Looking for inspiration? We look at the vast offerings of artist residencies in Andalucía, for all types of artistic practices and creative projects.
Article by Anastasia Sukhanov
Back in 2009 Elizabeth Gilbert gave a TED talk on the elusive nature of creative genius. In a video with over 20 million views, author of the best-selling “Eat. Pray. Love” talks at length about the idea of creativity being “on loan to you from some unimaginable source”, a message to be received and transcribed, a result of divine inspiration.
Inspiration itself cannot be prescribed or organised, but a certain environment that welcomes it can be. This is what artist residencies are for. An artist residency program allows artists to live and work in new environments that are different from their studios or traditional workspaces. Andalucía – birthplace of Picasso and García Lorca and home to Antonio Banderas – a region that embraced the fusion of Moorish and European cultures, a place where it’s sunny on most days and views sometimes span two continents and three countries, is a dream destination for nourishing artistic aspirations.
Below is our selection of the top artistic residencies in Andalucía.
Duration: 2-8 weeks
Grotta is a contemporary art space in the middle of Sierra de Aracena Natural Park, providing residencies for visual artists, makers, photographers, designers, musicians, writers, researchers, and all other types of creative practitioners.
Grotta offers self-catering accommodation and a 200 sqm workshop & study space for experimentation, development, and creativity, as well as a broad range of materials available to residents.
Grotta is currently accepting applications for 2023, including a pioneering work-life balance program that allows for an artist to be accompanied by a friend, family member, curator, or researcher. Grotta also offers institutional support in case you need a letter of acceptance to apply for a grant or a visa.
Bajo el Olivo (Málaga)
Duration: 1 week – 3 months
Bajo el Olivo, part of Villa “CASA MIA” is a private artist retreat/residency facilitated by Juliana España Keller, sound and electronics artist and her husband, who moved to Spain from Melbourne, Australia.
Although the residency does not provide dedicated workshop space, there are desks in all rooms and one can benefit from the 2136 sqm of private land it’s situated on, with plenty of open spaces for painting and sketching.
Applications are now open for 2023. Priority will be given to local artists working in experimental sound practices.
RARA Art Residence (Málaga)
Duration: 1-3 months
RARA Art Residency is an initiative led by the private non-profit organization Nueva Rara Avis Cultural Association and directed by artists Verónica Ruth Frías and Cyro García. Situated in Villanueva del Rosario, a village 30 minutes distance from Malaga city, it offers accommodation as well as exhibition spaces.
Curatorial support is also included as part of the residency package, with the RARA team keeping in touch with its residents, providing suggestions, tips and specific advisory for each project.
RARA only hosts up to three residents at the time, so applying well in advance of your intended stay is advisable. Find out more and apply here https://cargocollective.com/rararesidencia
Joya: AiR (Almería)
Duration: 1-2 weeks
Joya: arte + ecología / AiR is an “off-grid” interdisciplinary residency rooted in the crossroads of art, ecology and sustainable living practice. It is located in the heart of the Parque Natural Sierra María. Founded by Simon and Donna Beckmann, the programme is grounded in the foundation that dynamic and sustainable creative activity is the backbone to regenerating the land that has been slowly abandoned over the last 50 years.
The program is multidisciplinary, welcoming artists and writers of various genres while being especially perfect for ceramicists as there is an abundance of clay available for modelling.
Going beyond achieving net zero carbon emissions, AiR actually create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere via the implementation of restoration agriculture.
Applications for Summer 2023 are accepted until the end of April. Find out more and apply here.
Isla de Crear (Jaén)
Duration: 4-8 weeks
Isla de Crear is a creative centre, combining a range of different disciplines in order to explore creating and crafting in a new method, away from commercial constraints or industry guidelines. Founded by Alexander, an Austrian-born furniture designer and maker, and Sebastian, an international writer, director, choreographer and translator, the centre is located with no neighbours for miles just outside Úbeda, a UNESCO world heritage site and home to a buzzing community of artisan craftspeople and a lot of cultural events.
Private accommodation is offered along with a shared living space, a library, and many indoor and outdoor working spaces, as well as a 50 sqm dance studio with a wooden floor, which can be used for rehearsals and a 300 sqm workshop space with machinery. There is also access to some scrap yard materials that can be repurposed.
Isla de Crear welcomes groups/companies wanting to apply together, especially for the performing arts and there is a possibility of bringing in performers upon agreement.
Casa 3 Polopos (Granada)
Duration: upon agreement
Casa 3 is a small luxury B&B and artist residence in the white mountain village of Polopos which was put on the tourist map when Netflix Netherlands filmed a show there. It is run by The Art Association Polopos, which was set up a Dutch couple, Thysa and Wijnand, with the aim of strengthening the connections between Spanish natives and foreigners, villagers and visitors and younger and older generations.
Instead of paying for lodging, artists at Casa 3 give back to the community by organising hands-on participatory activities and workshops. The ultimate ambition of Casa 3 is to host 12 artist residencies per year in which they create an artwork for the village and/or deliver a workshop.
Casa 3 is also in the process of opening their art gallery to display artworks from artists in residence and from the region.
Don’t miss the chance to be part of this unique project and apply now.