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Ragdale House
ADA Compliant Studio interior: Chandler Studio
2016 Residents (Themed Residency with Third Coast International Audio Festival)
Prairie adjacent to Ragdale

The Ragdale Foundation

Ragdale is a non-profit artists’ community located on architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s country estate in Lake Forest, IL, 30 miles north of Chicago. In 1976, Shaw’s granddaughter, Alice Judson Hayes, transformed her family’s summer home into an artist's retreat to provide time and space for artists to create important new work.

Today, Ragdale annually hosts approximately 200 visual artists, writers, composers, and interdisciplinary artists at all stages of their careers for 18 or 25- day residencies, making it one of the largest interdisciplinary artist communities in the country. Ragdale offers a retreat setting where at any given time, a dozen creative individuals experience uninterrupted time for dedicated work, a supportive environment, family-style dinners, and dynamic artist exchanges within a backdrop of 50 acres of idyllic prairie.

Ragdale Ring Residency

In addition to the residency program Ragdale is now accepting applications for the Ragdale Ring Design/Build Residency. The Ragdale Ring Residency invites architects, designers and artists to apply for the opportunity to design, build, and exhibit the annual Ragdale
Ring, a temporary outdoor theatre to house summer concerts, performances, and events. Ragdale seeks proposals for a full-scale project and installation that consider contemporary, fanciful and functional interpretations of the original Ragdale Ring, designed by architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1912 as a garden theatre.

Deadline for submissions March 9th.

See application and complete RFP for project guidelines, eligibility, application instructions and visuals at:


Lake Forest, Illinois: United States

Located at the historic summer home of Arts and Crafts architect Howard Van Doren Shaw, Ragdale exists in a peaceful setting adjacent to over 50 acres of prairie. Residents reside in live/work spaces in the Ragdale House, Barnhouse and Friends' studios. Ragdale is located one mile from downtown Lake Forest, and just 30 miles (one hour by train) from downtown Chicago.


  • Residency Length: 18 or 25 days
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 13
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 150
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 400


  • Application type: Open application
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Additional eligibility information: 

    Artists working collaboratively can apply for an 18 or 25 day residency, but must be accepted individually. 3-13 artists working collaboratively may apply for a week-long Themed Residency. One application per collaboration is required for a Themed Residency.

  • Application deadline: May 15, May 15, May 15, March 09
  • Additional deadline info:
    Ragdale Ring Residency Deadline: March 9. General Residency Deadline: May 15.

Past Residents & Quotes

Past residents: 
Visit for information on Ragdale alumni.

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private bedroom in a shared housing facility
    All writers' bedrooms function as a writing room. Visual artists, composers, and interdisciplinary artists are assigned a live/work space or a studio plus separate sleeping quarters. We have an ADA compliant live/work space which accommodates an artist of any discipline. One studio does not have WIFI reception.
  • Meals: All/most meals are provided by organization
    Dinner is provided five nights a week, Monday through Friday. Our chef generally prepares vegetarian meals with meat dishes on the side. The Barnhouse and Ragdale House kitchens are available 24 hours a day and is fully stocked for residents to prepare their own breakfasts and lunches. Basic food supplies are provided but residents are asked to provide special dietary needs on their own. Residents may bring their own food or shop at local grocery stores which are approximately 1 mile away.
  • Computer/internet access: Computer and internet connection provided in common area (shared), Computer and internet connection provided in living or studio area (private), Wireless Internet
  • Accessibility: housing/grounds/studios are accessible
    Ragdale offers an accessible studio in one of its primary buildings, the Barnhouse. The Chandler studio, a flexible live/work space with a wheelchair-accessible private bath, best accommodates visual artists and writers. The space is adjacent to the main kitchen and dining facilities, where communal dinners are served. Accessible shared living spaces in the Barnhouse also include a library of alumni works, a living room often used for evening readings and discussions, and a conference room.
  • Studios/special equipment: Dance / Choreography, Exhibition / Installation, Music studio (non-recording), Painting, Photography (digital)
  • Additional studio information: 
    All studios are white box spaces. Please plan to bring all tools, materials, and equipment. All studios have running water. All but one studio has WIFI. A baby grand piano is available for one musician, composer, or interdisciplinary artist per session.

Residency Fees

A 18-day residency will cost $630 and a 25-day residency will cost $875. Once accepted 2018 residents will receive residency contract and financial aid and fellowship application. Financial aid is available on a limited basis. Applicants may request to apply for financial aid upon acceptance of a residency. A written statement of financial need and a copy of the applicant’s most recently submitted tax form will be required. Residency paperwork, $100 deposit, financial aid applications are due by October 1st. Completed residency paperwork and nonrefundable deposit of $100 is required to secure a residency slot. The balance is due two weeks before the residency session.

Stipends / other support

Financial Aid: Ragdale can provide limited financial aid to admitted residents, based on need. Only individuals who have already been admitted may apply for financial assistance. Specific instructions and an application form are included with acceptance documents. In most cases, a reduction in the resident fee is granted to help offset the cost of a residency. Fellowships: Ragdale awards fellowships to admitted residents based on merit and suitability of practice for public programming and Ragdale in Schools Initiative. Specific instructions and an application form are included with acceptance documents. Occasionally, Ragdale will offer a fellowship that requires a separate application. Fellowship candidates must meet specific criteria of the fellowship to apply. All upcoming deadlines are published on Ragdale's website.

Additional expectations / opportunities

Applicants should submit project proposals through via its Submittable online portal no later than 11:59 PM CST on May 15 for residencies in the following year. Applicants will be notified by email according to the timeline listed in the application. Applications are juried annually by the Ragdale Curatorial Board. Creative Sabbaticals: Creative Sabbaticals are one- to three-week residencies tailored for people who may or may not be creative professionals, but who are interested in pursuing a creative project in an environment without distractions. Learn More:

Contact Information

1260 N. Green Bay Road
Lake Forest, Illinois 60045
United States
Tel: 847-234-1063