspired me.

This Really Shouldn’t Be So Hard

Artist Residencies (commonly seen written as “AIR”) vary quite a bit. At the most basic level, these programs are an opportunity provided to a creative individual in need of a space to work, and possibly live, for a specified period of time.

In the beginning, finding one of these programs to build a bridge to the next step in my career as a musician was a priority. I envisioned a private space where I could write and record music whenever I felt inspired. It was also important to me that I find myself around supportive peers. To create work I could truly be proud of I would need at least a month. I also thought I might be able to develop a curriculum for teaching music lessons at different skill levels, and learn about ways to sustain a professional lifestyle going forward.

While the idea of a residency to help me build my skill was exciting, I was unable to find any real guidance. The only promising resource I found was a PDF document that listed AIR by state, and that was pretty much it. Many of the residencies I did look into had restrictions, fees, and costs. I didn’t understand how an AIR could be helpful to struggling artists who would likely be limited on funds.

The Shift

They say the word “enthusiasm” is based in Greek, meaning “spark of the divine.” One morning, I woke up with this spark. After over a month of dead-ends as I tried to find “the right residency,” I suddenly opened my eyes to a knowing: I NEED TO BUILD MY OWN ARTIST RESIDENCY. The vision was crystal clear. I felt like I was playing poker and just realized I was holding the best cards.

Running a residency would satisfy all of my strongest passions: creativity, entrepreneurism, sustainability, mentorship, and hospitality. These were endeavors for which I never grew tired.

I knew sustainability would have to take priority in order to limit operating costs and provide the highest level of support for the artists. I had worked in hotels for 8 years, and I knew that with the help of my father who had spent most of his life managing hotel engineering, I could make it a pleasant and comfortable destination for creatives. Furthermore, I could create lodging for guests visiting for workshops or other events.

I could see myself being happy to wake up everyday knowing I would be helping people stuck in the very same situation as I had been. I could channel my natural leadership abilities into constantly improving the facility, and keeping everyone meaningfully informed. It would have to be a place where trans-disciplinary “Crossover Creatives” could hold workshops on a range of disciplines, for each other and the public. I thought, “I know I’m not alone! This idea would help a great number of people. With my background, I can pull this off, and create a residency that will change lives!”

The Beat Goes On

Not a day has passed since then that I haven’t visualized the details of how I would run such a place. The energy of this idea flows through me from the infinite. I still find myself feverishly making lists about how operations, management, and logistics will work. The idea of building multiple creative skills simultaneously has become my obsession. That obsession has led me to write this blog, and bring other creatives along with me as I move closer to the day I open the doors to this Crossover Residency. We can call the community whatever we want. At the core, improving the quality of life for “artists,” whether musical, visual, or energetic, is all about the connections.

I believe this guide will help a reader find the “right” community for their individual needs. As a musician, I could visualize what needs would be met by a residency. I could see myself with access to nature, good meals with kindred spirits, and quiet time to craft lyrics and music without interruption.

Visualize your experience. What does it look like? What does it feel like?

Thank you for reading! This is Part 2 of 8 in my “Artist Residency Discovery Guide.”
Please stay tuned for Part 3 to learn about the first resource I recommend to help an artist define what their ideal creative space looks like.


“Guitarist” Image courtesy of gazetasecret at

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