What is the True Cost of an Artist Residency?

Suzy Kopf | August 25, 2023

Photo credit by artist, Anna Rose Bain.
Suzy Kopf is a multidisciplinary artist, college educator, and arts writer. She is a regular contributing writer for BmoreArt, as well as Baltimore MagazineJohns Hopkins Magazine and the Baltimore Museum of Art, and specializes in profiles on creatives, art business practice, and exhibition reviews. Her work has been shown throughout the US and Canada and she has been the recipient of numerous residency fellowships including Kala, The Studios at Mass MoCA, Playa, and VCCA. 

There are many hidden expenses that artists incur while taking advantage of free or paid professional opportunities.

Many of us don’t consider what these expenses are going to amount to when we accept and only after the fact when reviewing credit card bills realize what it costs to eat, travel and enjoy our time away from home. Residencies especially are frequently located in rural places where it is easy to spend less money daily, yet you will spend more time sourcing what you need since you are so remote.

Here is a diary of the first week I spent at an interdisciplinary residency in a rural part of the American South. This first week was the most expensive of my time in residence since I needed to load up on supplies but it’s a good example of the kinds of items you might end up buying to support your time in an artist community.

(Note: This log does not record monthly mortgage payments, utilities, home/car/health insurance costs, or the flights to and from the residency. I utilized a car I already owned. The log does not account for subscription payments such as streaming platforms and my cell phone bill.­)


8:20 a.m. — After waking up in New Jersey at my friend’s house, I pack up my bags and she makes me a cold brew for the road. I drive for about 90 minutes before stopping for sausage, egg, and no cheese at Shake Shack at the Molly Pitcher rest stop off the NJ Turnpike. I absolutely hate this stretch of highway and cannot wait to be further into the drive so I can enjoy the scenery of rolling green hills. —$6.07

1:15 p.m. — I continue my drive, stopping in Frederick, Maryland for supplies that I was out of at home. I buy transfer paper, tracing paper, and a new sketchbook at the only art supply store I can find. The owner of the shop is super friendly and despite the store being tiny, I find everything I need quickly and am back in the car.— $63.93

1:30 p.m. I drive a little further then stop for lunch at a poke spot and order a medium bowl with a soda because I am tired and need the caffeine to keep driving, which equals $20.94.

Before arriving at the residency, I check my EZ-Pass which auto-fills when I hit tolls, according to my GPS, I spend 7.31 on tolls.—$28.25 for the day.

5:32 p.m. After a long day of driving, I arrive at the expansive grounds of the residency where I will be staying for the next five weeks. I drop off my art supplies in the studio space I’ve been given in a converted mechanic shop. I am introduced to my housemate, a writer from Texas and we are both in awe of the huge kitchen we’re sharing just the two of us. Upstairs in my assigned bedroom, I can stand at the window and see all the way out to the old growth forest on the property line some miles away. After putting away my clothing in the antique chest in my bedroom, I head out to a Safeway about 15 minutes away to stock up on some groceries. Since I flew from California, I have no pantry or cooking oils and need a lot of cooking supplies. The selection is pretty limited in this rural grocery store, but I find some things I like to eat and can prepare easily; I get some canned soup for the days I don’t want to cook— $133.73

6:10p.m. I am almost out of gas, so I stop and fill up my Honda Fit with 8.5 gallons at $3.69/gallon—$31.59

Returning to the property, I eat a premade dinner that was dropped off by the chef, continue unpacking and make a to-do list for the first week in residence. I go to bed early, exhausted.

Total for the Day: $281.51



 7:30 a.m— I make breakfast from my groceries, work out with the exercise equipment I brought with me, and then we have orientation activities for the morning. I meet the rest of the artists, writers, and scientists I will be spending the summer with and we discuss our projects, plans, and nature sighting goals for our time. We are warned about the strong presence of ticks which sends everyone into a slight panic about Lyme disease.

12:30 p.m.—Midday after a group lunch prepared by the chef, I go back to Safeway and pick up the essential items I forgot yesterday— a bottle of wine, a bar of chocolate and face wash— $43.20

After a quick dinner made from groceries, I hang some paper in my studio and go for a bike ride on a borrowed bicycle around the property at dusk. We’re under a major cross-country airline route and as I pedal, I watch planes speeding off to locations far from here.

Total for the Day: $43.20


Linn Meyers in her studio, working on an installation at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, 2011, titled "Every now. And again." Photo credit, Lee Stalsworth.


6:00 a.m.— I am up early to beat the sweltering summer heat and drive myself around the property to photograph fences for a series of paintings I am planning. We learned on yesterday’s tour that these fences are the oldest structures in the area and some of them pre-date the Civil War. I like to think of them as witnesses in the landscape, watching people come and go for generations.

12:00 p.m. — We have scheduled orientation activities all day and I don’t leave the grounds. We learn about the founders of the foundation and the efforts they made to create this place for creatives to work. Like on Tuesday, I make breakfast and dinner from my groceries, and lunch is served to all residents by the foundation’s chef.

7:30 p.m. — At dusk I again ride the bike in long loops, pushing myself to do at least five miles up and down the paved roads and through the mowed paths in the fields, thinking always of the ticks. Late at night thanks to the time difference, I attend my support group’s Zoom meeting in the one building on the property with reliable internet.

Total for the Day: $0



7:30 a.m—I make breakfast and then spend the morning in the studio.

11:30 a.m—Midday I participate in a studio visit with the rest of the cohort for a departing fellow who has been here for three weeks already then return to my house to make lunch before heading to the foundation’s library for research.

2:00 p.m.—Driving across the property, I find the library building where I spend the afternoon in air-conditioned glory taking in the copyrighted materials and rare books. We’re allowed to make free copies of modern books so I copy some pages to read back in my room. When the library closes at 4 PM, I drive to Food Lion where I buy a watermelon to contribute to a group dinner and more produce for the next week— $24.68

6:45 p.m—Back at the residency, two members of the cohort serve us all dinner in their house and I bring the sliced watermelon. After dinner, I paint for a few more hours in the studio considering if I want to spend all my time painting fences.

Total for the Day: $24.68


Unseen Intelligence collection in process by Esther Loopstra. Photo credit, Judy Lee Photography. 


7:30 a.m—I prepare breakfast and then head to the lounge, which has the best internet, to do some computer work. 

10:24 a.m—At the recommendation of a fellow resident, I buy a short trial of the Pilot Art list compiled by artist Nathalie Quagliotto—$16

12:30 p.m—I return to the house and make lunch, then I spend the rest of the day in the studio.

6:30 p.m—I break around 6:30 to work out at the house then make dinner when I get hungry soon thereafter.

7:30 p.m.—At dusk I ride the bike on my typical route and then walk the food gardens until it’s too dark to see, appreciating the bounty of mid-summer. Back in my room I read from Michael Pollen’s Botany of Desire and fall asleep thinking of Johnny Appleseed.

Total for the Day: $16



7:30 a.m—I make myself breakfast then head to the studio to paint for a few hours.

12:15 pm— I hop in the car of another resident and with two others, we head into the nearest town to check out the church and community thrift shops. There is a lot of equestrian clothing, but I end up buying a pair of unworn shoes we decide are so ugly they are cute again. The volunteer running the shop gives me a frequent shopper punch card; if I spend $10 nineteen more times I will get 10% off my next purchase. —$18

12:45 pm—We get an iced coffee in town from a shop that doesn’t look open but turns out to be! Success! We also stop at the Safeway where I buy bottled iced coffee for the next week and greens— $20.94

1:15 pm —Back at the foundation, I make myself lunch and then head back into the studio where I start working on a collage series from vintage clippings I brought with me. I work until I notice the light has disappeared and it’s about the rain. I dash back to the house where I work out and make dinner. I talk with my husband on the phone and then read for the rest of the night since it is raining and I can’t bike my nightly route through the fields.

Total for the Day: $42.94



8:27 a.m —My housemate and I discover the iced coffee we bought yesterday froze overnight and is undrinkable. I drive us into town where we get caffeine and baked goods. With tip my large iced coffee and muffin— $12.02

10:33 a.m. —I work on computer tasks in the lounge for the rest of the morning, downloading Adaptation, a Spike Jonze movie loosely based on Susan Orlean’s book The Orchid Thief which I checked out from the foundation’s library. I also download more audiobooks from my local library to listen to in the studio.— $3.99

1:00 p.m.— I return to the house to make lunch before switching to the studio for the day where I continue the collage series I began the day before.

6:30 p.m.—I return to the house to workout and make dinner. At dusk, I ride the bike watching the fireflies come out and return at dark to my room to watch them from the window.

Total for the Day: $16.01

Total for the Week: $424.34


Get a true sense of what your artist residency costs by keeping track of your expenses in Artwork Archive

Artwork Archive proves to be an indispensable tool for artists engaged in artist residencies, offering a systematic approach to expense and revenue tracking.

It streamlines the process of recording expenditures, spanning material costs, studio rentals, travel expenses, and beyond, while also facilitating the meticulous documentation of revenue from art sales, grants, and other funding sources. By maintaining a comprehensive financial record, artists can gain a precise understanding of their financial landscape during their residency tenure. This feature empowers them to make well-informed financial decisions, devise effective budgets, and conduct a thorough evaluation of the actual financial implications of their artistic pursuits.

Through its user-friendly interface, artists can easily input and categorize expenses related to materials, studio rentals, travel, and more. You can learn more about how to use the Expenses and Revenue feature here.

Ultimately, Artwork Archive serves as a financial ally, enabling artists to concentrate on their creative work while ensuring financial sustainability and peace of mind during their residency experience.

Watch a short instructional video on how to track your art income, invoices and expenses with Artwork Archive here or get started with a free 14-day trial here

January 15, 2024


  • Submission Deadline: January 15, 2024
  • Award Info: Ucross provides each artist with living accommodations, meals, work space, and uninterrupted time so that the artists can focus on their creative process.
  • Eligibility: International
  • Categories: Craft/Traditional Arts, Photography, Drawing, Film/Video/New Media, Mixed-Media/Multi-Discipline, Painting, Sculpture
  • Location: Clearmont, WY 82835, United States
Eligibility Info

The residency program is open to visual artists, writers, composers, choreographers, interdisciplinary artists, performance artists, and collaborative teams. Applicants must exhibit professional standing in their field; both established and emerging artists are encouraged to apply.

All in one platform for artists

Here are a couple of great sites we recommend to find even more artist opportunities!


Artwork Archive | Call for Entry

Free to peruse, we feature everything from dream residencies and life-changing grants, to fun festivals, art business workshops, and competitions for some extra cash. We make it easy to search, too! Filter by opportunity type, location, event dates, eligibility, and more to find exactly what your art practice needs to flourish.


While you may know this site for its wide array of calls for shows, exhibitions, and residencies, this site also boasts a collection of grants and awards. Search through the listings at no cost which covers all the need-to-know details for applying, including entry deadline, fees, location eligibility, and more.

The Art Guide

Not sure if you want to apply through a third party, Art Guide is the free artist opportunity site for you. This call for entries website allows you to apply directly to the organization offering the grant. The list is updated daily so there'll always be a great new opportunity to pursue.


Formerly Artist Opportunity Monthly, all you need to do is sign up with your email and they send you thoroughly screened opportunities every month, including grants. AOM prides itself on ensuring each opportunity is worthwhile. A more comprehensive monthly list is offered at $5 a year.


Another site you may have heard of is ArtDeadline.com. According to their website, it is “the largest and most respected source for artists seeking income and exhibition opportunities.” The site may cost you a subscription fee of $20 a year to view the majority of its opportunities, but you can still browse many grants listed for free on their homepage and the @ArtDeadline Twitter account.

Curator Space

CuratorSpace is a project management toolkit for curators, organizers, galleries, and artists. It is designed to take the hassle out of managing exhibitions, competitions, fairs, and a whole lot more. Plus, they are a great site for finding art opportunities worldwide!


Re-title is a service for professional contemporary artists searching for opportunities, such as competitions, exhibitions, residencies, etc. A site for international contemporary art, this is another great site to find opportunities around the world! There’s even a map you can click on to search opportunities regionally and world clocks at the top of their site so you can submit applications on time!


Res Artist is a Worldwide Network of Arts Residencies from around the globe. The network comprises more than 700 vetted members in over 85 countries. They aim to support and connect residencies, engage and advocate the importance of residencies in today’s society by providing artists with resources and upcoming residency information.

Art Rabbit

Art Rabbit compiles a selection of international open calls and opportunities for contemporary art-related competitions, prizes, exhibitions, awards, proposals, and grants for artists, writers, and curators. They publish a selection of open calls from a pool of submissions and editorial research. Only open calls believed to offer meaningful benefits to applicants at different stages of their careers are published.

Creative Capital

Creative Capital is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to fund artists in the creation of groundbreaking new work in the visual arts, performing arts, literature, film, technology, and multidisciplinary practices, including socially-engaged work in all forms. Their pioneering model of grantmaking also provides thousands of artists with scaffolding and infrastructure support via professional development programs, networking opportunities, and educational resources.

Art Show

Artshow.com attracts thousands of artists and art enthusiasts each day. They advertise worldwide juried shows, exhibitions, and competitions across any and all mediums. Artshow.com has been recognized in "Must-See Web Sites for Artists" by The Artist's Magazine and has received favorable mention in several other art publications, including American Artist, Southwest Art, Watercolor Magic, and The Pastel Journal , as well as The Wall Street Journal .

Ready to apply?

Applications can be extensive. After all, organizations need to ensure their funding will be in good hands.

Be prepared to present yourself in the best light by having your information and images in an organized manner—and avoiding the last-minute stress of scrambling to find files.

Art inventory software like Artwork Archive can help you get ready to apply for grants and opportunities without the hassle.

With Artwork Archive , you can manage jury-ready photos of your work and their inventory details, as well as generate professional documents like portfolio pages and inventory reports. If asked for a list of past exhibitions and competitions to validate your professional status, you can see your complete show history with the click of a button. Just think of the time you’ll save not having to remember or dig up all of this information!

You can even add application deadlines to the “My Schedule” feature and receive email reminders before it’s time to submit so you never miss out on these opportunities.

Best practices for applying to grants.

Add this to your Artwork Archive schedule.
Never miss an important deadline.

Plus, prepare for applications and organize
your entire art business with a free 14-day trial.

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