There’s nothing “usual” about an artist residency. Each year, droves of artists undergo these rite-of-passage programs, taking weeks or months (sometimes even years) to transplant their artmaking practices to remote studios or isolated cabins, to a neighborhood art space or a major museum, to a desert bungalow or a lakeside campus reminiscent of a summer sleepaway camp. Residencies are incubators for productivity, but also opportunities for funding, forging relationships, and perhaps most importantly, finding inspiration. As with most aspects of the art world, “one-size-fits-all” is not a term that can be applied here.
Skowhegan, Millay, Yaddo, and Oxbow—some storied, highly competitive residencies like these can be certifiable gold stars on an artist’s CV, but these only represent a small fraction of the experiences that artists can apply for each year. More and more programs are arising for artists to enroll in adventurous experiences that upend common conceptions of what a residency should be. Here, we offer a mere 11 of these artist residencies, spanning Hawaii, Antarctica, and even commercial cargo ships.