18 Free or Low-Cost Writing Residencies to Apply for in 2023

Focusing on your craft doesn't have to break the bank

The Millay Colony

I was a young MFA student when I attended my first artists’ residency at the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts. I had heard of these places nestled in the woods or in small-town America where writers and artists were provided with a private bedroom and studio space, as well as meals or a meal allowance, with the only expectation that they spent the majority of their time working on their art. 

What I didn’t expect to learn at this residency program was that I could utilize the peace and uninterrupted time offered by a residency to turn inwards and engage in the necessary struggles I had previously avoided in my writing. In my studio overlooking an empty ball field and cobblestoned streets, I was truly alone, with no one else to help me facilitate the actualization of these thoughts and characters I was harboring within myself. Or perhaps I wasn’t exactly alone: At this residency program, I shared the company of other writers, visual artists, and composers with whom I had stimulating and supportive conversations whenever we had the chance. In their company, I was less afraid of being alone with my art, and when the opportunity came to share our work with each other, I felt valued and affirmed in this lonely path I had chosen to pursue.   

Although all residencies are alike in offering the gift of uninterrupted time, each residency is also different in the experiences they offer. Some residencies are located on large estates with numerous walking trails that allow the mind to breathe, while other residencies are situated in small, quiet towns, offering peace and quiet to accepted artists while providing opportunities to interact with the larger community. Many residencies provide their artists with chef-prepared meals, giving residents the chance to forge connections over shared dinners, while some residencies provide meal stipends or leave residents to take care of their own meals, offering residents the opportunity to gather when they choose. Some residencies are designed to be safe havens for women-identifying writers, while other residencies provide a mixing of genders and disciplines. For many of these residencies, there is no cost to attend, while others ask for a minimum daily contribution, depending on one’s ability to pay, or else a one-off fee. All of the residency programs I have included in this list invite applications from international artists and writers, and my experiences at the residencies I’ve attended so far, as a writer from outside the United States, have always been welcoming and supportive. Below are 18 residencies in America, described in their own words, all of which offer unique experiences designed to enrich and sustain.  

Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York

Located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs in upstate New York, Yaddo is one of the oldest artists’ residency programs in the United States, offering housing in a beautiful Queen Anne revival mansion, studio space, and meals. Artists in residence hail from all nations and backgrounds, and include choreographers, filmmakers, writers, musical composers, painters, performance artists, photographers, printmakers, sculptors, and video artists. Residencies are free and can last from two weeks to two months; access grants are also available to help offset the costs of attending a residency. There are two application deadlines per year, though artists may only apply once every other calendar year.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $30 + $5 – $10 media upload fee
  • Next Deadline: January 5, 2023 

MacDowell in Peterborough, New Hampshire

Boasting prominent alumni such as James Baldwin, Audre Lorde, and Leonard Bernstein, MacDowell hosts artists from all over the world in Peterborough, New Hampshire, with studios scattered across a 450-acre property. There is no wi-fi in the studios (a huge plus for those who truly prefer to get away from the world while at residency programs) and all meals are provided, including lunches delivered to one’s cabin in a basket and dinners taken communally. There is no fee to attend and need-based travel grants and stipends are available. Applicants may only submit one application in a two-year period, and their next application season opens on January 1, 2023. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Next Deadline: February 10, 2023

I-Park Foundation in East Haddam, Connecticut

Set within a 450-acre nature preserve, this residency program in East Haddam, Connecticut features miles of well-tended walking trails encircling ponds, wetlands, and a pristine river, while winding through a second-generation forest. For invited artists, walking these trails can be a healing and inspiring experience, and I-Park prides itself on being an open-air laboratory where artists are invited to leave site-responsive art installations on the land. All residencies are fully-funded and are four weeks in duration, and residents in groups of 6-7 arrive and depart at the same time to foster a deeply shared experience. Artists are housed in a renovated 1840s farmhouse and are provided with a separate private studio, meals, and chef-prepared communal dinners five evenings a week. Small travel grants are also available for international artists. Their application season usually opens at the end of the year. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Next Deadline: To be announced 

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts in Nebraska City, Nebraska

Located in Nebraska City, a small and charming midwestern town which will make you feel like you’ve stepped back in time, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts hosts writers, visual artists, composers, and interdisciplinary artists in an airy 1969 Prairie style house. There is no cost to attend, and resident artists are provided with a private bedroom/bath and individual studio, while sharing a kitchen and living space with one other resident (composers get their own efficiency apartment located under the composition studio). A weekly food stipend is provided, as well as free trips to the grocery and complimentary transportation to and from the airport for those flying in via Omaha. Residency length varies between two weeks and two months. Artists and writers from Nebraska are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Deadline: March 1 and September 1 annually

Hedgebrook on Whidbey Island, Washington State

Situated on 48-acres of forest and meadow facing Puget Sound, with a view of Mount Rainier, this residency program on Whidbey Island in Washington State was founded with the express purpose of providing women-identifying writers with the time and space to write and care for themselves. Residencies are fully subsidized and are two to four weeks in duration, and fellows are housed individually in six handcrafted cottages scattered across the property while enjoying phenomenal chef-prepared meals. Take note that there is no wi-fi in the cottages, though internet access is available in a small computer center on the grounds, as well as in the farmhouse where the residency library and dining room are located.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Deadline: March 14 and September 12

Storyknife Writers Retreat in Homer, Alaska

This exciting new residency program in Homer, Alaska, offering breathtaking views of Cook Inlet and the Aleutian Mountain Range, is the second residency program after Hedgebrook to provide women-identifying writers from around the world with the time and space they need to create new work.  Residents are provided with living quarters and studio space in their own individual cabins, as well as all meals. Residencies are fully funded and limited travel grants are available, including the Snowgoose Travel Fund for international fellows. Indigenous and Alaskan writers are particularly encouraged to apply.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $40
  • Deadline: usually in September each year; check back for updates

Millay Arts in Austerlitz, New York

Located on the historic estate of Edna St. Vincent Millay in Austerlitz, New York, Millay Arts offers fully-funded month-long residencies for multidisciplinary artists from April through November, as well as unsubsidized Steepletop Residencies for those who wish to forego the blind jury process, and unsubsidized Wintertide Rustic Retreats that are self-directed. The Core Residency, which is fully funded, features a cohort of 6-7 multidisciplinary artists and includes a private bedroom and studio, shared living spaces, chef-prepared communal dinners, and groceries. The Steepletop Residency features similar amenities for a fee of $3000, while those availing of the Wintertide Rustic Retreat are responsible for their groceries and food. Applications for the Core Residency are accepted twice a year and include a $45 application fee, while applications for unsubsidized residencies are accepted on a rolling basis. A number of fellowships to defray the costs of attending Millay Arts are also available to select fellows.

  • Cost: $100 non-refundable deposit for Core Residency, $3000 for Steepletop Residency, Varying Fees for Wintertide Rustic Retreat–check website for more details
  • Application Fee: $45
  • Deadline: March 1 and October 1 for Core Residency, Rolling Deadline for Steepletop Residency and Wintertide Rustic Retreat

Willapa Bay AIR in Ocean Park, Washington

Situated on 16 acres in coastal southwest Washington State, Willapa Bay AIR offers month-long, self-directed residencies to emerging and established artists, writers, scholars, singer/songwriters, and musical composers. The Residency provides lodging, meals, and workspace, at no cost, to six residents each month from April 1 through October 28 of the year. Applications are welcome from all over the globe and are accepted once a year, usually in the summer. There is a $30 fee to apply.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Next Deadline: August 31, 2023

Art Omi in Columbia County, New York

Presenting contemporary art over its 120-acre Sculpture and Architecture Park in Columbia County, NY, Art Omi offers residency programs for international artists, writers, translators, dancers, musicians and architects. Guided by the principle that artistic expression transcends economic, political, and cultural boundaries, Art Omi invites a unique and varied mix of artists, writers, musicians and dancers from all over the world to create a diverse, positive working community. There is no cost to attend, and accepted artists are provided with catered meals, lodgings, and studio space. Writers can opt for 2 to 4 week stays, while residency lengths vary for artists of other disciplines. There is currently no fee to apply.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: None
  • Deadline: Varies per discipline; check website for details

Anderson Center in Red Wing, Minnesota

Located 45 minutes southeast of Minneapolis and Saint Paul, the Anderson Center is one of the largest residency programs of its kind in the Upper Midwest, offering residencies of two to four weeks’ duration from May through October each year to artists, writers, musicians, and performers. The Anderson Center campus consists of 350 acres of the historic Tower View Estate featuring a large sculpture garden, while its original buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus is also adjacent to the Cannon Valley Bike Trail, a 20-mile biking and walking trail that runs from Cannon Falls to Red Wing. In addition to its regular residency program, the Anderson Center also offers monthlong residencies to small groups of Deaf artists; month-long residency-fellowships to a cohort of early-career artists from Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City (which includes a stipend & travel honorarium); one month-long residency-fellowship for a public artist, cultural producer, or social practitioner living and working within the state of Minnesota; as well as artist exchange programs with the city of Salzburg, Austria, and with Red Wing’s Sister City, Quzhou, China. Once accepted, fellows are asked to make a substantive contribution to the community while in residence, which may include a visit to a school, senior center, civic organization, adult and juvenile detention center, or other arts institutions in Red Wing and its nearby rural communities. There is no cost to attend this residency, which includes housing in the beautiful and historic Tower View residence, studio space, chef-prepared meals, groceries, and transportation to and from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport. Applications are currently open and require a $20 fee.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $20
  • Next Deadline: January 16, 2023

Ragdale in Lake Forest, Illinois

Situated on the former country estate of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in Lake Forest, Illinois, just 30 miles north of Chicago, Ragdale hosts creative professionals of all types from all over the world. The residencies it offers fall into three types: Residency Awards of 18 or 25 days in length, with a fee that is income-based and calculated on a sliding scale; Fellowship Awards of 18 or 25 days in length, in which fees are waived and fellows receive a stipend of $500 or more; and Themed Residency Awards, for groups of up to 16 people awarded per year, in which fees are income-based and calculated on a sliding scale. There are 13 artists-in-residence per session, all of whom are offered private housing, private live-work space, and all meals including chef-prepared communal dinners Monday-Friday.

  • Cost: Income-based fee for Artist Residents, free for Artist Fellows
  • Application Fee:  Free
  • Deadline: usually in May; poetry fellowships have a separate deadline of July 15 

Blue Mountain Center in Blue Mountain Lake, New York

Located in a turn-of-the-century Adirondack lodge on a 1,600 acre estate in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, the Blue Mountain Center was founded in 1982 to provide support for writers, artists, and activists. Month-long residency sessions are offered in the summer and early fall, and are open to creative and non-fiction writers, activists, and artists of all disciplines—including composers, filmmakers, and visual artists. There is no cost to attend, and accepted artists are provided with private bedrooms, studio space, and all meals. There is also a Resident Support Fund available to provide financial assistance to BMC applicants who require additional resources to participate in BMC’s Residency program and meet criteria specified by donors. 

Blue Mountain Center is located within the Adirondack Park, the largest state park in the continental United States, and residents have access to over twenty miles of beautiful hiking trails. Four canoes and a rowboat are available for guest use, as well as a tennis court. Take note that cell phones are not allowed and there is no wi-fi on campus, though there is a phone booth and internet center available 24 hours a day.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $25
  • Deadline: February 1, annually 

Mesa Refuge in Point Reyes Station, California

Situated in Point Reyes Station, California, an hour north of San Francisco, the Mesa Refuge welcomes established and emerging writers, journalists, and other creatives who “address the pressing issues of our time” in their work. The Mesa Refuge prioritizes projects focusing on “ideas on the edge” of the following areas: nature, economic equity, and social justice. There is no fee to attend this residency, though donations are encouraged, and residents are responsible for their own travel, transportation, and food. Residencies are typically two weeks in duration, and residents are provided with a room, access to the residency library and kitchen, and some meals.

  • Cost: Free (donations encouraged)
  • Application Fee: $50
  • Deadline: June 1 and December 1, annually 

Corsicana Artist & Writer Residency in Corsicana, Texas

Located in the historic downtown of Corsicana, Texas, just fifty miles south of Dallas, Corsicana Artist and Writer Residency hosts visual artists and writers in a collection of historic structures built on the largesse of two oil booms in the 1890s and 1920s. These preserved, light-filled buildings provide beautiful and inviting sites for artistic production. Residencies are typically two months in duration and take place in the Winter, Spring and Fall. Apart from a one-time, non-refundable $200 administration fee, there is no cost to attend this residency, which includes private accommodations and studio space, as well as shared kitchen and living spaces. Travel, meal and research expenses are not covered, though complimentary transportation to and from the nearest airports (Dallas’ Love Field and DFW International) can be arranged. Residents are also expected to participate in an Open Studio, Presentation (for visual artists), and a 40-minute high school workshop.

  • Cost: Free (except for $200 administration fee)
  • Application Fee: $30
  • Deadline: September 1 

Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, Florida

Located in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, the Atlantic Center for the Arts is unique in offering mentoring artist-in-residence programs, in which Mentoring Artists are coupled with Associate Artists for three-week periods. Each three-week residency program brings together three Mentoring Artists from different disciplines, each of whom determine the requirements and basic structure of their residency. Through an online application process, Mentors may select up to eight Associate Artists to participate in the three-week program. The essence of the program is to provide a collegial environment for artists of all disciplines where they can engage in meaningful interaction and stimulating discussions, while pursuing individual or group projects. Full scholarships are offered to all accepted artists, covering all residency fees, room, and board. Associate artists are provided with private accommodations, three meals a day during the weekday (for weekend meals, transportation to the market is arranged twice a week and kitchen facilities are available 24/7), and studio space which is communal and shared. The award-winning Leeper Studio Complex provides residents with resources such as a painting studio, sculpture studio, digital media studio, dance studio, music/recording studio, writers’ studio, black box theatre and library.

Marble House Project in Dorset, Vermont

Situated on an organic farm in Dorset, Vermont, the Marble House Project is a multi-disciplinary artist residency program that fosters collaboration & the exchange of ideas by providing an environment for artists across disciplines to live and work side by side. Each residency session is three weeks in duration, and gathers a carefully curated group of artists working in diverse fields. There is no cost to attend this residency, which includes a private bedroom in the historic, eight-bedroom Manley-Lefevre house, food, studio space and artist support. This residency program is unique in pairing residents three or four times over the course of their stay to prepare a meal using ingredients sourced from the residency’s organic garden. Residents are also invited to help with planting, harvesting, and maintenance of the garden, or at least to spend some time inside the garden outside their studio practice. At the end of each session, artists are invited to present their work. 

One 17-day session per residency season is set aside for Family-Friendly Residencies, in which accepted artists can bring their spouse/partner and children. Artists and children attend for free, while partners/spouses of artists attend for a $300 fee. A Culinary Arts Residency was also recently launched, which runs concurrently with the artist residency—MHP offers a small stipend related to this residency, and covers all costs. Collaborative Winter Residencies for groups of up to 12 run for ten days, and a group fee of $5000 covers food, housing and studio support.  

  • Cost: Refundable $100 deposit for individuals; $200 fee for family friendly residents; $5,000 for group residency for up to eight artists
  • Application Fee: $35
  • Deadline: Applications will reopen in February 2023; check back for details

Ucross in Clearmont, Wyoming

Situated on a 20,000-acre ranch in northeast Wyoming at the foothills of the Bighorn Mountains, Ucross provides space and time, at no cost, to artists from all disciplines, including literature, visual arts, music, choreography, film, performance, and multidisciplinary art. Residencies range from two weeks to six weeks in length. At any one time, there are up to ten individuals in residence. Ucross provides each artist with living accommodations, meals, studio space, and uninterrupted time so that the artists can focus on their creative process. Lunch and dinners are prepared Monday to Friday by a professional chef with ample provisions on hand for breakfasts and weekends. Lunches are delivered to individual studios; group dinners take place at 6 p.m. Ucross also operates an Art Gallery, open to the public at no charge, featuring work by past residents, contemporary artists of the West, and thematic exhibitions. Fellowships for Native American visual artists and writers are also available; these fellowships come with a stipend and an opportunity to present work publicly. There are two application deadlines per year, usually on the first of March and first of September, and except for Native American Fellowships, there is a $40 fee to apply.

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: $40
  • Deadline: March 1 and September 1, annually

Monson Arts in Monson, Maine

Located in Monson, Maine, the last town before the 100-mile wilderness on the Appalachian Trail, Monson Arts provides two-week and four-week residencies for established and emerging artists and writers. There are typically five artists and five writers in a cohort, and all residents are invited to immerse themselves in small town life at the edge of Maine’s North Woods and focus intensely on their work within a creative and inspiring environment. All residents receive, without cost, a private studio, private bedroom in shared housing, all meals, and $1,000 stipend ($500 for 2-week programs). The Abbott Watts Residency for Photography offers access to the photography studio and darkroom of Todd Watts in nearby Blanchard, adjacent to the former home of Berenice Abbott. Applications for a residency at Monson Arts are open to anyone working in the visual arts, writing, and related fields (i.e. audio, video, photography). Open calls for residency applications currently take place three times throughout the year with deadlines on January 15, June 15, and September 15. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Application Fee: TBA
  • Deadline: January 15, June 15, September 15, annually 

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