By Mary Sullivan Holdgrafer. Mary leads programs on creativity and other topics at The Haven and was a member of the selection committee for The Haven Artist’s Residency in 2012.
Artist-in-residence programs are available throughout the world to give creative people time and space away from their usual environment and obligations. They may provide time for reflection, research or production. They may also provide opportunities for contact with artists within a new community. The Artist’s Haven residency is a new and exciting opportunity for artists of all disciplines. The program is co-sponsored by The Haven and the Gabriola Arts Council.
In celebration of the 30-year anniversary of The Haven in 2013, only artists 30 years of age and under are being invited to apply. As we begin the application process for the second Artist’s Haven residency I am thinking of ways to assist artists who wish to pursue this opportunity. There are things that applicants can do to present themselves well and make it easier for the peer review panel to assess their proposals. In a large array of proposals the best presented ones will have an advantage.
In the case of The Haven’s residency there are three stated expectations. First, that the artist have a plan of work; second, that there be a benefit to the Gabriola community and third, that the artist contribute work to The Haven. Applications should clearly address each expectation.
As you begin to consider your application, here are some questions for you to ask yourself. How will the residency enhance your development as a artist? How will it enrich the broader Gabriola community? How will it benefit The Haven? Consider these questions within the frame of a three-week residency.
Remember that producing an excellent application is a skill. Try to imagine what would be most helpful to the review panel. Think carefully about how to convey your ideas clearly and succinctly.
Applying for a residency is similar to applying for a grant. Applicants for grants have only a few minutes to convince a review panel that they should be seriously considered. Ramin Eshraghi-Yazdi, owner of Nur Films, is frequently invited to sit on Canada Council grant review panels. He suggests ensuring there is a clear intention for a proposed project and that everything in the application package supports the intention.
Art Biz Coach Alyson B. Stanfield urges her clients to avoid clichés, favouring straight, clear language. She suggests that artists resist the temptation to overstate their experience or the quality of their work.
Here are some tips to help you produce a well-crafted application.
- Read and carefully follow the instructions.
- Ask for clarification if something is unclear.
- Present your best work and insure that the work relates to your proposal.
- Present a cohesive proposal.
- If necessary get help with writing or editing your proposal.
- Present your work in the best possible way (digital, video, print, etc.).
- Ask for letters of recommendation from people who can accurately comment on your work and experience generally and specific to your application.
- Don’t wait until the deadline to apply.