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Creative Access: Residencies for Visual Artists & Writers with Spinal Cord Injury

Supported by funding from the

Neilsen Foundation





About the Awards

Since 2009, the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation has partnered with the Vermont Studio Center (VSC) to support visual artists and writers with SCI through residencies at the Center. In 2015, the Foundation’s generous support - in partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities - will expand to include 12 residencies at three host sites: Vermont Studio Center (Johnson, VT), Ragdale Foundation (Lake Forest, IL), and Santa Fe Art Institute (Santa Fe, NM), selected for their accessible facilities, innovative programming, and reputations for excellence. Creative Access offers artists with SCI the rare opportunity for concentrated time dedicated to their creative practice in a supportive residency community. Awardees will be offered a one-month residency at one of the three host sites, including room and board, a $500 stipend, and travel award for a personal assistant/caregiver if needed.

The Creative Access Residencies Program provides visual artists and writers living with SCI the time, space, and supportive community to immerse themselves in their creative practice. Twelve awardees with SCI will receive the invaluable opportunity of a month-long studio residency and a $500 stipend; in addition, room/board and travel support ($250) for a personal assistant/caregiver are also provided, if needed. Application and selection for the Creative Access residencies are coordinated by Vermont Studio Center and the Alliance of Artists Communities.

Kenneth Martin

“At the age of 70, I have never experienced this kind of freedom to explore my art. Thank you so very much for being mindful of me as an artist.”

- Kenneth Martin, painter, Savannah, GA



About the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation:
The mission of the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation is to improve the quality of life for those living with spinal cord injury and to support scientific exploration for effective therapies and treatments leading to a cure. In an effort to reach this goal, the Foundation supports:

  1. Cutting-edge research that seeks to understand the biological basis for recovery of function after SCI and to translate these findings to a clinical setting;
  2. Clinical research that will develop new treatments for those living with SCI;
  3. Innovative rehabilitation programs for people living with spinal cord injuries throughout the United States and Canada.

“There are few residencies available to artists with disabilities. With a judgement-free zone, my creativity abounded. I now know my potential for efficient and focused work. The ability to socialize with other artists and maintain open discourse among peers is now an inexhaustible source of education, inspiration, guidance, and friendship.”

- Amy Ewing, painter, 2013 Creative Access Fellow at Vermont Studio Center

For more about this program, contact the Alliance of Artists Communities at or 401-351-4320