Artist Residency

Holden Village Artist Residency in Ecology, Spirituality and Social Justice

NOTE:  Artists in Residence for 2017 have been chosen and will be arriving in the Village in February.  To learn more about our artists click here!

The Artist Residency in Ecology, Spirituality and Social Justice will award professional artists the opportunity to work and live for six weeks during February, March and April in the remote mountain community of Holden Village. Living space in one of our historic buildings, appropriate work space, and meals will be provided.  As a resident, you will become part of our dynamic winter community, participating in the common work of the Village, sharing your vision and creativity, and interacting with staff and guests. Selected artists can work in all media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, textiles, photography, film, writing, poetry, dance and music.

Holden Village sits ten miles up Railroad Creek from Lake Chelan, surrounded by the Glacier Peak Wilderness in the northern Cascades of Washington State.  It occupies the town facilities of a former copper mining operation (active 1937-57).  For over 50 years, it has been a Lutheran retreat center sustained primarily by volunteers.  Artists will be inspired by the interplay between sublime snowy wilderness and mining-scarred landscape, historic company town and living community, traditional rituals of worship and continuous explorations of spirituality.

Our Remote Setting Presents Unique Challenges and Opportunities

Imagine yourself walking on top of eight feet of accumulated snow—while the main road is plowed whenever possible, paths are well-trodden tracts of snow, and the landscape around invites exploration through snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. You are living in the boundary-land of the wilderness, with all of the potential and access to that space. You are also living near the detritus of an old mining operation, and the spaces of living and work date back to 1937.

Power: Expect frequent power outages with interruptions to the flow of water from Copper Creek feeding our hydro plant.  In the winter time, because power is limited, you will be asked to dry laundry on racks, avoid any power-hungry devices like hairdryers, and unplug appliances like computers when not in use.

Access to the outside world: Embrace letter-writing. Generally, the post office will be open a few days a week during this season. There is Internet but it is highly restricted and slow.  If you are an Internet-based artist, prepare to do your work completely offline and upload projects after leaving the Village.

Space: Heated space is a precious commodity during the winter season. You will be given a modest, semi-private space in which to work (existing spaces include a ceramics studio, music room, woodshop, and loom room). If you need complete privacy for work, you may be given a private bedroom as working space.

Light: Natural light is also a precious commodity during the winter. By the time you arrive, days will be getting longer, but because Holden is situated in a valley, it will still be receiving less than an hour of direct sunlight each day. Most first-floor windows are blocked by snow. That said, it’s a motivator to get outside, and just an hour of hiking can get you in contact with sunlight (and breathtaking vistas).

Wolverine Fire: In summer of 2015, the Wolverine Wildfire reached close proximity to the Village. While successful back burnings made it possible for firefighters to save all of Holden’s structures, much of the surrounding forest and road, between Lake Chelan and Holden Village, burned severely. As a result, uncertainties and risks are heightened. Increased risk of avalanche and mudslide activity could lead to unsafe road conditions, making it impossible, at times, for villagers to utilize the road. For this reason, we ask applicants to be flexible when it comes to their arrival and departure dates.

In addition, applicants should be in excellent health and must complete the below health form (health forms can be sent via mail or email to our medic – While we usually have a medic or RN on site, Holden Village is not prepared to handle emergency medical situations, and because of winter conditions, heightened by the fire, there will be periods (think days) where the road will not be in use.      

Health Form


  • Six week residency 
  • Private or shared bedroom in historic Holden Village
  • Prepared community meals, with accommodations made for special diets, whenever possible
  • Facilities access: basic woodshop; ceramics studio; weaving and sewing room; painting/drawing space; basic metal working equipment; odd selection of musical instruments, including several pianos
  • Limited Internet access for basic email.  Occasional Post Office hours. 
  • Selected artists will need to pay for their own transportation into and out of the village, including roundtrip boat fare on Lake Chelan
  • Some art materials are available for purchase in the Village, but if you have any particular needs, you should bring materials with you or have them shipped ahead of time

Program Requirements

  • Participation in common work of the village, including dish team once a week, garbo (sorting trash) once a month, and stoking wood boilers once a month
  • Participation in the Village community, attending daily worship services which are open to people from all faith backgrounds
  • Three public presentations: one, at the beginning of your stay, outlining your previous body of work, one in the middle of your residency to update the community on your progress, and one at the end of the six weeks that captures the final result of your time in the Village 
  • In addition, visual artists are expected to leave one of their works, created during their residency, for display in the Village at the end of their stay

Selection Process

  • Application materials (Application materials for 2018 Arist in Residence are not yet available, but please keep checking!)
  • Submissions are reviewed by Holden Village arts staff, who will evaluate each artist’s materials and select finalists
  • Finalists will be interviewed by phone and invitations will be made by mid-December

What You Need To Apply

  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Letter of interest, outlining your specific interest in working at Holden and how program participation will influence your career 
  • A list of three professional references 
  • Portfolio of recent work appropriate to your medium on a CD Choose from:
    • 10-15 images with an image list including title, date, size, media
    • Video or video clips:  please note that only the first 10 minutes will be used for review
    • Up to 20 pages of poetry, 30 pages of prose, or one to two full-length plays/scripts
    • Music or audio clips:  only the first 10 minutes will be used for review

**Artist teams should apply together by submitting one application, listing the names of each team member on the application form. Please note that winter housing limitations make it difficult to accommodate large teams.

Mail application materials to:

Artist Residency
C/O Arts Enrichment and Outreach Coordinator
Holden Village
HC 0 Box 2
Chelan, WA 98816

Want to learn more about Holden Village? Visit  Questions about our Artist Residency program?  Contact  

Thank you for your interest in our Artist Residency program!  We look forward to hearing from you.