Artist Residency

Artists and creatives are being pushed out of larger metros due to the cost of living and the inability to find affordable studio space. Being inside an hour’s drive to the Omaha metro, Stanton stands to benefit from this phenomenon as it occurs in Omaha.

One such way to turn this challenge to Stanton’s advantage is to create an artist residency. The goal of the residency is to attract a new creative every six months, on average, to Stanton.

Stanton is especially well-positioned for an artist residency because it is unlike the other cities where these residencies are typically located. As a result, artists will be able to draw on new points of inspiration and will face new artistic challenges, enabling them to grow as artists.

Because of its rural location, the Stanton artist residency program is designed to draw upon not only Omaha-area artists but also those from around the globe. The program will offer rent-free room and board, including newly developed studio space, and a $500 monthly stipend.

In exchange, the artist will be expected to teach youth classes on a regular basis during their time in Stanton. These classes may be taught in collaboration with the Stanton Community School District or with the makerspace described in this action plan. Depending on the artist’s discipline, it is hoped that they will collaborate with the Montgomery County Memorial Hospital and the therapy classes offered through the oncology department.

The artist will be expected to host an open house at least once per month. The artist will be asked to open up their space and invite a local artist in once per month, ensuring that both local and external artists are supported through the residency.

Artists should be picked to be part of the residency on a competitive basis. The application should include:

  • A statement of practice
  • A statement of purpose (e.g., what does the artist hope to accomplish during the residency?)
  • A statement of interest (e.g., what is it about the Stanton artist residency that drew you to apply?)
  • A resume
  • Documentation of work, including digital images, videos, audio work, or written work, depending on artist discipline
  • References

Artists will be selected by a diverse group of Stanton residents and outside artists and curators on the merit of their work in addition to the rest of their application materials.

As the residency is established, a community-wide branding campaign – perhaps celebrating the community’s Swedish heritage – should be explored simultaneously. One component to consider as part of this branding campaign is a public art initiative. The idea is to further engage artists from the residency program with the broader community and to build a cross-section of installations over time that are tied together with the common theme of the community brand.

Annual Expenses
Item Monthly Cost Annual Cost
Utilities & Insurance $500 $6,000
Artist Stipend $500 $6,000
Event Expenses $200 $2,400
$1,200 $14,400
Entity Amount
Iowa West Foundation $3,000
Stanton Area Industrial Foundation $2,000
Montgomery County $2,000
City of Stanton $1,000
Stanton Community School District $1,000
Area Businesses $1,000
Revenue Generation
Item Amount
Beer/Wine/Food Sales* $3,360
Fundraiser $1,200
*Assumes $7 average per person with 40 attending each month.
Total Annual Gross Revenue $14,560
Total Annual Net Revenue $160

The Action Steps

Develop nonprofit to oversee artist residency

Arts and culture committee

Work with attorney in pro bono capacity to incorporate as 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Develop other guiding documents as necessary. Seat founding board of directors. Consider umbrella nonprofit for artist residency and makerspace.

Q2 2018

Design building layout

Nonprofit, arts and culture committee, architect, engineers

Finalize building needs, including workspace(s), the gallery, and second floor apartment. Determine estimated costs.

Q3 2018

Finalize business plan and begin fundraising

Nonprofit, arts and culture committee

Customize business plan in Appendix D. Build funding roadmap and prioritize grants and donor requests as part of larger fundraising campaign. Consider implementing a ‘friends of the residency’ program that helps underwrite special projects or local artists.

Q4 2018

Artist recruitment

Nonprofit, arts and culture committee

Finalize artist residency guidelines and begin recruitment process, advertising across the US. Seat review committee. Once applications are in, conduct interviews and select first artist in residency. Deploy press release and other marketing materials to target geographies. Consider engaging Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs among other cultural institutions.

Q1 2019

Complete buildout and prepare for opening

Nonprofit, arts and culture committee

Take project out for bid and select contractor. Update the community and funders – both secured and prospective – on buildout progress. Plan and host grand opening party.

Q2 2019