The needs and interests of emerging and established residency programs diverge and converge as dynamically as the field evolves. 

Artist residencies provide artists, scholars, educators and other creative professionals with time, space and resources to work, individually or collectively, on areas of their practice that reward heightened reflection or focus. They can often be referred to as fellowships, apprenticeships, research projects or training programs. Residencies can be found in urban or rural areas, serving one artist at a time or fifty. They vary in nature from their residency structure and program type to their offerings and facilities.

Person dressed in black walks across room with big windows across the back wall with lots of light.
An artist in their studio at the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. Phot credit: Nina Choi.

There is no singular checklist for starting a residency program; however, Artist Communities Alliance (ACA) provides resources and programming to support the creation and refinement of sustainable and equitable processes, policies, and practices. In 2022, ACA will unveil a Resource Library with guides and workbooks to support every stage of development and operation.  

Until then, for those interested in starting a residency program, we recommend the following ACA publications:

Additionally, ACA hosts programs dedicated to creating conditions within artist residency programs where artists and staff can thrive. Members of ACA gain free or discounted access to all programs. Some programs that may be relevant to those in the early stages of developing a residency include:

Emerging Program Institute
This yearly, three-day intensive  welcomes participants to explore the stages of residency development across the ACA’s Five Pillars of Healthy Residency Framework: Identity, Design, Operations, Resources, and Stewardship.

Equitable Capacity Workshop Series
Three-hour workshops designed to help the leadership, boards, and staff of artist residency programs create equitable and accessible conditions for artists and staff to thrive.

Virtual exchange and networking opportunities for people who work in the arts. Peer conversations happen in Zoom breakout rooms to facilitate knowledge-sharing and connectivity. Open to all staff of organizations with an ACA membership.


Interested in becoming a member? Learn more about our Emerging Program Membership.