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Fees, stipends, and funding for residencies

Most artists ask: "Where can I go that's free?" The short answer is, nothing is free. While some residencies charge fees, some charge nothing, and some provide funding, any residency will cost you something as an individual. So the real question is: "What will participating in this residency cost me?"

Determining cost

The total cost of a residency includes whether there are fees required or stipends provided, but also includes the direct costs to you (including meals, materials, and transportation), as well as the indirect costs (loss of income from jobs, or whether you’re maintaining a home while you are away, among other factors). A residency that charges fees but provides other services may actually cost you less out-of-pocket than a residency with no fees but fewer amenities. 

Download a worksheet to help you calculate the full costs of attending a residency.

Scholarships and subsidies

Many residencies that charge fees also have full or partial scholarships available or offer partial subsidies through work-exchange (for example, working in the kitchen a few days a week, teaching a workshop, or assisting with the box-office for performances). Some scholarships are based on financial need, while others are for artists working in specific disciplines or from particular geographic areas. If you don't see information on scholarships or subsidies listed on the residency program's website, it never hurts to ask!

Other funding sources

Even if a residency charges fees, there may be many other funding sources available. Most state arts councils have grants for individual artists that can be applied to travel costs, materials, etc. Community foundations are also a good source of funding, through professional development, research, or project grants.

The Foundation Center is the largest resource on funders in the U.S., and separates their databases by grants for individuals and grants for organizations. The grants for individuals database includes tutorials, sample proposals, and other tools to assist you in your grant-seeking.

Online funding resources

Funders Supporting Individual Artists

Databases + Other Resources

     Foundation Center

  State Arts Councils (in the U.S. and territories)

     New York Foundation for the Arts / NYFA Source

     On-the-Move has published a series of user-friendly guides for artists seeking funding for international exchange.

Other resources

Alumni and student career resources
Almost every college or university has an office of career development, and most offer career services -- online or in person -- to alumni as well as current students. Your specific department or dean may also be able to assist with researching grant and residency opportunities, putting together a funding proposal, and developing a strategy for your creative career.

Fractured Atlas
A national network of more than 50,000 arts organizations and individual artists of all disciplines (visual artists, dancers/choreographers, musicians/composers, writers, filmmakers, and more), Fractured Atlas connects its members to career-building resources.

GYST (Getting Your Sh*T together) provides artists with a variety of tools for planning their careers, including in-person workshops and computer software that includes sample business plans, grant proposals, and more.

Artists U
Artists U is a grassroots planning and professional development program run by and for artists. The site features their wildly popular and free-to-download guide: Making A Life as an Artist.

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