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Rensing Center

By connecting Creative, Environmental, and Economic ideas and disciplines, the Rensing Center offers ways to explore and share the wisdom of its namesake, teacher and artist Evelyn Rensing Kochansky. Artist in Residence programs of three weeks to three months are offered in, but not limited to, music, painting, metal, wood, photography, poetry, playwriting and environmental studies. The program is split into three sessions: Winter Session is January-March; Spring/Summer Session is May-July; Fall Session is September-November. The pastoral setting is conducive to relaxing and recharging, as residents learn from the diverse perspectives of the people around them, focus on a specific project, or open up new ways of thinking for their own professional practice. Living and workspaces are provided for self-motivated applicants seeking an isolated rural, creative landscape, which fosters interconnections, inspiration and information.

Location

Pickens, South Carolina: United States

Located on 27 acres in the rolling rural hills of beautiful southern Appalachia, in Pickens County, South Carolina, the Rensing Center is more than just the land, the people, the gardens, and the buildings. The non-profit organization models a way of life connected to creativity, ecology, and economy. In addition to its own nature trail and waterfall, the Rensing Center campus is located near Clemson University’s gardens and trails, the Greenville, SC, Reedy River Trail, Lake Keowee, and Jocassee Gorges, one of National Geographic’s “Destinations of a Lifetime”.

Statistics

  • Residency Length: 3 weeks - 3 months, during three annual residency periods, with special announced programs for shorter periods
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 3-5
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 20
  • Total applicant pool in most current year: 67

Eligibility

  • Application type: Open application
  • Collaboration: May apply as a team
  • Geography: Open to US artists, Open to non-US artists
  • Additional eligibility information: 

    The Rensing Center is an equal opportunity program and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, political affiliation or belief. We WELCOME and ENCOURAGE diversity.

  • Application deadline: May 15, September 15, January 15
  • Application Ongoing: Yes
  • Additional deadline info:
    Please submit applications at least 2 months before requested residency date. Waitlisted applications are retained for future openings and cancellations.

Past Residents & Quotes

Past residents: 
Adrienne Antonson, sculpture, fiber, 2003; Nathan Koci, music, 2005; Susan Lau, ceramics, 2010; Crystal Schenk, sculpture, 2010; Peace Paper, papermaking as therapy, 2011, 2012; Molly Hayes, photography, 2013; GC Waldrep, poetry, 2014; Laura Kasinof, journalism, 2014;
“It is the Rensing Center’s triple emphasis on creation, ecology, and entrepreneurial stewardship that makes it unique, even among the rarefied strata of artist residency programs. The Rensing Center offers time, and space, and affirmation to artists and writers, yes. But it does so in the context of an explicit connection to, and emphasis on, what is perhaps the principal creative and scientific problem of our 21st century: humankind’s relationship to the land in which we live, the water we drink, the air we breathe, and the other organisms with which we interact. This is not a place where creativity turns in on itself, barring art’s door against the outside world. This is a place where creativity opens out, acknowledging there never was a door--rather a shared world in which art and artists (writers and writing; creators, and what they create) have a role and a place, as we redefine what it means to be human in a changing world.”
— GC Waldrep, 2014

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private housing (individual apartment/cabin/house), Private bedroom in a shared housing facility
    Housing: • Cottage with private bath and kitchen • Two private bedrooms in the studio building with shared bath and kitchen (offered to collaborative groups) • Private bedroom in main hall with bath and kitchen
  • Meals: No meals/food provided
    One weekly potluck. Residents gather together one evening a week for a shared meal and discussion. Residents may gather food from the vegetable garden when in season.
  • 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
  • Companions: Spouses/partners allowed for full stay
    If interested in bringing spouse/partner or applying as a collaborative group residency fee will be discussed and negotiated.
  • Accessibility: housing/grounds/studios are accessible
    Head Quarters wheelchair accessible, all living spaces and studios on one floor, small step-up in studio building and cottage, paved drives.
  • Additional studio information: 
    Residents provide their own materials and tools. Visual artists are provided with semi-private studio space. Writers may use the library or their own private rooms equipped with desks. Open uncovered area at the studio building and locations in the garden provide outdoor workspace for various media. Aged but playable upright piano available in Main Hall.
  • Other facilities and services: Facilities include gallery/exhibition space, well-lighted studios, growing art library with desks and comfortable seating, shared laundry facilities, private kitchens, gardens, trails, and waterfall.

Residency Fees

Application fee: $20 Residency fee: Eight hours of work + $50 per week - work directly related to the success of the Rensing Center, such as community outreach, grant writing, facilities maintenance and improvement, gardening, internet communication. Or the resident may choose to pay $150 per week with no work requirement. Each resident must pay a $50 cleaning fee at the conclusion of their residency.

Stipends / other support

Additional expectations / opportunities

Opportunities: Creativity involves both breathing out and breathing in. Some of the most successful residents here have used their time simply reflecting, and have surprised themselves with new directions and invigorated practice. Nature trail, waterfall, vegetable and flower gardens, interaction with the Executive Director, Ellen Kochansky, interaction with the founder, Evelyn Rensing Kochansky, ongoing classes and workshops, public conversations entitled Live Deliberately, surrounding forest, local mountains, lakes, and rivers, the Pickens Flea Market every Wednesday which is a generous source of art materials, groceries, and vast entertainment Expectations: Independent, resourceful and self-motivated progress, but not necessarily product-oriented. Each resident artist will submit photos and written reflections or other documentation of their experience at the Rensing Center to be included in the archives of the center. We encourage footprints, as a form of recollection. These may be an object inspired by the artist’s stay here, a manuscript or installation or a rock left in our cairn. These are totally optional.

Contact Information

1165 Mile Creek Road
Pickens, South Carolina 29671
United States