Dancenorth, Siteworks 2018. Image courtesy Dancenorth.
With the tagline ‘a place to create’, Bundanon Trust coordinates Australia’s largest Artist-in-Residence program. Hosting an average of 350 artists and collectives annually, and with an application success rate of 35%, it speaks directly to the spirit of creative inclusivity at the heart of Arthur Boyd’s gift to the nation.
Bundanon Trust encompasses two properties on the Shoalhaven River on the south coast of New South Wales. Residents are hosted in purpose-built studios on the Bundanon site, while larger groups have traditionally been located at the Riversdale site.
The program is open to professional artists and thinkers from all disciplines, individually or in groups, with a particular focus on supporting new work.
‘We are looking for artists who have a project and need the time, space and focus to do it,’ said John Baylis, Head of Arts Programs at Bundanon Trust.
Baylis said the spirit of inviting artists to stay and work on the property dates back to the 1980s, when Boyd himself would regularly invites friends down to stay and create. The program today is selected by a peer-based industry panel.
‘The local landscape inspired Arthur so much that he wanted to share it with the next generation of artists – it is in the DNA of Bundanon to be a resource for artists; to be explorative,’ Baylis added.
Today, Bundanon Trust is committed to ensuring the residency program fully honours that gift.
‘We feel bad if it goes to waste. It is inevitable throughout the year that artists’ schedules change as opportunities come up – so it is not unusual that an artist who might receive a bad news letter could a few months later receive the good news one. We encourage people to apply.’
Bundanon residencies are available through an annual open call, and applications are now open for 2020 selection.
Spencer Harrison, Composition 07, 2018; Bundanon Artist-in-Residence 2019; image courtesy the artist.
Who can apply?
The Bundanon Artist-in-Residency program encompasses all art forms.
‘Because of its association with Arthur Boyd, people have it in their head that it is just visual artists and writers, but half our residency program is drawn from the performing arts. That is what gives it its strength – this mix – and all kinds of collaborative ideas and stimulation comes out of that shared environment,’ Baylis explained.
‘We accept applications in all art forms and we have the facilities to cope with them – a grand piano, a dance studio, and now even now a silversmith studio. We can certainly cope with most things.
‘There are not many contexts where a composer and visual artist, or a poet and dancer can get together,’ he added.
Baylis noted that while the site offers a very tranquil natural environment, the residency is not exclusive to artists who do environmentally-based work. ‘It is more about releasing the tension of city living, to let the making go on.’
One of the unique aspects of the Bundanon residency is its sense of community, with around 50% of all residencies return visits.
That great vision of a creative community is growing next year, as Bundanon Trust embarks on the construction of a new contemporary gallery, a café, and extra residency and education spaces at its Riversdale site.
‘In the long run, it will make Bundanon an even more exciting place for artists to have an ongoing relationship with,’ Baylis said.
How to be part of the Bundanon experience
The words most often used to describe a Bundanon residency are that it offers the opportunity to focus without distraction.
Baylis explained: ‘An artist’s time at Bundanon is theirs to structure – they can walk through the fields, go down to the river, or be in the studio. It seems like a deceptively passive program, but it’s been created over the years to allow artists to get on with their work, without telling them what they do or need to deliver.’
All applications will be assessed against the following criteria:
- Artistic standing of applicant and artistic merit of the proposal.
- Benefit of the residency for the applicant's professional development or for the successful realisation of the proposed project.
Bundanon does not offer stipends, living allowances or travel assistance. There is a standard accommodation fee for Bundanon residencies of $50 per person per night, with a minimum stay of seven nights.
To learn more about the applying for the residency visit: https://bundanon.com.au/residencies/2020-residencies/
‘In pragmatic terms, having a Bundanon residence in your CV is a stamp of approval; apart from the benefits of residency itself, it shows you have a level of esteem among your peers,’ said Baylis.
Applications for 2020 residencies are now open. Applications close on 29 July 2019.
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