Beginning a new kind of artist residency

My last artist residency at Golden Belt Studios. Photo Credit: Beth Mann for ArtsNow

My last artist residency at Golden Belt Studios. Photo Credit: Beth Mann for ArtsNow

Snapshot of my studio in the AFAS building

Snapshot of my studio in the AFAS building

Artist residencies are touted as an important milestone for artists. Most artist residencies are in remote places and offer access to nature, time to focus on one’s art, and space. Doesn’t that just sound so nice?

Before I had a toddler on my hip, I have loved participating in artist residencies across the world. However, there is a huge assumption in the artist residency process: that artists are loners who can just evaporate from their lives for a month or more at a time. Very few residencies will allow a partner to stay at the residency with the artists, and most specifically prohibit all visitors including family.

So what about artists who are mothers — especially breastfeeding mothers?

Do we have to just put our artist careers on hold because artist residency programs don’t want our kind around?

Hell no!

The Artist Residency in Motherhood program is a “self-directed, open-source artist residency to empower and inspire artists who are also mothers.” Rather than having to apply to an artist residency program, compete for funding, and then travel (away from my family) to some distant locale under the auspices of “focusing on my art practice,” this program allows me to be an artist-in-residence in my own home.

Founding artist Lenka Clayton created this program to reframe parenthood as “a valuable site for creative practice, rather than an obstruction to be overcome.” In short, this program respects the artistic cauldron that is parenthood and legitimizes the time spent raising a child as an art practice rather than a “break” in an artist’s career.

I am joining over 700 other Artists-in-Residence-in-Motherhood in an exploration of “the fragmented focus, nap-length studio time, limited movement and resources and general upheaval that parenthood brings and allow it to shape the direction of [our] work, rather than try to work ‘despite’ it.” (quote from the ARIM letter of invitation

Can I get a Hallelujah! over here?

My paintings already explore and celebrate the postpartum experience. By joining this program, I will receive accountability and support as I try to figure out how to continue to grow my artistic career while simultaneously being an active and present parent.

I will continue to track my studio progress on my Instagram page and on the blog here. If you don’t want to miss a moment of the process, join my mailing list below👇for a weekly update and a chance to win a free painting!

Do you know an artist who is a new mom or a mom who is trying to find her way through the postpartum fog? Forward this post along to her and remind her that this time as a new mom is a transformative creative experience!