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Common Room
Cottage interior
Tranquil setting
Peaceful environment

Lillian E. Smith Center of Piedmont College

The Lillian E. Smith Center is a perfect place to find the peace and quiet of natural surroundings, positive spiritual energy, and the self-awareness so important to creative expression. Lillian Smith was certain of the value of these elements in an individual's creative growth and ability to understand his or her place in the world - along with the nature of social responsibility. The Artist Residency Program at the LES Center offers a retreat for individuals who pursue varied forms of artistic expression, critical inquiry, and social justice.

Admission to the Residency Program at the LES Center is selective, based on a review of applications by a panel of scholars from various disciplines at Piedmont College. The review panel seeks a breadth of participation in the program based on interests, talents, accomplishments, and diversity. The basis for admission is professional achievement or promise of achievement, and we strongly encourage first-time applicants. Full residencies are generally scheduled March through November, with occasional exceptions. Weekend retreats for artists (Friday afternoon through Sunday afternoon) are available throughout the year but must be scheduled at least one month in advance.


Clayton, Georgia: United States

Clayton (Rabun County), Georgia is located in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, an area of the state characterized by hilly terrain, lush forests, waterfalls, and lakes. The property is located approximately one mile from the Highway 76/441 intersection in Clayton. The entrance to the property from Highway 76 East is via Old Chechero Road to Hershey Lane (.10 mile). The core of the 130-acre property, where the extant structures and ruins of earlier buildings are located, is on the western slope of Screamer Mountain. Hershey Lane creates a one-way loop that provides access to the main structures of the LES Center. Lillian Smith is buried at the LES Center next to a large stone chimney. Her grave is situated next to a lovely garden and marked by a plaque inscribed with a quote from her book The Journey. There are currently three available cottages, two on top of a ridge of Screamer Mountain and one at the base of the property. There is a Common Room that is sometimes used for special occasions and also houses the laundry facilities offered to the residents. The Lillian E. Smith Writer-in-Service Award includes a two-week residency, a $500 honorarium, and a $300 travel allowance. The award is open to U.S. residents working to advance writing through public service careers or volunteer work. Eligible activities include, but are not limited to, arts education, literacy instruction, prison arts and education, English as a second language instruction, art-related therapies, etc.


  • Residency Length: 1-2 weeks
  • Average number of artists in residence at a time: 3
  • Number of artists accepted in most recent year: 30


  • Application type: Open application
  • Application deadline: January 15
  • Application Ongoing: Yes
  • Additional deadline info:
    January 15th is the application deadline for the Writer-in-Service Award.

Past Residents & Quotes

"I completed rewrites on over a hundred pages of my novel manuscript! Thank you to everyone who keeps this artist residency program alive and well."
— Dana Wildsmith, author: Back to Abnormal

Facilities & Services

  • Housing: Private housing (individual apartment/cabin/house)
  • Meals: No meals/food provided
  • 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
  • Accessibility: no

Residency Fees

A fee of $175.00 per week is charged to help defray the basic expenses of maintenance and operation.

Stipends / other support

The Lillian E. Smith Writer-in-Service Award is granted annually with a two-week complimentary residency, a $500 honorarium, and a $500 travel allowance. Consult the LES Center website for details.

Additional expectations / opportunities

Contact Information

Piedmont College
P.O. Box 10
Demorest, Georgia 30535
United States