Residency Aid

Residency Aid

The Whiting Foundation previously supported a limited number of residencies and fellowship programs that, each in their own way, protect a fertile solitude but ease its loneliness and create new opportunities for collaboration. These organizations, and many others like them, offer writers the transformative power of dedicated time and space, and the pollinating contact of other creative minds.

Although resource constraints led us to sunset this program of grants, you can learn more about these crucial nodes in the literary ecosystem in the following descriptions, drawn from their websites:


Cave Canem

Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady founded Cave Canem in 1996 with the intuition that African American poets would benefit from having a place of their own in the literary landscape. In Cave Canem, emerging poets find sustenance, a safe space to take artistic chances. The organization's community has grown from a gathering of 26 poets to become an influential movement with a renowned faculty and high-achieving national fellowship. In addition to an annual writing retreat at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, programs include two book prizes with prestigious presses; workshops in New York City and Pittsburgh; Legacy Conversations with such poets and scholars as Lucille Clifton, Rita Dove, Arnold Rampersad and Derek Walcott; a Poets on Craft series; nationally based readings and panels; and the publication of anthologies.


The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown

The Work Center was founded in 1968 by 
a group of artists, writers and patrons, including Fritz Bultman, Salvatore and Josephine Del Deo, Stanley Kunitz, Phil Malicoat, Robert Motherwell, Myron Stout, Jack Tworkov and Hudson D. Walker, among others. The founders envisioned a place in Provincetown, Massachusetts, the country’s most enduring artists’ colony, where artists and writers could live and work together in the early phase of their careers.

Today the Work Center is a leading long-term residency program for emerging artists and writers and one of the most renowned. Each year the Work Center offers residencies – the gift of time, space and community – to twenty Fellows selected from some 1,100 applications worldwide. From October to May, the Work Center gives the Fellows living and workspace, a modest stipend and each other. The only thing asked in return is that they focus on new work while they are in residence.



Hedgebrook is a women-only residency on Whidbey Island, WA, that emphasizes community among its writers. Hedgebrook also hosts a screenwriters’ lab and a women playwrights’ festival, and makes a series of micro-grants for local engagement available to their international alumni. One example is a series of filmed interviews with writers in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where there is little encouragement for women to work in the arts.


The MacDowell Colony

At its founding in Peterborough, Vermont, in 1896, the MacDowell Colony was an experiment with no precedent. It stands now having provided crucial time and space to more than 6,000 artists, including such notable names as Leonard Bernstein, Thornton Wilder, Aaron Copland, Milton Avery, James Baldwin, Spalding Gray, and more recently Alice Walker, Alice Sebold, Jonathan Franzen (Whiting 1988), Michael Chabon, Suzan-Lori Parks (Whiting 1992), Meredith Monk, and many more. In 1997, The MacDowell Colony was honored with the National Medal of Arts — the highest award given by the United States to artists or arts patrons — for “nurturing and inspiring many of this century’s finest artists” and offering them “the opportunity to work within a dynamic community of their peers, where creative excellence is the standard.”


Ucross Foundation

Located on a 20,000-acre working ranch on the High Plains in Wyoming, Ucross offers residencies to writers, visual artists, composers and choreographers. The multidisciplinary nature of residencies is valuable to writers from all over the world. Ucross is a vital literary and cultural presence in a remote region, building an intense creative community in a majestic and vast landscape. The organization also helps sponsor and host readings, educational programs, conferences and other special events at its public art gallery.


Writers OMI

Writers OMI, a residency amidst a sculpture park and thriving arts center in the Hudson Valley, has a strong international focus. Bringing writers together from all over the globe, it takes advantage of its proximity to New York to draw visiting speakers from the publishing industry. It also conducts a yearly translators’ lab to enable translators to work directly alongside its writers. 



Founded in 1900, Yaddo is an artists' community located on a 400-acre estate in Saratoga Springs, New York. Its mission is to nurture the creative process by providing an opportunity for artists to work without interruption in a supportive environment.

John Cheever once wrote that the "forty or so acres on which the principal buildings of Yaddo stand have seen more distinguished activity in the arts than any other piece of ground in the English-speaking community and perhaps the world." Collectively, artists who have worked at Yaddo have won 71 Pulitzer Prizes, 29 MacArthur Fellowships, 68 National Book Awards, 42 National Book Critics Circle Awards, 108 Rome Prizes, 52 Whiting Awards, a Nobel Prize, and other honors.

I haven’t felt closer to myself for a long time and yet I’ve been constantly aware of how privileged a thing it is to be part of this community….I abundantly realize the value of the time this fellowship affords:  time to think and rethink, to write and rewrite.



Fine Arts Work Center

I think this was the first time ever in my life that I felt fully supported and given unqualified permission to be an artist, without regard to what practical purpose that might be put.  I know myself now as a writer better than ever.



MacDowell Colony

Man will perish unless he learns that the web of the universe is a continuous tissue.... All arts, all artists, are somehow connected. Cezanne paints a new picture in his studio in Aix. Overnight, through the rest of France, thousands of paintings begin to fall off the walls, and all at once, poets waking look out of their windows at a landscape that they had never seen before. 



Whiting Awards
Keynote Speaker, 2001

When you started writing, it was in response to the wondrousness and humiliation of being alive. Remember? You were fifteen and standing beside a river in wintertime. Ice floes drifted slowly downstream. Your wool hat smelled like a wet dog. Your dog, panting by your side, smelled like your hat. You were being told to pay attention. 



Whiting Awards
Keynote Speaker, 2012