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How to Host an Artist-in-Residence

For school residencies contact: Julianne Gadoury, (603)-271-0791,

We are delighted that you are planning to host an artist residency in your school or community! This guide is intended to assist you in planning your residency and preparing to write a grant to support it.

An artist residency provides participants with direct, hands-on experiences with working artists and an opportunity for a professional artist or artists to work in an educational, community or health care setting. The intent of artist residencies is to enrich and support arts programs, not to supplant or serve as a substitute for services more appropriately provided by trained arts educators.

An artist residency encourages students and community members to understand the role of the artist in society, to engage in the creative process, and to think critically about the arts. The residency design allows the artist to involve students, teachers and community members through a variety of arts activities- workshops, classroom activities, master classes, public performances or exhibits; and allows some time for the artist to do his or her own work.

Artists contribute to the learning process for people of all ages. Through an artist residency, we hope to provide an outlet for the creative spark that ignites an entire community to embrace the arts as a central and essential part of daily life.

Preparation for the Grant

The New Hampshire State Council on the Arts uses an online application system through a web-based platform called Submittable. Please click here for information.

  • Start Early!
  • Visit the Grants section of our website for full details.
  • Allow time for grant development. For teachers, alert your principal about time needed for grant development. You may wish to request a substitute teacher/planning time.
  • Attend one of the State Arts Council's Annual Grants Information Workshops and contact the Program Coordinator who oversees the grant for which you are applying. Grants are competitive, so be thoughtful and thorough in planning and submitting your application.
  • Visit/call schools and communities that are conducting artists in residence programs. We can provide a list of locations and artists.

Assessing Your Needs
Plan for time to evaluate your school's or community's needs. Begin by talking with students, teachers, parents and members of the community about residency ideas. Consider the following:

  • What does your school/community want to focus on in the following year? Why?
  • Is there a time of year, a community celebration, or part of the curriculum that ties in?
  • How does this relate to your choice of artist?
  • Are there ideas that could build connections with local organizations, businesses or community themes?
  • What do teachers, students or community members want from this experience?
  • In what ways will the artist benefit from this residency?
  • Will this project be innovative in some way?
  • Should the residency be in one solid block of time? Or will it be more effective broken into smaller units over a longer period of time?
  • Who will benefit most from working with the particular artist or artists you have selected?
  • How will you document the residency's short and long term effect on participants?

Establishing an Arts Committee
The Arts Committee should consist of at least five members including the residency coordinator, plus:

  • In a school: The principal, students, PTA members, interested teachers, community members and preferably a teacher within the chosen arts discipline;
  • In a community: Artists, members of civic groups, municipal leaders, school representatives, the local librarian, business leaders.

The Committee will:

  • Design a process to select the art form which best fits the needs of the community or school.
  • Use the Artist Roster to identify artists for consideration, review their resumes, contact references, make the final selection, set tentative residency dates, and discuss specific goals and strategies for the residency with the artist or artists.
  • Consider whether you would like an individual artist, a performing company, traditional artist, folklorist, or artists of different disciplines working together.
  • For schools: attend and participate in the Annual Arts Education Conference, where artist/teacher teams lead workshops about successful residency approaches. Other workshops highlight models in arts education, present new resources, and promote arts education advocacy. Each host site is required to send at least one representative. Residency artists are in attendance, and school and community teams are encouraged to participate.
  • Coordinate an on-site planning meeting, after grant award notification.

Planning Your Residency
The State Arts Council encourages schools, communities and organizations interested in hosting an artist in residency to plan early. Many residency sponsors develop a permanent residency/arts planning committee to develop goals for the residency program. This committee may determine creative funding and publicity strategies and plan for expanded community involvement.

  • Select a residency coordinator or team of coordinators who are willing to enthusiastically oversee all residency activities from beginning to end. This may include several community volunteers.
  • Involve the artist in designing residency activities.
  • Take risks! Contract with artists with whom your school or organization has not worked with before. Consider bringing arts disciplines not offered in your schools such as dance, film, or new media arts. Make use of the residency for new approaches to arts integration, interdisciplinary models and teaching Common Core subjects.
  • Use the residency to explore and experiment with participatory projects, workshops and community involvement. Vary the form, structure and length of your residencies.
  • Use your residency as an opportunity to form new partnerships with other schools, organizations, community leaders, civic organizations and individuals. Residencies provide wonderful opportunities for the sharing of cultures and ideas.
  • Explore new and creative ways to publicize your residency activities to your community. Whether you are a school, an institution, an arts organization or a local government agency, your community is your support system. Involve community members in your projects and they will become dedicated advocates.
  • Design a procedure for clear and ongoing communication among residency participants (artist, local arts organizations, the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts) throughout the residency.

Writing the Grant

  • Review the grant guidelines. Read and be familiar with the funding criteria and think about what you want to accomplish in your community, or with students and teachers, and how an artist's work, process and interests can connect with and support these criteria.
  • Contact the artist to help develop the written narrative and set tentative residency dates. This is when you need to lay a solid foundation for the actual grant application and residency plan.
  • Describe the community or school's project focus, and the preliminary residency goals. Be prepared to have several conversations (in person, electronically and/or over the phone). Discuss your interest in having that particular artist develop the goals for the residency, and ask the artist to provide specific ideas for reaching those goals. Clearly articulate this information in your grant application.
  • Send a draft of the grant proposal to the artist for review and feedback, well in advance of the grant deadline. Your application should reflect the artist's "voice."
  • Send draft of the narrative and budget to the appropriate State Arts Council Program Coordinator at least ten working days prior to the application deadline for review and feedback. Arts Council staff do not vote during the panel review process, but can make suggestions and recommendations to you to strengthen your proposal.

Important Note: Your grant proposal does not need to be written by a professional grant writer, but should be clear in its goals and how you will reach them, and should reflect the enthusiasm of the people involved. The most successful grant applications get panelists excited about what is planned; how the artist's own vision, process and skills will be incorporated into the residency plan; and how community members, teachers, students and artist(s) will benefit from the particular residency experience.

Residency Responsibilities
Each sponsor or residency coordinator has specific responsibilities that will ensure a successful residency:

The Sponsor/Applicant:
In addition to providing the cash match and in-kind support to pay for the residency, the sponsor must provide a residency coordinator (or coordinators) who ensures the smooth running of the residency. Other sponsor responsibilities are:

  • Help the artist(s) feel welcome;
  • Understand the residency concept and respect the individuality of the artist(s);
  • Ensure that teachers remain in their classrooms with the artist(s) at all times;
  • Encourage teachers to use the artist(s) as a professional development resource;
  • Provide the artist(s) with residency and studio space whenever possible;
  • Initiate a contract and pay the artist(s) in a timely manner according to the agreed-upon payment schedule and contract;
  • Assist the artist(s) with meals and accommodations (often donated) for out-of-area artists;
  • Maintain accounts and support documentation (canceled checks, receipts, vouchers, original invoices, sales slips, cash register tapes, etc.) relating to the residency;
  • Maintain intact records and accounts of the residency for a period of not less than three years from the date of the contract;
  • Work with the State Arts Council's Program Coordinator to evaluate the residency and complete final report forms and;
  • Ensure programming is accessible to all.

The Residency Coordinator:
In addition to serving as the liaison between the artist, the residency site and staff, the community and the State Arts Council, the residency coordinator has these responsibilities:

  • Ensure that all residency paperwork is processed, completed and returned to the State Arts Council on time. This includes grant agreements, final reports and paperwork from past residencies, when applicable;
  • Host the artist(s) and help them feel welcome throughout the residency;
  • Introduce the artist(s) to the residency site's rules, regulations and systems;
  • Assist the artist(s) and sponsor in completing the artist contract and determining payment schedules;
  • Assist in scheduling residency activities on site and in the community;
  • Troubleshoot, if necessary, throughout the residency;
  • Notify the State Arts Council of any residency changes (dates, artist selection, etc.);
  • Assist with the evaluation and written and photographic documentation of the residency for the final report to the State Arts Council; and
  • Ensure programming is accessible to all.

The Artist(s):
In addition to providing creative inspiration to residency participants, the artist(s) in residence's responsibilities are:

  • Plan the residency with the residency coordinator and sponsor;
  • Complete a work plan and contract with the host site;
  • Be a community resource for the time period of the residency;
  • Present a professional development workshop for teachers and parents (school residencies);
  • Present quality residency activities (approximately 20 hours per week, or 4-6 hours per day);
  • Continue their own work (approximately 10 hours per week, or 2 hours per day [school residencies]);
  • Help create an appropriate closing or culminating event open to parents and the community;
  • Respect the established sponsor's and community's system, structure and culture;
  • Communicate any residency problems to the residency coordinator and to the State Arts Council's Program Coordinator, Julianne Gadoury, (603)-271-0791, ;
  • Complete and return the State Arts Council's artist evaluation form within 30 days of the residency's completion; and
  • Ensure programming is accessible to all.

We hope you will find this guide useful as your school or community plans to host an artist in residence. For grant and program guidelines be sure to review our Grant Guidelines.



Last updated: February 8, 2018

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