Are you a rural creative type but need help figuring out what resources are at your fingertips?
Have you heard that you should attend a residency or a workshop but have no clue where to find one?
Does the idea of getting funded for your craft sound like a pipe dream?
You’re in the right place. I swear that none of this is as scary or intimidating as it appears from the outside. All you need is a little research to get your feet wet. Luckily for you, I got you started.
Check out this list of resources for writers, artists, photographers, and other creative types living all across the country. One might even be hiding in your backyard. I’ll continue to update this as I go and run into more opportunities. Please send anything my way that would be a valuable addition to the list.
My favorite part of getting my MFA were the residencies. These were an opportunity for all of the students/friends to come together, share work, and get inspired. I always left feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Many residencies require a one- or two-week time commitment and some money, which isn’t bad for an experience that can change your life.
Here are some I found that could be helpful:
The Eliza So Fellowship is a writers’ residency in Missoula, Montana dedicated to helping authors finish their already-in-progress books. Fellowships include lodging and a $900 stipend on food and travel. Apply online.
The Kimmel Harding Nelson Center offers 2- to 8-week-long residencies in Nebraska City, Nebraska for visual artists, composers, writers, and interdisciplinary artists. Each fellow receives a private studio, paid lodging, and a $100 stipend per week. Apply online.
The Jentel Arts Residency Program is open to artists and writers to stay in the Bighorn Mountains in Wyoming and work in a creative and supportive environment. The residency provides a studio and a $400 stipend. Apply online during one of their open admission seasons.
The Bemis Center isn’t located in a rural setting—it’s in a warehouse in Omaha, Nebraska—but Nebraska as a whole is remote enough to count. This residency welcomes artists of all types, including writers, and lasts for an entire year. Each fellow receives a $1,000 monthly stipend. Apply online.
The Prairie Center of the Arts in Peoria, Illinois provides printmakers, book artists and screen printers opportunities. Artists in residence receive a studio for one or two months. Apply online.
Ragdale is a residency offered to over 200 creative professionals every year, and takes place in a remote setting north of Chicago. A residency lasts 18 or 25 days. You’ll need to pay a residency fee and there is limited financial aid funding. Apply online.
Conferences & Workshops
Workshops and conferences offer a low-commitment option for creatives to get their hands dirty and learn a few things about your craft. They are also a great way to grow your network and meet fellow artists. Some are free, some you have to pay for, but every workshop or conference I have attended has been worth it.
Check out the options I found below:
Shake Rag Alley offers adult art workshops in Mineral Point, Wisconsin. You can find classes in all sorts of mediums, like clay or paper arts, and event includes writing. Tuition varies and register for individual classes online.
Calling all photographers, filmmakers, and other visual artists in Maine: Head to Maine Media Workshops + College in Rockport. They offer workshops for many different mediums—even writing. You can even gain a certificate while you’re there. For costs and registration, see their website.
The Iowa Summer Writing Festival offers a whole host of one- or two-week writing workshops. Not to mention, Iowa is one of the best writing programs in the country (if not THE best). See fees and register online.
The University of North Dakota’s Writers Conference is free and open to the public, taking place in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
Money is useful, even for creative types. So check out these opportunities to get funded by your state or your county. Arts councils exist all over the country for that exact purpose, and often will support any type of artist. You never know if you don’t apply.
Here’s where to start your search:
To find a grant in your hometown or state, simply Google “arts grant + your state.” I searched my home state of Indiana and found the Arts Council of Indianapolis offers individual artist grants, so there are many opportunities out there. Also, the NEA provides an incredibly useful list of all regional and state arts councils.
Grants in the Midwest. Arts Midwest provides a list of its member states’ arts agencies that you can check to see if they offer funding.
Grants in the MidAtlantic. The Midatlantic Arts Council supports individual artists from its regions’ states. They offer Creative Fellowships, On Screen Fellowships, and State Fellowships.
Grants in Middle America. Check out Kansas-based Mid-America Arts Alliance, which gives out grants to individuals in that region creating new art.
Grants in the West. WestAF (which is my favorite name so far, even if they didn’t mean for it to be funny) offers monetary support for the arts in the Western United States.
Grants in the South. South Arts provides grants for performing artists, jazz artists, and traditional or folk artists. Most involve giving a public speaking by giving a presentation.
Foundation Center is a grants database you can use to search for nationwide and local grants for creative types.
FoundationSearch is another online directory where you can find foundations offering grants to artists and creative types.
The National Endowment for the Arts offer a large grant to creative writers of $25,000. The money is meant to be used for research, travel, and time for writing. See guidelines and application online.
Grantmakers in the Arts offer resources aimed at grant makers for funding rural arts and individual artists. Check out their site for more information on grant making in general. Also, they suggest if you are looking for grants to visit the and FoundationSearch.
Interested in knowing how and why rural arts are worth supporting so you can finally tell Cousin Scott to stop hassling you about your painting?
Check this out:
In early 2019, the National Governors Association announced it would be working with the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies to revitalize rural arts. They found that arts infrastructure in remote areas of the U.S. can bring a powerful economic incentive to towns and counties.