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 next residency sessions will run in summer 2022.
︎︎ Orein offered creative nurturing in a formula I’d never before experienced: solitude for creative pursuit, opportunity for deep personal connections, and a support for daily spiritual practice.
—Betsy W., Writer
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 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, as per monastery rules, men eat in the refectory with the monks, and women eat in the women's house St. Gertrude’s, although we are exploring other possibilities for meals 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.
Who Should Apply?
This residency consists mostly of silence, space, nature, work, bells, and chanting. It is at a monastery, after all. It is rustic and rather off-the-grid. Our model is based on creativity, not on workshops or masterclasses. We are looking for artists and practitioners who would take advantage of and appreciate the environment described above, who would see such a week as an opportunity and a blessing for their creative and spiritual life, and who would of course respect the rules and customs of the monks and the monastery. If this all 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...
Full Residency Rate: $1200
Discount Tier 1: $1000
Discount Tier 2: $800
About the tiers:
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 & scholarships.
We recognize that even the $800 discount tier is a stretch for many artists. We have worked hard to raise additional funds for a handful of deeper scholarships. These will be made available by individual application.
If you are in a position to afford the full cost of $1200, please consider choosing that option, as it helps give opportunities to other artists in our community. What is better than artists supporting fellow artists?
Help us in our efforts and make a donation below to support these artist scholarships: