Waiting for Residencies

I don’t know if I even mentioned the status of my Millay application. I didn’t get in, but I got on their waiting list. I have no idea where on their wait list I am sitting, but I’m on it. That’s something I suppose, but I can’t count on going there. That’s for sure.


They had over 700 applications and can only fill 64 spots. It’s a lot like a lottery I suppose. I wonder how many get to be on their waiting list. I really wonder. So far, I’ve almost made it to Yaddo, Headlands, and the Joshua Tree National Park Residency. So close, but no cigar. Today I applied to the Highlands Residency in Joshua Tree. That is a seven week stay! That is the longest one of em all. I had to write a proposal for that one, and you also have to perform a demonstration workshop midway through it. So I proposed to create an Artist book edition. I’ve been asked a lot of times to give a bookmaking workshop in the past; I’m hoping this will bode well for me. And I hope the actual book I proposed to create was compelling enough. I’m excited to make it – if they’ll have me, that is.

I sure apply for a lot of residencies. You’d think I’d get one by now. I feel like I’m getting real good at applying though, especially at writing proposals. You have to map out what you’ll be doing there once you get there – if you get there – on many of them (a project or something). And even if they don’t want a proposal from you, you usually have to write about why you are a good candidate for their particular program, or why you want to come there.

I honestly haven’t been on an “official” artist’s residency like the kind I’ve been applying to since the first and only one I did in 2004 at the Vermont Studio Center, and when I did that one I was pretty much in a wheelchair. Yup. You read that right. I wasn’t confined to it, but I was using it about 75% of the time. This was back when I was very newly diagnosed and I pretty much refused to take any kind of medicine from Western doctors. I used to think they were all quacks. I actually thought it was the quacks that knew what they were doing. Ha! Well I paid the price for that.


Once I caved and started taking real medication from real doctors, I was up and walking again within the year, but I was stubborn for almost six years before that and hardly left my house! It was truly horrible. I wound up with terrible agoraphobia and never wanted anyone to see me in the wheelchair. It was hard, but I started to get out of my shell little by little with the help of some therapy and the support and patience of my boyfriend. Then I started to use the wheelchair around campus — I was enrolled at Harbor Community College so that I could use their gym for physical therapy and since I was enrolled, I wound up taking Cultural Anthropology and English Literature classes. In fact, I made the Dean’s List. Ha! It was just a short amount of time though. A couple of semesters. I took ceramics too and hated it. I really did. I made the ugliest ceramic objects on the face of the Earth. …Well maybe that’s not entire true. I got a couple good ones out of the deal.

Anyway, all that got me used to being in the chair and being seen in it, so I got the nerve to apply to the Vermont Studio Center, which was totally life changing for me. It really got me out of my shell and got me to work differently artistically too. Maybe this is why I’ve been chasing down artist’s residencies since. Not that I’ve been chasing them down since 2004, mind you. When I got back from Vermont, I got a studio at Angels Gate Cultural Center for a few years and it was a lot like being in Vermont actually. It wasn’t until I moved up to Northeast LA when I started thinking about applying for residencies again, after I lost my studio in Highland Park (Moppet). So I guess I’ve been applying for one on and off since 2011 or 2012. That’s a while now. But of course, I’ve been going for the hardest ones to get into: Yaddo a few times, MacDowell Colony twice, the others I’ve mentioned, and I’ve even have applied for the Skowhegan School of Painting. That’s a very hard program to get into and it’s mostly for graduate students. I even contacted them before I applied and asked them how many self-taughts have been invited into the program and it was not many, plus the oldest resident at that time to ever participate was 44. It probably wasn’t my bag, but I got rejected for whatever reason – who knows why.

So we’ll see how the Highlands application goes, and I’m still waiting on the status of a Yaddo application too. I won’t find out about that one until mid-March though.

I’m done applying to any for a while now. I have a lot to do. I have the book to work on and I am collaborating on a short film with Keren Hantman. Plus I’d like to paint if possible.

I don’t have any shows lined up until 2017 and I’d really like to keep it that way. One is at El Camino College and the other is at the Lancaster Museum.

But things can change.

I’ve been talking to someone in Atlanta. I don’t want to put a hex on it, so that’s about all I will say about it, but if things go well with our talks, my work load just might increase ten fold. And if that happens, I don’t know how I’m going to fit in that collaborative film. I’m a little worried. There’s only so many hours in a day, but we’ll see.

2 thoughts on “Waiting for Residencies

  1. Kate Riley January 24, 2016 / 7:01 am

    Hiya! Was the wheelchair to do with MS, Lupus, or what?
    I am glad you got yourself treated and are now mobile. I’m progressing (downwards!! Secondary Progressive now – But a wheelchair feels a long way off… I hope)
    You talked about a Bookmaking workshop – I SO wish I could come on one of your workshops. I love making books and my aim, for this year, is to produce a chapbook of my poetry and some arty bits.
    I don’t know if it’ll happen as I was going to do it in 2015 and the time just went (with my lovely Lin having her stroke and being so ill…)
    Take care my very special friend. Love Katya xx

  2. Carol Es January 28, 2016 / 8:37 am

    Hi Kate. I keep meaning to write you a proper email. Thank you for the Christmas gift! It is lovely!!!

    The wheelchair was right after I was diagnosed with MS, but I got my Lupus Dx 4 years after, so I don’t know which was putting me down at the time. I imagine it was the MS. I’m so sorry to hear about your, especially because there is a new medication on the market for RRMS called Techfidera – still ask you doctor because maybe they have one for SPMS. You never know. Also, check the National MS Society here in the US because they are on top of the latest treatments: https://www.nationalmssociety.org/

    I think it would be great if you made a little book of your poems and interspersed your art into it. You can check YouTube for simple bookbindings, or just email me and and I can give you some ideas about how to sew together a paperback.

    I am so sorry about your friend too. I know how much you love her. My thoughts are with you both.

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