The term "Artists' Residency" is a cacophony of meanings and interpretations. Like the word 'environment' it can be used in many ways. I've just attended a residency with fellow NEA artist Irina Korotkow which included a month or so free accommodation, an exhibition area and a studio space in return for running a couple of workshops, manning a gallery (same location as studio space). Sometimes the term 'residency' is used as an alternative for workshop, often with travel, a cruise and particular artist teacher.
This artists' residency was a gathering of international artists to work together, exchange ideas and techniques, and visit some of the worlds greatest artworks. The residency was by invitation and limited to a small number of artists, sculptors and a musician from Europe, USA, Africa and we represented Australia.
The residency, partially funded by the EU and other sponsors, was curated by artist and curator Basha Maryanska and held at the Goluchow castle estate in Poland (side note, one of the castles featured in the Harry Potter films, which has given me great status with the grandkids). We stayed in the castle grounds, hotel Mulzeany, not 5 minutes walk. There was a large purpose built studio space and ample grounds to wander and work in. One hit was The Hunting Lodge which serve the most wonderful and intoxicating ice cream, and of course Polish beer.
What did it cost us? I know some of you want to know. All art materials (Canvases, basic paints, brushes etc.) were supplied also three nice meals a day. The hotel room was humungus and furnished in the period style of the castle with the portrait of the original owner (a shady character) pompously, and some what disapprovingly peering down at the bed, but stuff him artists are artists! The accommodation as a whole package was heavily discounted, primarily covered by sponsorship and came to around $700 for the fortnight, that included transport during the residency. Air tickets were our own responsibility, however, I managed to get a good deal through STA which turned out quite a lot less than expected
At the end of the residency there was an exhibition in the castle which then lead onto a travelling exhibition to move around Poland. While one could arrange the return of works after this exhibition. I left mine in Poland to be sold or otherwise disposed of. I did sell a larger canvas while staying at the Hotel, so now am represented in a private collection in Poland.
All in all, a wonderful and educational trip. I've been invited again next year, not sure where at this stage, the possibilities include USA, France, Italy or Qatar.
Both Irina and I have been asked to organise a similar residency in Benalla in 2018 or 2019 and several international artists are eager to come and paint with Australian artists, also a top Belgian sculptor Luc de Man and New York ceramicist Elizabeth Frischauf. We're a bit of a mystery to them.
**Thanks, Merv for responding to our invitation to write an 'Occasional Blog' about your experiences in Poland.
**'The Occasional Blogger' is open for submissions by NEA members who may, from time to time, have a strong urge to write for this column (or can be cajoled into doing so)!
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