The Artist’s Haven Residency 2016: Some Tips for Writing a Successful Application

By Mary Sullivan Holdgrafer. Mary leads programs on creativity and other topics at The Haven and a Haven Foundation board director. She first brought the idea of an Artist in Residence program to The Haven and her ongoing support has contributed greatly to the success of the program. She was a member of the selection committee for the residency in 2012.

The Artist’s Haven residency is an exciting opportunity for young artists of all disciplines from anywhere in the world. It was established to give creative individuals time and space away from their usual environment and obligations for reflection, research or production as well as opportunities for contact with artists within a new community. Known as the Isle of the Arts Gabriola is home to outstanding artists from many disciplines.

Beginning in 2016 the Artist’s Haven will occur in conjunction with the Isle of the Arts Festival. There will be opportunities to teach and take classes and to participate in professional development sessions designed for artists.The Artist’s Haven is co-sponsored by The Haven and the Gabriola Arts Council.

The Artist’s Haven’s residency there are three stated expectations. First, that the artist present a plan of work; second, the benefit to the Gabriola community is outlined; and third, that the artist contribute lasting work to The Haven. Applications should clearly address each expectation.

As you begin to develop your application, here are some questions for you to ask yourself. How will the residency enhance your development as an artist? How will it enrich the broader Gabriola community? How will it benefit The Haven? Consider these questions within the frame of a four-week residency.

In the application process for the Artist’s Haven residency there are things that applicants can do to present themselves well and make it easier for the peer review panel to assess their proposals. In a large array of proposals the best presented ones will have an advantage. Ensure there is a clear intention for a proposed project and that everything in the application package supports the intention. Use clear language and avoid overstating experience and quality of work.

Remember that producing an excellent application is a skill. Try to imagine what would be most helpful to the review panel. Think carefully about how to convey your ideas clearly and succinctly.

Here are some additional tips to help you produce a well-crafted application.

  1. Read and carefully follow the instructions for online application.
  2. Ask for clarification if something is unclear.
  3. Present your best work and ensure that the work relates to your proposal.
  4. Present a cohesive proposal.
  5. If necessary get help with writing or editing your proposal.
  6. Present your work in the best possible format.
  7. Ask for letters of recommendation from people who can accurately comment on your work and experience generally and specific to your application.
  8. Don’t wait until the deadline to apply.


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