Every creative person has bad days – the days when everything is so uninspiring and motivation is hard to come by. But there are always ways to get out of that boring, lacklustre zone and into a space that’s brimming with originality. And that’s especially important for artists, who constantly have to surround themselves with inspiration, creativity and ideas, come what may. And there’s no better way to do that than participating in artist residencies in India.
Artist residencies are basically organisations that support artists. There are several programmes that many artists can apply for or are invited to throughout the course of the year in which artists spend time – anything between a week to a few months – away from their studios. They are hosted either privately or by a not for profit organisation. This isn’t a paid vacation though; artists still have to undertake projects and most often, there is a great level of engagement between the artist, the locals and the organisation that sends invites or receives applications for such programmes.
Image Courtesy – Sanskriti Foundation
Some hosts may charge a fees for cover the living and working expenses that are incurred by the various artists who are a part of their residencies while others may not charge money, but even pay a stipend for these activities.
What is common for all, though, is that all artist residencies provide for a great break from your other commitments and offer a more personal space for you to get your hands dirty with the one thing you love the most – creating. There are also great opportunities to meet new artists and inspire yourself all over again.
India, with its fair share of artist residencies, has several chances of rediscovering yourself and your work techniques with the help of these programmes. Here are a few artist residencies in India to get you going!
1. Raghurajpur International Art/Culture Exchange (RIA/CE)
This is a five week artist residency programme held in Orissa. Focusing on traditions and culture, this programme will let you meet master craftsmen apart from learning skills like palm leaf carving, coconut straw toy making and metal casting among others. There are also many workshops to choose from that enable you to incorporate these traditional art forms into your work. For more details, check this out.
Image Courtesy – TransArtists
PECAH – Programme of Exchange in Culture and Art of Himalayas – the name is pretty self-explanatory. It will be held early next year in Uttarakhand and will give artists and opportunity to learn about the cultural and traditional art forms of the beautiful state. Highlights of this programme include several interactions with the locals, thereby making it even more of a learning process. For more details, have a look at their website .
Image Courtesy – PECAH
3. Kala Khoj, Prathana-Community
Kala Khoj is an international artist residency programme that has been making its presence felt in India since 1997. It works closely with the Pondicherry government and many language centres around the country and has residencies for several types of art. It seeks to increase the educational aspects of art for artists of all ages. Major bonus: Pets and children are allowed in their residency programmes! Click here for more details.
Image Courtesy – Khoj
4. Vice Versa Foundation
Based in Goa, this is an (almost) all expenses paid programme where the artists are also paid a stipend of $250. The duration of the programme is between 1 month to 3 months and its goal is to “promote, propagate and disseminate the visual arts globally”. They also offer Fellowships which are meant for supporting and promoting everything artistic. Read more here .
Image Courtesy – Trans Artists
5. Palette People International Art Foundation
Nestled in the quiet hills of Vagamon, a short distance from Kochi, the PPIAF is a dream come true for artists looking for more exposure and creating art in a relaxed environment. The programme takes place round the year and artists can feature their work free of cost in their art gallery at Le Meridien in Kochi. Check out their website for more details.
Image Courtesy – Green Meadows Vagamon
6. Art Inn Jaipur
A quaint cottage in the cantonment in Jaipur, Art Inn Jaipur is primarily a bed and breakfast that hosts anyone with a creative streak. Like the name suggests, it’s mostly an inn but they offer several innovative projects and workshops for those who seek not the adventure travelling brings but the calm and serenity that art provides, eg., jewellery making, blue pottery, etc. You’d want to check for more details here.
7. Preet Nagar Residency
Situated in the lush, green fields of Punjab, this artist residency in the district of Amritsar checks everything on your list of your quintessential creative work space/vacation. It’s a mix of the two, rather, as you can stay there as long as you have something to do, even if it’s simply reading a book. They’re strong supporters of creativity and are open in the monsoons and winters (as the summers are inconveniently hot). Read more about them here .
Image Courtesy – Preet Nagar Residency
8. Kriti Gallery
Kriti Gallery provides a relaxing break from the busy Varanasi streets for all those looking to find inspiration in the holy city. Basically an art gallery, it also has an artist residency programme that takes applications all year round. It provides a great platform to connect with the local communities and everyone with a project in mind is welcome. For more information, hit their website.
Image Courtesy – Kriti Gallery
9. Sanskriti Foundation
Built on the outskirts of New Delhi, the Sanskriti Foundation has held artist residency programmes since 1993. They have various types of residences to cater to different needs and enough facilities to suit your regime. It’s a great place for artists to broaden their horizons and learn new techniques from local artisans as well as engage in community interaction. You’d want to read more about them here.
Image Courtesy – Sanskriti Foundation
10. Studio Verve Artist Residency
Based in Ahmedabad, this artist residency provides a great way to rejuvenate yourself as well as your work and ideas. In the lap of nature – a serene bungalow by the lake – artists can live and work on the same grounds. It aims “to promote young artists and is designed to have lasting benefits”. They also provide support to artists across the country. Check this out for more details.
Image Courtesy – Studio Verve
So there you have it! These are some of the many, many creative artist residencies in the country that you absolutely must visit if you’re looking to enhance your skills, learn new methods and make new friends. It’s like going back to your roots and finding fresh ideas to work with; because in the field of creativity, you never stop learning.