FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need to speak English?
While we do have residents from all over the globe the first language of the Foundation is English and it is essential that all residents do have good written and spoken English skills. All applications must be submitted in English
What disciplines do you accept?
We accept applications from all creative disciplines, including but not exclusively: visual artists, photographers, illustrators, ceramicists, furniture designers, product designers, graphic designers, fashion designers, jewellery designers, filmmakers, screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, journalists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, performance artists and curators.
Can groups or collaborations apply?
We are open to collaborative applications of up to two people, however due to the limitations on accommodation and studio space we are unable to accept applications from larger groups. If you would like to apply as collaborators then we recommend either completing one application form for your project or completing separate forms and clearly stating in each application that you are applying together. Please be aware that due to the limit on accommodation it is most likely that you will have to share a room.
What information should I include in my application form?
Please try to make your application concise, without losing too much detail about what makes you up as an artist and potential resident. Our main requirements are a descriptive and vibrant artist statement, and a pdf portfolio of your work. If you work in music/ sound you can upload mp3 files. If you want to insert a link to a video and find it’s too large to upload to the form, please add any links to a page of your portfolio. We would like to see up to 10 examples of work here. If it suits you and your work you can upload multiple files, eg. a pdf, an mp3 and a video. We also ask you to provide us with an idea of your work objective at Villa Lena. We strongly recommend that you provide a reference: references should be headed and signed and be of relevance to your application to Villa Lena. If you are applying for the creative contributor role you must also provide a pdf briefly outlining your workshop proposals.
How do I define my practice?
In the application form we have provided you with a list of practices to choose from. If your work is a combination of practices, there is an allocated space for you to define this. We strive to create an inclusive atmosphere and are always interested to receive applicants from the widest variety of disciplines. If you strongly feel that your work can’t be categorised into one of the given options, then you can use the description box to better define what your practice is.
What is the difference between being a creative contributor and an artist in residence?
We have space for 1 or 2 creative contributors per residency group. A creative contributor role involves running three workshops per week for guests. In return their daily charge of 20 EUR will be waived. This space is reserved for artists who feel that they have a practice that can translate as an exciting hands-on workshop for guests of all ages to enjoy. Bear in mind that these workshops take organisation and preparation. The role is aimed at someone who is happy to give up some time working on their own studio practice. There is a section of the application form where you have the opportunity to express interest in this role and submit a proposal for workshops. To apply for this role we require an extra pdf file providing us with a brief outline of your proposed workshops. Please provide details of previous experience with workshops and which languages you speak.
Do I need a reference letter?
It is highly recommended that you include a reference to strengthen your application. The reference should be written by someone you have worked with, e.g. a gallery representative, tutor, etc, recommending you and your art practice to Villa Lena.
Applying as a writer: what should I submit as my portfolio?
If you want to apply to the residency program as a writer, please pick one piece of work which you consider your strongest. Rather than submitting your whole manuscript, please include the following: a synopsis of the work, the opening paragraph, and 2 passages from it which you consider your strongest.
How will I get to Villa Lena?
We offer all artists in residence a pick up and drop off from either Pisa airport or Pontedera-Casciana train station (easily accessible by train from Florence and Pisa). We also offer weekly lifts to the grocery store and art supplies shop for those in need.
We strongly recommend hiring your own car as a resident. Part of Villa Lena’s charm is its remoteness, however this makes it difficult to access anywhere off-site. Many of the past artists in residence have reiterated how much they appreciated having their own car.
What equipment do you have?
We have a ceramic studio, which is equipped with a wheel and a small kiln. We also have a wood workshop with a variety of tools.
Can I come with my family?
We do accept residents who want to bring their families. We understand that it is difficult to find time to work on one’s practice with children, so we want to provide those in this situation the space and opportunity to do so. As we have limited space in the villa, we cannot accept couples with more than one child, or more than one family per residency. If you require childcare we can put you in touch with local babysitters.
What do I bring to the residency?
Artists are all requested to donate a work to the Villa Lena Foundation at the end of their residency. In the case of visual artists this is most tangible, but in every artist’s case it is a unique conversation. Donated artworks hang throughout the property, giving the historical spaces a visual memory of past residents’ work and their experience of the place. The resulting art collection also forms a valuable asset that can be sold over time to make space for new artworks and to help raise funds for the continuation of the residency program.
Will I have to share a studio?
This differs residency to residency; we allocate the appropriate spaces based on the residents practice. On occasion an artist will have their own studio space, but most often residents will have to share a studio. We try to never have more than 2 artists allocated in one studio space. The studio spaces can be as big as 120 square meters so there is plenty of room for your creations even if sharing.
What's is living in the villa like?
The Villa is an old building somewhat in a state of disrepair as it hasn’t been renovated in many years. It is rustic and charming but that means it also comes with its challenges. The plumbing system is old and can be fragile, and there is no heating and it can get very cold, mainly in the months of April, May, October and November, especially at night. Please bring a sense of adventure with you (and warm clothing in the winter months!).
What is the cost of the residency?
There is a daily charge of 20 euros.
What is included in the residency?
The residency includes accommodation, studio space & two meals per day.
What is not included in the residency?
We do not cover any travel costs, extra living expenses, drinks, materials or insurance.
What other costs should I expect?
Residents pay for their own grocery shopping for lunches, and for any extras ordered at the restaurant including drinks. It is also recommended (but not necessary) that residents hire a car, so car rental costs should be something to consider when applying for the residency.
Do you offer any funding or scholarships?
Unfortunately cannot offer any funding to artists, as we are a not-for-profit independent arts programme and do not any receive external funding. The residency fees are priced as such to maintain the sustainability of the program. However, whilst we are not able to offer any funding opportunities ourselves, we are more than happy to work with accepted residents receiving financial support from elsewhere. For applicants looking into outside resources for funding assistance we are happy to provide letters of invitation or other documents of support to help.