As an artist, residencies can be important in shaping your career. They offer dedicated time to work on your practice and link you to a greater artistic community. Many bring in visiting critics and guest artists to give feedback and push your work forward. There are so many residencies out there, yet it often feels impossible to find ones that will be a good fit for you and your practice. I often find myself bookmarking ones that I stumble across only to have that become a deep abyss that I rarely venture into.

To help keep myself organized, and perhaps help out others looking for rad opportunities, I’m going to highlight 5 residencies each week and try to group them together in a meaningful way.

This week we’ll take a look at residencies that take place on islands. Sounds romantic!

Rabbit Island  (website)

Photo taken from their website

Photos taken from their website


Last week my husband sent me a NY Times article about Rabbit Island, a remote island in Lake Superior that offers a 3-6 week residency during the Summer. It’s a rugged, no-frills kind of environment and they recommend you have experience with camping and first aid. 1-3 residents will be awarded support grants to pay for travel to and from the island. All residents will have an exhibition at the DeVos Art Museum in Marquette, Michigan. They also are in collaboration with Loveland, a sweet community based project in Detroit aimed at reshaping the urban landscape.

This is what founders Robert Gorski (island owner) and Andrew Ranville have to say about this experience:

“The Rabbit Island Residency is a platform to investigate, expand, and challenge creative practices in a remote environment. By living and working on Rabbit Island residents engage directly with the landscape, responding to notions of conservation, ecology, sustainability, and resilience. With a frontier spirit informed by the idea that wilderness is civilization, the residency reflects on the insights provided by the hundreds of years of settlement and division of land. The island – itself an unsettled and undivided space – enables residents to present commentary on these ideas, creating interpretations and even solutions.”

You must be at least 21 to apply. Application deadline for Summer 2014: Aug 23, 2013. Apply here

The Lighthouse Works (website)

A sculpture by Jaques Vidal, Summer Fellow 2012, takes shape in the Fishers Island Sound

A sculpture by Jaques Vidal, Summer Fellow 2012,
takes shape in the Fishers Island Sound

Lighthouse Works offers 6 week fellowships that run year round on Fishers Island, NY. They provide fellows with studio space, housing, food, $250 travel allowance, and a $1,500 stipend to offset costs of buying/shipping art supplies to and from the island. Their aim is to make it as easy as possible for their fellows to accept the opportunity to create work in their community. As of now, the fellowship is only open to US residents.

In their own words:

“The Lighthouse Works’ primary purpose is to provide artists with the space and time, free from material concerns, to do their best creative work. We bring artists on fellowship to beautiful Fishers Island, where they are provided with room, board and studio space, giving them ample opportunity for quiet productivity in a serene, supportive environment.”

2014 application deadline has not been posted, but you can join their mailing list for updates or follow them on tumblr or twitter

Fogo Island Arts (website)

Tower Studio, designed by Saunders Architecture

Tower Studio, designed by Saunders Architecture

Fogo Island is located off the coast in Newfoundland, Canada. The residency was founded in 2008 and is open to applicants in any media from around the world. The residents will have solo exhibitions at the Fogo Island gallery housed at the Fogo Island Inn. Residencies range from 3-6 months and they have a strong focus on education as residents participate with the local community offering classes and workshops.

In their own words:

“Fogo Island Arts works to create meaningful partnerships — locally, nationally and internationally. Collaboration enhances knowledge through the sharing of resources, strengthening capacities and stimulating creative thought. By facilitating collaborations between emerging and established artists, curators, scholars and the public at large, we are building a growing national and international network of associates that help to support the institute and its programs.”

Their website is still in progress, but you can find the application here.

Fire Island Artist Residency (website)

Image taken from their website

Image taken from their website

Fire Island Artist Residency is the first U.S. residency program to be open exclusively to the LBGTQ community.  Fire Island has a long history with the LBGTQ community, so this residency is aimed at bringing 5 emerging artists to the island to engage with this rich history. The residency provides free live/work space and they bring in visiting artists to engage with the residents. The residencies are a month long from mid July to mid August.

In their own words:

 “FIAR hopes to bring both new creative perspectives and prestigious art professionals together in this extraordinary location to foster the creation — and preservation — of LGBTQ art-making in contemporary art.”

Follow them on twitter for 2014 application information.

Norton Island Residency (website)

Images taken from their website

Images taken from their website


Located off the coast of Maine about 50 miles up the coast from Bar Harbor, this remote residency offers artists a chance to have uninterrupted time to create. Their cabins have no running water and artists are responsible for hauling their own fire wood. During the Summer there are two ten-day sessions which accomodate 16 writers, 4 visual artists, and 2 musicians. The only access to Norton Island is by boat which runs from Beal’s Island connected to Jonesport on the mainland by bridge. Meals are eaten together prepared by a full-time professional chef.

In their own words:

“The nature of this program is straightforward, even rudimentary: this is a remote, rustic wilderness with facilities to accommodate a select group of artists who sometimes share their work after dinner but are otherwise there to work uninterrupted. The environment is beautiful, extreme, and unadorned. Each resident is required to work with their fellow residents to conserve water and electricity, to help clean up after dinner, and to tote their own share of firewood. Norton Island is an outdoorsy experience that may come as a shock at first to residents who have spent time at other artist residencies.” 

Deadline for Summer 2014 is in March. You can find the application here

**I’m sure that there are many more residencies out there on islands, so if you know of a good one, please leave some info about it in the comments section!**