Leave the Dishes: Making Art While Raising Children

A Holiday Gift to You: Writing and Visual Artist Residencies for Parents (Part I)
by Claudia F. Savage

This summer, my husband, John, and I had an artist friend for dinner who does not have children. “So, when are you two going to be doing your next residency?” (He knew I had met John at The Atlantic Center for the Arts.) Then our friend pointed towards our sleeping daughter’s room and laughed. “Oh, sorry, I forgot.”

Things are changing. Below are five places that want to support your efforts to keep creating (while bringing your children with you or taking needed time away from them). In Part II of this series, I will offer five more. The wonderful Sustainable Arts Foundation (SAF) is supporting the vision of these residencies:

Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program
Since its inception in 1967, Roswell has accommodated families. Stephen Fleming, director of the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, says, “A few children have [even] been born on the residency … or, at least, here in town. Every artist has their own separate living space so they are free to hang out together or remain uninvolved according to their own requirements.”

Where: Roswell, New Mexico
How Long: 12 months!
What You Get: $800 a month stipend for the artist and $200 for each dependent with no restriction on how the funds are used. A house/studio with three small bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. “A family of four is the typical number of folks per house,” says Fleming.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: visual artists (painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, photography, installation and other fine art media)
Apply: Application deadline is March 15, application fee is $25, submit

Headlands has been supporting professional artist-parents since the 1980s. According to Holly Blake, residency manager, “The Family House is offered as a resource to help make a residency more possible for an artist. Two of our staff members have younger children and can offer advice about babysitting and local pre-schools.”

Where: Sausalito, CA
How Long: Two weeks (Spring, March-May; Summer, June-August; and Fall, September-November), with, according to Blake, “many artists doing a week solo and then a week with their family.”
What You Get: Family House (three bedrooms, bathroom, shared kitchen, and washer/dryer), five chef-prepared meals per week served in the mess hall (which the artist’s family can join at no charge), a studio, $500 per month stipend, roundtrip airfare, and use of shared cars.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers and visual artists
Apply: Application deadline is June 6, application fee $45 (make sure to request a Family House stay in your application’s statement of interest), submit

Elizabeth Quinn, artist-in-residence director, says that Caldera began family residencies last year thanks to an SAF grant and as an extension of its mission to work and support youth. “We think each family will be different in how much the child of the artist-parent is involved in the activities of the residency. Caldera’s goal is to manage expectations and ensure a positive experience for everyone [attending the residency].”

Where: Sisters, Oregon
How Long: One month (January, February or March) or two weeks (March)
What You Get: A variable stipend that can be used as needed to support the family. (“Last year $1,500 was awarded to two artists,” Quinn said. “One family used it for childcare; another family used it to support the living expenses of the family while in residence.”) Private cabin that is child-proofed, has children-sized furniture, bathroom, and kitchen. Shared access to studios, darkroom, kiln, editing facilities, and performance space.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writing, visual artists, and composers
Apply: Application deadline is June 15, application fee is $35, submit

Kala Art Institute
Last year, Kala Art Institute awarded ten residencies to artists with children. “We don’t have housing at Kala. Artists are given a housing resource list with lower-than-market rates [for accommodations],” says Carrie Hott, program manager, Artist Residencies and Classes.

Where: Berkeley, CA
How Long: Varies based on residency plan designed by artist and Kala staff with “most parent-artists using the award for at least two months or putting a portion of their fees towards classes or tutoring to gain a new skill,” according to Hott.
What You Get: $1,000 stipend allows resident to create a plan to cover the residency, classes, Camp Kala for their children, or professional development with Kala staff.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: visual artists (printmaking, photography, or digital media)
Apply: Application deadline is March 15, application fee is $10-40 (depending on if you apply for an additional fellowship), submit

Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI Family Residency Initiative)
Nina Elder, the residency program manager at SFAI, says, “We recognize the lack of residency opportunities for artists to be able to take advantage of, without having to leave their children behind. We are doing our part to close that gap by offering an environment that supports both creative opportunities and the needs of artists with children. Our next family month will be June 2016.”

Where: Santa Fe, New Mexico
How Long: One designated month a year
What You Get: Two apartments at the SFAI for a fee of $1,000. “The Family Initiative allows parent artists to bring their children and/or partner at no additional fee. All residents make their own meals in the communal kitchen,” says Elder. The SFAI facility includes gallery and exhibition spaces, sky-lit studios, art library, courtyards, laundry facilities, and dining and living room areas.
Artistic Disciplines Funded: writers and visual artists
Apply: Application deadline is January 31 for residencies August–June, application fee is $35 (check the Family Initiative box on the application), submit

Claudia F. SavageClaudia F. Savage has been a chef for people recovering from illness, a book editor, and a teacher of poetry to young women in Appalachia, ranchers in Colorado, and urbanites in Portland. Her first book, The Limited Visibility of Bees, was named a finalist for the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. Her poetry and interview credits include CutBank, Nimrod, The Denver Quarterly, VoiceCatcher, Iron Horse, The Buddhist Poetry Review, and Bookslut. Her published chapbook is called The Last One Eaten: A Maligned Vegetable’s History. Savage is a member of the poetry/music duo, THrum, whose album is forthcoming in spring 2015. This article continues her series for VoiceCatcher, Leave the Dishes: Making Art While Raising Children.

3 thoughts on “Leave the Dishes: Making Art While Raising Children

  1. Pingback: Leave the Dishes: Artist Residencies for Parents | While River Sleeps

  2. What a joy to see all the possibilities! I see potential sabbatical, summer or January term ideas for my art professor husband and our two young children.

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