Best Artist Retreats & Residency Programs Around The World

Best Artist Retreats & Residency Programs Around The World
An Abode for an Artist
 ~Retreats and hotels that help artists incubate ideas~

Creativity cannot and should not be enforced upon. An artist is an artist. Period. But then his surroundings play a crucial role in helping him nurture his talent.

And while there are finishing schools and expert tutors who can help, once an artist gains reputation or once he is on his own, he requires an occasional shift of abode to ignite his creative talent. There are quite a few specialized hotels, retreats and even artist friendly cities and here we have narrowed down on a few.

International Locations Outside India


1. The Ace Hotel, New York and London

To take an excerpt from the hotel’s portal ( – Sculpture, mineral, sound, a well wrought ink line on a page. Some people wink and call it art.

We know that good thinking and good making take space, and also time — two things we don't have much of in New York City — and it is in this spirit that Ace Hotel New York first dreamt up its Artists in Residence series, a night for artists to give their ideas some space to expand and fester and bloom. 

The hotel has an ongoing partnership with institutions such as The Museum of Art & Design, Tomorrow Lab, Eyebeam Art + Technology Center, Printed Matter and Flux Factory and this has led them to keep their rooms dedicated for art.

The hotel invites an artist to stay every Sunday night to create something, which then is up for viewing by the hotel the next day.

Room 403


2. The Wrapping Project Berlin, Germany

With thoughtful entities like The Wrapping Project that is based in Berlin, Germany, for artists who find it difficult to get accomodation that would not pinch their pockets while they are looking for some peaceful haven to rest themselves, there is something to be thankful for. The aim of the residency is to provide a period of rest and recreation for artists and practitioners in their mid-career blues.

It is a condition of the residency that NO work is produced during the eight week period of the programme. The residency provides free accommodation in a classic Berlin apartment in an Altbau, early 20th century building. It is a private space in an urban environment.

What makes it all the more attractive is that the applicant can be accompanied by a partner and up to two children, if the children are able to share one bedroom.


3. Swatch Art Peace Hotel, Shanghai, China

The residence programme here welcomes international artists for up to six months where they are given access to their own live-work space designed by Parisian collective Jouin Manku.

The artists can expect to get pampered with all five-star hotel amenities and also access the leisure zones and free-use event spaces that are spread across six floors. Here the artists can connect with guests staying in the hotel.

The payment for the stay has to be paid in kind where the residents are requested to leave behind a trace of their time at the hotel. This is in form of a site-specific piece that would be on a permanent display in the hotel.

Swatch Art Peace Hotel 

4. Casa Wabi, Oaxaca, Mexico (Residency Program by Invite Only)

This is heaven for those who take inspiration from the sea and the mountains. Set between the beach and the mighty mountains, this artist’s abode on the Mexican seafront offers a set of six huts for accommodation.

Casa Wabi is directed by Patricia Martin, who is also the curator of Coleccíon Jumex that happens to be one of the largest private contemporary art collection in Latin America.

Residencies are by invite-only, with artists’ work judged on its social merits. Once the artist is here, he gets an opportunity to interact with artists from other disciplines as well.



5. Villa Lena, Tuscany, Italy (Residency Program)

A non-profit organization dedicated to supporting international contemporary artists working in art, music, film, literature, fashion and other creative fields, Villa Lena Foundation offers a residency program to all for a period of two-months.

This includes accommodation and studio space on a barter deal where the artist has to hold workshops and talks. The icing on the cake here is the fresh food one gets to eat that is prepared using ingredients sourced from the villa’s own garden.

The artist on completion of his stay has to leave an artwork of his for others to see.


6. Tower Studio, Canada

Situated at the scenic Fogo Island, this art retreat is sure to take the artist to another world altogether and have him explore his creative talent like never before. It is one of the six studios commissioned by the Shorefast Foundation and Fogo Island Arts Corporation.

Tower Studio

7. Cassilhaus Residency (Residency Program)

The Cassilhaus Artist Retreat and Residency, established by Ellen Cassilly and Frank Konhaus (hence Cassilhaus) is a custom designed artist “pod” attached to their residence in North Carolina.

Working professional artists from a wide range of disciplines are invited to retreat and work in a stunning wooded setting for three to seven week periods.

Artists are encouraged to offer at least one service to the community during their stay in the form of a class, workshop, lecture, open studio, exhibition, performance, or reading.  There is no expectation of donated artwork.



Scouting for Options within India

1. Khoj (Residency Program)

India’s capital is home to Khoj, an organization that endeavours to seek and discover art through a series of ongoing programmes.

In 2002, Khoj acquired a building in Khirki village, south Delhi. Post some renovation in 2012, Khirki has been expanded to include spaces for artists and the public alike.

The building includes exhibition spaces, artists’ studios, residents’ accommodation, a reference library, a media lab, a public café, an open-air terrace and an additional multipurpose space.

There are 3 rooms (2 double, 1 single) with a fully functioning, spacious kitchenette and lounge. Residencies at Khoj are between 4-6 weeks. During this period, the residency participants have access to Studio facilities and equipment at Khoj.



2. Kashi (Residency Programs)

Established in 2015, this gallery has been hosting international and Indian artists. Here, the residents are housed at Rainthree Lodge and paid a stipend to cover the working costs.

There is a theme decided for each residential programme. Artists are provided with a studio space and accommodation where there can experiment with their skills.

raintree lodge


3. Vaayu Vision Collective (Residency Program)

Vaayu Vision

This could perhaps be a destination for work and leisure together because after all it is in Goa! The Vaayu Vision Collective embodies the gallery, studio and arts community within the larger Vaayu Village in Goa.

The centre strives to provide a culturally unique, healthy, and inspirational experience for the Artist Residents with a Goan touch to it. From a stylish living space to taking care of other utilities including a laundry machine, ensuite bath and WiFi, all the needs are well taken care of.

The artist has a choice of working in either the open air rooftop or an ocean side gallery workspace above their surf shop. The centre helps the artist with various mechanisms to help him reach out to a wider audience.

As for the remuneration involved, the artist must pay for their transportation to Goa, art supplies, food and personal cell phone expenses. Gallery sales will be split between 75 per cent to the artist and 25 per cent to the gallery.

There is a unique system in place where each artist living there is asked to design a VVC limited edition t-shirt, or leave behind one art piece for the VVC’s private collection.

Artists have no dearth of a places to go to unleash their creative talent. Though, one has to make sure that their work is at par with the standards required to be a part of the residency programme. 


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