artist residencies at Fort Worden

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SPRING 2024 Session

Since 1980, the Centrum Artists-In-Residence program has welcomed hundreds of writers, artists and creative thinkers to immerse themselves in the historic charm and natural beauty of Fort Worden in Port Townsend, Washington. The campus has sweeping views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountain ranges, miles of wandering beach and forest trails, and a peppering of World War I–era batteries and bunkers.

Creative professionals from all disciplines and backgrounds can take advantage of charming cabins, studio spaces, and a rich array of resources. Residents can expect semi-rustic experiences in comfortable cabins or apartments. Visual artists have their choice of a few studios of different sizes, including use of the printmaking studio at Corvidae Press for experienced printmakers. Our campus includes several organizations with whom a resident can arrange to connect such as: Rainshadow recording studio, Madrona MindBody Institute, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, Copper Canyon Press, and Northwind Art.

Above all, artists cite their residency as a unique opportunity to focus on their practice outside of many of the pressures of work, school, or expectation-based constraints.

Spencer Garland attending Centrum art residency

Attend the Next Session


Artist Residency Facts

  • Applications open May 8 - August 15, 2023
  • 1-4 week residencies available, some include: free housing, studio and stipend
  • NEW Residencies for 2024! In the Making, Curator & Arts Worker
  • Access 400+ acres of forest, beach and historic Fort Worden State Park
  • Program established in 1980

Art Residency at Centrum

What is a Residency?
A period of time dedicated to rest, rejuvenation, experimentation, and/or production of new work for artists, writers, performers, musicians, scholars, and creative professionals of all kinds. Residencies take many forms and have a range of conditions and components to them.

What is a Centrum Residency Like?
Depending on the program, our residencies look a few different ways, but all take place in historic, rustic, former military housing units on the campus of the Fort Worden State Park. Situated among public trails, Northwest wildlife, and scenic views, the environment is one that provides lots of opportunity for solitude and connection to nature. Our residencies are well suited to people who are fairly independent with their needs, flexible and patient with the nuances of older buildings, okay with cooking for themselves, and able to be alone for good chunks of time in between social opportunities. If this describes you, we encourage you to keep exploring our programs!

What are you looking for in a residency? Which program is right for you?
Perhaps you are recovering from an intense period of production and need to dramatically slow down. Perhaps you really need a workspace for a big project you’re launching soon. Maybe you want to just try something new? Maybe there’s something about our location that is calling you?
While our residencies place an emphasis on solo time, we also strongly believe in cultivating community and connecting residents with the local region. Some of our programs provide more support for this than others. We know that some of our residents enjoy the quiet solitude of the campus and that some rely more on social engagement and the insights of other creative workers. We have different programs for this spectrum of needs:

• (New!) In the Making residencies
• (New!) Curator & Arts Worker Residency
• Emerging Artist & Writers Residency
• Self-Directed residencies

(New for 2024!) In the Making residencies have public-facing components that could be a workshop, a temporary installation, a performance, or another type of community engagement at some point during the residency. Stipends and funds for these vary and are project-specific. These happen throughout the year. If you have an idea for In the Making, indicate so on your application with a brief description, and if selected, we’ll follow up to plan it in more detail.

Cost: There is no fee charged for this residency.
Stipend/Honorarium: Dependent on scope of project and funding.
Time of year: Varies and depends on project. Typically between August-June.
Length: 1-4 weeks.

(New!) The Curator & Arts Worker Residency provides stipends, gatherings, and moments of facilitated conversation around key issues in the arts community. This residency is for independent, gallery, or organization-based professionals who curate a spectrum of artist experiences. For 2024, this residency is invitation-based.

Cost: No fee charged for this program.
Stipend/Honorarium: $1200
Time of year: September
Length: 2 weeks

The Emerging Artist & Writers Residency provides stipends, multiple resident gatherings, visiting artists & curators, and an open studio/public reading. This residency is aimed at writers, visual, and interdisciplinary artists in the Pacific Northwest who are towards the beginning of their creative paths and can benefit from the time to focus and receive support from a community of peers and specialists in their fields. This residency is always in October.

Cost: No fee charged for this program.
Stipend/Honorarium: $1500
Time of year: October
Length: 4 weeks

Self-Directed Residencies are largely solitary, with an optional weekly coffee meet-up with other residents. These happen Jan-June and September-December. This program is fee-based, with fee-waived scholarships available.

• Cost: $450/week
• Stipend/Honorarium: None, but a limited number of Scholarships for waived fees are available.
Time of year: August-June.
Length: 1-4 weeks

Applications for all residencies are open between May 8-August 15, 2023. Applications are taken via Submittable. In 2023-2024, Centrum is experimenting with a model of a “Residency Roster” that would allow applicants to submit a simple application and update it as needed each year. In this model, after 2024 applicants would be invited annually to “update” their preferences for what residencies and opportunities for which they want to be considered. We will be evaluating this starting in 2024 to see how it works!

Applicants will be reviewed and selected by a panel of reviewers representing our alumni and a diversity of backgrounds and modalities. For 2024 we will also experiment with a lottery-based selection process for a portion of our self-directed residency slots.

Will I be lonely?
This is a question we encourage people to really think about. While all our residency programs have varying degrees of community support, we find that some people thrive in isolated cabins, and some people struggle with daily distance from interaction. If daily social interaction is important to you, we recommend:
Consider bringing a collaborator or partner. Yes, it’s allowed! We just need to know ahead of time.
If applicable to your practice, opt for applying for The Emerging Artist & Writers Residency which has more opportunities and support than the Self-Directed Residencies.

Will I feel safe?
Residents have been thriving in this environment for almost fifty years, and the utmost care is taken to make sure it is safe. Some things to know:
Port Townsend presents as a predominantly white community, and we are actively working with our community to ensure safe spaces for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color. We are continuing to build resources for communal support with our BIPOC residents and we are happy to have conversations around specific needs or concerns.

It is semi-rural and up close with wildlife. You will see deer everyday. Rarely, but occasionally, there are cougar sightings. We stay on top of pest control and just ask residents to be mindful of storing food and closing windows/doors.

The buildings are old. We work hard to keep them warm and safe from the outside elements, but they are prone to creaking and occasional “quirks” as well as small pests. We regularly monitor, clean, and take preventive measures, but is also part of life in old buildings on the park.

Park Rangers and security staff maintain a consistent presence.

In the late fall and winter months, the park is usually quiet and empty, while the late spring/summer months are very populated with a range of campers, conference-goers, weddings, or other gatherings that take place in non-Centrum spaces.

Can I…
Bring a partner or collaborator? Yes, we allow partners, children, and collaborators and just ask that this is disclosed ahead of time. We expect and trust residents to ensure that anyone they bring on the residency will follow the same policies asked of the residents.
Bring a pet? Aside from registered service animals (not emotional support) we cannot accommodate pets at this time. We are working to explore ways to accommodate this in future years.

Other notes:
• Meals are not provided, but all housing comes with a full kitchen and basic utensils/cooking supplies.
• Cars are recommended, but there are also public transit options for residents who come without.
• The campus is about a mile from downtown shops, grocery stores, and entertainment.
• Centrum works in partnership with several organizations including Corvidae Press, Northwind Art, Madrona Mindbody Institute, the Jefferson Historical Society, and the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, among others. Any projects involving these organizations will need to be coordinated directly and are subject to the individual availability of the organizations. We will help make introductions!

Accommodations & Studios
Charming and semi-rustic cabins and apartments contain private bedrooms and shared kitchens. Each two-three bedroom unit has a living room/dining room space, a fully equipped kitchen, and full bathroom. Artists are housed according to availability and individual working habits, preferences, and needs. Aside from self-identified groups, residents are given private lodging.

Wifi is limited and not guaranteed as part of residencies. Most studio spaces have good wifi, while most cabins and apartments do not, due to the historic nature of the fort’s infrastructure. We’re actively working to fix this in the coming years.
Studio spaces are in separate buildings and come in several shapes and sizes. Some spaces have access to sinks and wall space. Currently there are no studio spaces with ventilation, so the use of oil or toxic materials is discouraged. The program manager works with artists on a case-by-case basis to determine the best location for various projects and mediums. Additional fees apply for studio spaces. All technical equipment or supplies must be provided by the resident.
Our campus includes several organizations with whom a resident can make prior arrangements to connect such as: Rainshadow recording studio, Madrona MindBody Institute, the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, Copper Canyon Press, and Northwind Art.

Although meals are not included in Centrum residencies, Fort Worden and Port Townsend offer up an array of dining experiences and there is easy access to grocery stores and local produce. Apartments and cabins are all equipped with full kitchens and a basic inventory of dishware, pots and pans, coffee makers, and cooking utensils.

At Fort Worden, food service is found at:
Fort Worden Commons – breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Reveille Cafe – breakfast and lunch, coffee, pastries, and dessert
Taps at the Guardhouse – regional spirits, artisanal bites
Cablehouse Canteen – snack shack on the beach (months open here)

How to get here
Port Townsend is two hours from SeaTac airport on a good day. For travel directions to and around Port Townsend, please see our Contact Us/Directions page.

Having a car is very helpful for exploring the Peninsula and having independent access to grocery and supply stores. That said, for residents without access to a car, there are public transit and private shuttle/taxi options that are available to all.

Receiving mail & packages
Package delivery services delivers directly to our office, and you may send supplies for your residency via UPS, FEDEX, DHL. Please use our physical address for all parcel deliveries:

Your name
c/o Centrum, Fort Worden
223 Battery Way
Port Townsend WA 98368

The postal service does not deliver to our door, so we ask that you don’t ship parcels and boxes via the United States Postal Service (USPS). You may have letters sent to your name care of Centrum at PO Box 1158, Port Townsend, WA 98368.

What to Bring
Along with your art supplies, laptop, and anything else that makes you feel at home, don’t forget your own shampoo, toothbrush, and toothpaste. If you get cold at night, bring along a light down or fleece blanket too. Layered clothing is strongly recommended; the climate in Port Townsend can be hot, cold, and windy, all in the same day! Sturdy shoes for hiking the trails at Fort Worden are encouraged.

More Details
Download our handbook here to preview the grounds, lodging, studio spaces, and answer more of your frequently asked questions.

Find more answers - Centrum FAQs

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