Art residency

Arts residency question for any artist / writers / etc. So, for the makerspace, we’re working in phases: phase 1 is whatever we can teach out of dining rooms and other free spaces, phase 2 is when we rent a space, probably around 900-1200 square feet, phase 3, if we get there, is buying a building or renting a large space. Yes?

So I was talking to a member of the planning team, and she suggested the we could phase the artist residency program (an affiliated project) the same way. I’d been thinking that we couldn’t start it until we were ready to buy a building (if you have a nice Oak Park arts & crafts house that you’d like to donate to a 501(c)3, please get in touch!).

But she suggested that we could start much sooner, because there are homeowners in the area with lovely historic homes and spare rooms, who would be delighted to host a working artist for 2-4 weeks. Maybe people whose children are grown, who aren’t ready to downsize yet, for example? And then those artists would have access to our local arts community, and all of Chicago’s museums, writing scene, etc., as well as nearby Thatcher Woods, etc.

I was sort of hesitant, thinking that artists wouldn’t want to just stay in a stranger’s house, but of course, AirBnb has actually made people much more comfortable with that kind of thing. So maybe it would be fine?

We would take applications and look at art / writing samples, charging a small application fee for our time, and then match those people up with local hosts that we have, at least somewhat, vetted. We would include a photo of the room you’d be staying in, and a description of the hosts. (Although we’d also need to make clear that artist / writers are on their own recognizance in some ways — we wouldn’t be really set up for adjudicating a sexual harassment complaint, for example, or if you slip-and-fall on their stone steps.)

There’d be a relatively low per-week rate (maybe $100 / week or so), sliding-scale and with scholarships available as well. And we’d probably ask you to do a reading or a talk in the community.

So, thoughts? Writers and artists, would you apply to such a program in Oak Park, and if so, why or why not?

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