Villa Lena Foundation Artist Residency

Villa Lena Foundation operates a residency program that runs from April to October each year in Tuscany, Italy. Located in the wild Tuscan countryside, but only an hour away from the beautiful and culturally dense cities of Florence and Pisa, the Villa Lena Estate sits within five hundred hectares of woodland, rugged hills, olive groves and vineyards.  The Foundation offers artists 6 week residencies with onsite accommodation, studio space and half-board meals (breakfast and dinner) in the hotel restaurant. Studio spaces range in size depending on residents’ needs, with several being as large as one hundred and twenty square metres. Residents are invited to live in the nineteenth century villa, which is the heart of the property, a magnificent building of period charm. A program of regular talks, workshops and other events are run by the Foundation in collaboration with the residents to promote interaction and exchange of ideas both among the residents and with the wider community. Further facilities include free wifi throughout the villa, well equipped wood and ceramic workshops and a screening/projection room. There is a daily charge of 20 euros per person, per day which goes a small way to covering some of the costs of running the residency programme.   


The Application and selection process

Application to the Villa Lena Foundation Artist Residency program is via the online application form, which requests examples of work and CV information, as well inviting applicants to detail what they hope to achieve while at Villa Lena if successful.  Promising applicants are interviewed by the foundation following which a shortlist is compiled. The shortlist is circulated to the Foundation’s Advisory Board for feedback before the residency places are offered to successful artists in writing in November.  Our Advisory Board are: 

Charlie Porter, journalist

RZA, music producer and rapper

Philippe Zdar, music producer

Caroline Bourgeois, curator

Barbara Casasola, fashion designer

Rafael de Cárdenas, architect


Leaving a trace

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.