Orein Arts reunites the creative life and the spiritual life for a deeper encounter with beauty.

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Monastery Arts Residency

The Monastery Arts Residency brings artists and writers to live and create under summer skies at Mount Saviour Monastery near Elmira, NY. Here the simplicity and single-heartedness of the monastic life meets the creative, seeking energy of the artistic life. It is the only arts residency in the world that takes place at an active Catholic monastery (as far as we know!).

Our residencies for this summer are:
Session 1 // July 08-14, 2024
Session 2 // Aug 12-18, 2024

Read on to learn more and see if our program is a good fit for you and your practice.

︎︎ This residency reminded me of the gift of living and creating within community, and how tied art-making is to the contemplative life. I met artists of varying disciplines who all had a unique way of seeing and paying attention to the world, which re-invigorated my own desire to bear witness to what is beautiful.

—Emma B., Artist 

Program Overview

Our time at the monastery residency is a unique blend of aloneness with oneself and intimacy with the group. We hope to find deeper beauty, creativity, and contemplation by sharing gifts and resources within communal rhythms of work, prayer, nature, and silence.

The residency in its current form runs two week-long sessions per year in the summer, with twelve to fifteen artists per session. Artists live in the main guesthouse, St. Joseph’s, each with their own private single room. As a community, we share a large living room, kitchen, and common bathroom. Visual artists have access to a shared studio in the monastic crafts building; musicians have access to various quiet rooms and the monastery piano; writers have access to the library, great room, and conference room, as well as a writing desk in their private room.

All meals are included in the residency fee. For lunch and dinner, everyone eats in the refectory with the monks. Each residency session begins on a Monday afternoon and ends the following Sunday around 11am.

Important note: all who attend must commit to the full length of their session, as it is too disruptive for the monks and to the program to have people coming and going at different times.

Residents are free to use their time at the residency as they wish to pursue their own creative work and projects, with access to over 1,000 acres of gorgeous monastery grounds & working sheep farm. Once per day, in the evening, we gather for any programming, work-sharing, and community time. Wine and other refreshments are served. The overall rhythm of the residency is influenced by the monastic schedule and daily prayers—the Divine Office. Of course, no one is obligated to attend any service or prayer, though all are invited. It is our hope and intention that residents come with openness to the unique spiritual goods offered by the monastic community and a prayerful environment.

This information is meant to serve as a general outline for the week. More information will be provided to attending residents along with an updated program.

Other important things to note:
  • Mt. Saviour monastery is an entirely smoke-free campus.
  • There is no dependable wifi available here for guests, though there is cell service (if you search for it).
  • Pets, children, or partners are not invited along with you as a participant, sorry.

Who Should Apply?

This residency consists mostly of silence, space, nature, work, bells, and chanting. It is rustic and rather off-the-grid. Our model is based on contemplation and creativity, not on workshops or masterclasses. For most of the day artists will be free and entirely self-directed. During our evening gatherings, the most “social” time, we emphasize community and give one another a share of our attention and time. Also, there will be a bunch of Catholic monks walking around. People will be talking about God. It is at a monastery, after all. We are looking for artists and practitioners who would take advantage of and appreciate such an environment as described here, who would see such a week as an opportunity and a blessing for their creative and spiritual life. Artists do not have be Catholic or Christian to be at home here—in fact the majority of those who come aren’t—but we of course have the expectation that all will be respectful of the faith and the rules and customs of the monks and the monastery, as well as commit to doing their part in creating and maintaining a harmonious and compassionate community.

If the abovc atmosphere feels like it is calling to you, that is a good sign that you will be happy here. Artists at any stage in their career who fit this description are welcome to apply. So far we have been best able to accommodate:

Songwriters, poets, translators, textile artists, fiction writers, plein air painters, pianists, collage artists, actors, mixed-media artists, performance artists, folk-musicians, essayists and art teachers... 

Residency Cost

Full Residency Rate: $1250

Discount Tier 1: $975

Discount Tier 2: $750

Br. Justin Fellowship: $350

We hope to welcome artists at various stages of career and income levels. For this reason, we use tiered pricing that allows artists to choose the cost that is most appropriate to their situation. We raise funds during the year to help underwrite these tiered discounts & fellowships.

The full cost of the residency is $1250. If you are in a position to pay the full residency fee, we ask for your honesty and respect to select this tier. It helps give opportunities to other artists in our community. What is better than artists supporting fellow artists? Otherwise, please self-select one of the discount tiers in accordance with your financial situation. All applicants of these three tiers will be considered in one applicant pool and tier selecting won't effect chances of acceptance.

Additionally, we recognize that even the $750 discount tier is a stretch for many artists. For those artists in need of even deeper support, we are happy to be able to offer the Br. Justin Fellowship, a special $350 artist’s contribution tier. These fellowships are limited to only a few artists each session, and therefore these applicants will be considered in a different pool. You will select on your application which pool you are applying into. 

Help us in our efforts and make a donation below to support these artist scholarships:



Applications are closed for our 2024 summer sessions.