Jack Straw Artist Residency Programs

Our artist residency programs – the Jack Straw Artist Support Program, New Media Gallery Program, and Writers Program – offer established and emerging artists in diverse disciplines an opportunity to explore the creative use of sound in a professional atmosphere through residencies in our recording studios, training, and participation in our various presentation programs.

The deadline for 2024 Artist residencies has passed. Applications for 2025’s programs will be available in the summer of 2024.

Residency Application workshops with Jack Straw staff and artists:

Thursday, October 27, 2022 (archived recording) with new Media Gallery artist Chanee Choi, Artist Support Program artist Marilyn Montúfar, and 2022 Writers Program Curator Michael Schmeltzer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021 (archived recording) with 2021 Writers Program Curator E.J. Koh, New Media Gallery Artist May Maylisa Cat, and Artist Support Program alum Natasha Marin.

Monday, October 19, 2020 (archived recording) with 2019 Writers Program Curator Kathleen Flenniken, New Media Gallery Artist Joel Ong, and Artist Support Program/Writers Program alum Harold Taw.

Jack Straw artist residency applications are online, at submittable.com. Please contact us at arts@jackstraw.org or 206-634-0919 if this application format is not accessible to you for any reason.

All of these programs may be affected in some way by Covid-19. Please see the advisory for each program in each section of the FAQ.

QUESTIONS? Please carefully read the Frequently Asked Questions. If your question is not answered here, please call (206) 634-0919 or e-mail arts@jackstraw.org. Please call ahead if you are stopping by our office with questions.

General Questions

Artist Support Program FAQs

New Media Gallery FAQs

Writers Program FAQs

General Program FAQs

What are the facilities available to Jack Straw Resident Artists?
Jack Straw Cultural Center – an accessible building in Seattle’s University District – houses two recording studios, a New Media Gallery, and other exhibition spaces in the front entry space and main hallway. Residents in the Artist Support Program have access to the studios, as well as the potential to borrow equipment for remote recording. More information on our studio facilities is available here. Residents in the New Media Gallery have access to the same studios and equipment, and will exhibit their completed installations in the gallery. More information on the Gallery is available here and here. Writers Program fellows will take part in workshops, interview recordings, and live readings in the Jack Straw studios.

I do not have much experience as an artist, or working with audio — am I still eligible?
Both emerging and established artists are encouraged to apply, regardless of their previous audio experience.

If I’ve applied before and didn’t receive an award, should I apply again?
Yes! The panelists and literary curator change each year, and their responses will differ from those of their predecessors. Likewise, the field of competitors will also change.

If I participated in one of these programs last year, can I apply to a different program this year without waiting another year?
Yes. You only have to wait one year to apply for the same program again.

Can I submit multiple applications (for different projects) to the same program?
No, you can only submit one application under your name to any one program per year. But you can be included as part of the artistic team in another proposal for a different project submitted by a different artist.

Can I apply for more than one program at a time?
No; each person may only apply to one program per year.

Can I include letters of support, reviews, or press clippings with my application?
No. Do not include anything other than what is specified on the Application and Materials Checklist. Extra materials such as letters, press clippings, promo kits, etc. will not be reviewed by the panelists.

Who owns the rights or retains copyright to the work produced during the residency?
The artist retains ownership/copyright of the work, but Jack Straw Cultural Center reserves the right to use the work for various promotional or educational purposes (such as our website). Artists sign a contract that explains this in detail.

Will someone at Jack Straw be available to help me complete my application?
We will present residency application workshops with Jack Straw staff and artists via Zoom. Please check this page or join our e-news for updates. If this FAQ section does not answer all of your questions and you’re not able to attend a workshop, we will be happy to give you verbal guidance via phone or e-mail – within reason, however; our time and resources are limited. You may not work on your application at our office. Contact us with your questions at (206) 634-0919 or arts@jackstraw.org.

Where is Jack Straw Cultural Center located?
4261 Roosevelt Way NE on the southwest corner of NE 43rd and Roosevelt in Seattle ‘s University District.

When will the awardees be announced?
Writers Program awardees are notified in December. Artist Support and New Media Gallery awardees will be notified in February of the award year.

The application requests an Artist Resume. Should the Artist Resume just be an outline of all of one’s work, awards or residencies/scholarships, and anything else art-related? Or do you also want all of the artist’s regular job history?
Your Artist Resume should be a list or outline of art-related work, awards, and the like. Do not include a day job history unless you feel it is pertinent to your application.

I’m having a hard time separating my project description from my work sample description – the project is informed by my work sample and vice versa. Is it OK to combine both elements?
Don’t worry about redundancy, but please do both a project description and a separate work sample description. Keep things simple and clear. The project description should give the reviewer a good idea of what you would like to do. The work sample description should give the reviewer(s) information that will help them better understand/appreciate your sample. The work sample itself should demonstrate as well as possible your ability to complete the project. Don’t worry about being repetitive, but please do two separate descriptions.

Does the residency offer any financial compensation?
There isn’t any financial compensation, except sometimes for a small honorarium depending on our funding and partners. The primary value of these residencies is the studio recording, training, and opportunities for artistic development provided, as well as exposure through events and podcasts. There is a $500 expense budget for the gallery residency, and participants in the Writers Program receive 10 copies of the Anthology each and CD copies of their recorded work.

Artist Support & New Media Gallery FAQs

Covid-19 Advisory
Our studios are currently operating at close to pre-pandemic capacity. We do still recommend anyone working in the studio wear a mask, except as required for recording. However, given the overall uncertainty around the pandemic’s progress, we may need to impose more restrictions in the future.

For artists located outside of Seattle who are unable to travel, we may still be able to work with you, as long as your physical presence is not required in the studio. We are able to work with artists remotely for editing, mixing, and training, as well as recording any Seattle-based performers, with the lead artist providing direction remotely as needed.

Currently our New Media Gallery exhibits are open to the public, but viewable by appointment only. Opening receptions and artist talks are being held in person. The projects selected for the 2024-2025 year of the Jack Straw New Media Gallery will be scheduled to show no earlier than fall of 2024, so we are hopeful that we’ll be able to present them as planned. However, given the level of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, it is possible there may be unexpected changes in the schedule or details of this program.

Is the Artist Support Program mainly for musicians?
No. We encourage artists in all disciplines who want to use sound in their work to apply.

Is the New Media Gallery Program mainly for visual artists?
No. We welcome proposals for gallery installations in one or more disciplines or genres in which sound is prominent or the only element.

For the New Media Gallery Program, does my proposal have to include a visual element?
No. We welcome strong proposals for sound-only installations as well as those using combined disciplines.

Do I have to apply for a specific project? Or can it be an open-ended proposal?
You should have a specific project in mind. We understand that projects might change once you start working on them, and that is fine. However, an overly vague proposal has little chance of being awarded.

Can I apply to do a collaborative project with other artists?
Yes. Collaborative projects should be submitted as a single application with only one “lead” artist’s name and contact information on the Application Form. However, resumes and work samples of the collaborating artists should accompany the application.

What is the difference between the two levels of awards within the Artist Support Program?
The Artist Support Program offers two levels of awards: the full Support level, in which eight artists/teams are awarded 20 hours of studio time at no charge, with the option of an additional 20 hours at half of our normal studio rate should they require more time to complete their project; and the Assistance level, a matching award that offers artists up to 40 hours of studio time at half of our normal rate. Artist Assistance awards are offered to applicants whose work is recognized as being of high quality by the panel, but who are not selected for one of the limited number of full Support awards. We realize that not all artists can provide the matching funds for a large recording project, but for those who are able to pay for half of their studio time this award can be quite helpful. All artists at both levels are included in public events and our Artist of the Week podcast.

If selected, will I have an engineer to help me in the studio, or will I be working on my own?
You will have a professional engineer or producer to assist you as needed in all phases of your recording project. Artists that are interested in doing so may take more of a leadership role in the studio, with our engineer assisting and offering guidance.There may also be opportunities for artists to work alone on a Pro Tools-enabled computer in our edit room. Some New Media Gallery artists choose to work completely independently on their projects.

Are awardees given any training in audio production techniques?
Artists will have the opportunity to participate in our professional recording workshops. In addition, engineers are able to provide specific one-on-one or small group training as part of your residency.

Who chooses the award recipients for the Artist Support Program and the New Media Gallery?
Each program has a different selection panel, consisting of three or four artists and/or arts professionals with expertise in diverse disciplines and genres. Jack Straw staff invites different panelists each year. The names of the panelists are not made public until after the selection process has been completed.

How does the panel decide which artists are selected?
The panelists respond to the merits of each project proposal, both on its own and in relation to others; they consider the quality of the artist’s work samples, the applicant’s ability to realize the project as outlined in their Project Description, the likelihood of completing the proposed project within the award period, and the technical feasibility in terms of Jack Straw’s resources and facilities. They also try to make selections that represent a diverse range of media and genres, without favoring any one type of work.

What should I focus on to prepare a competitive application?
Competitive applications will have 1) a clear, concise project description that shows how you would use our facilities and 2) samples of your best work that demonstrate your ability to accomplish your project. Work samples do not need to be professional quality, but the artistic excellence of the artworks being represented should shine. Select your best work and represent it as clearly as possible.

You must also be realistic about what you can accomplish with the award. If your project is large and/or complex, it might help to define a smaller project within your overall project. For example, if your ultimate goal is to create a full-length multimedia performance with a soundtrack, you might propose to use the residency to complete a few components of the soundtrack. Also, use the Project Description to outline your project and explain how the work samples you’ve submitted demonstrate your interest in sound and your ability to complete major projects. Convince the selection panelists that you have the ability to make the leap from your previous work to the project you are proposing.

How long will the panel spend reviewing my work samples?
Due to the large number of applications to be reviewed, the selection panel will spend no more than five minutes reviewing your samples. That is not five minutes for each sample, but five minutes for all of them combined.

How many audio/video work samples can I submit?
As many as you want, as long as the total time is no more than five minutes.

What length should my audio/video work sample(s) be?
Since the panel will only spend five minutes reviewing your samples, it is best if you send short samples that all add up to a total of five minutes. If you’re unable to edit your samples, you may send a few pieces with the understanding that the panel will start at the beginning of each, listen briefly, then skip to the next.

How many images should I submit?
No more than 12. They can be all prints or digital images, or a combination of both. But you cannot submit books with your images in them.

Writers Program FAQs

Covid-19 Advisory

We may need to adapt the 2023 Writers Program to fit the safety requirements of the current situation, as we have been doing since 2020, with minimal adjustments to the 2022 and 2023 years. Some elements – such as workshops, readings, and meetings – may be moved online, and some may need to be adjusted to minimize the number of people sharing space.

It is impossible to know exactly what the situation will look like in January, when this program is set to begin, so we are requesting your patience, flexibility, and adaptability in advance. Know that we will do whatever we can to help you get the most out of this program and find community with your cohort and curator.

Should writers apply only to the Writers Program, or can they also apply for the Artist Support Program?
Writers may apply for either program, but should understand the difference between the two: the Artist Support Program is oriented towards studio recording projects and the Writers Program is geared towards developing skills for live readings and interviews and creating new literary work for publishing and presentation. If you have a literary project that you want to record, such as a CD, dramatic reading, or staged performance with sound design or music, you should apply to the Artist Support Program.

How does the literary curator select participants for the Writers Program?
The literary curator is a recognized writer or other literary professional who serves at the invitation of the Jack Straw staff. The curator receives all of the applications and work samples at one time. The curator reviews these and makes award selections based upon their subjective judgment of the artistic excellence of the applicant’s work samples.

The 2024 Writers Program Curator is Nisi Shawl. Nisi Shawl (they/them) is the multiple award-winning author, co-author, and editor of more than a dozen books of speculative fiction and related nonfiction, including the standard text on diverse representation, Writing the Other: A Practical Approach.  Shawl’s best known fiction is the Nebula Award finalist novel Everfair. Recent books include the 2022 story collection Our Fruiting Bodies, and the 2023 Middle Grade historical fantasy novel Speculation. Editing credits include the 2023 anthology New Suns 2, sequel to the acclaimed New Suns 1. They’ve spoken at Duke University, Spelman College, Sarah Lawrence College, and many other institutions, and they teach online and in-person courses on respectful representation, dialogue and dialect, culturally inclusive worldbuilding, and diverse narrative voices. For over two decades they have served on the boards of the Clarion West Writers Workshop and the Carl Brandon Society, a nonprofit supporting the presence of people of color in fantastic literature.

How many work samples can I submit to the Writers Program?
You may submit up to 10 pages total for review, which may include multiple works, excerpts from a longer work, or just one literary piece. All literary genres are welcome.

What are the format requirements for the work samples?
Prose manuscripts should be double-spaced; poetry may be single-spaced. The applicant’s name and page numbers should appear on each page. Use at least a 10-point font.

Can I submit books or other publications containing my work as my work samples?
No, nor can you submit copies made from them. Please submit work only in the format described above.

Are you interested in a children’s writers?
We’re definitely interested in children’s writers, and writers of all genres.

Is it OK to apply to the Writers Program if I know the curator, or is this a conflict of interest?
Please go ahead and apply and don’t worry about a conflict. It is inevitable. Each year we invite a different curator, with the idea of a different sensibility and also to attract different writers.

What is the general schedule of activities for the Writers Program?
The bulk of the activities at Jack Straw take place between January and June, with podcasts and more readings and other events throughout the community in the second half of the year. Writers must come to Jack Straw for the first meeting in January, a voice workshop, interview recording, and one of the May Readings.

January: Required get together for all participating writers at Jack Straw to meet each other, schedule voice workshops and interviews, and read a bit of your work.
January/February: Write, optional gatherings for writers (continue through the year)
February/March: Curator interviews each writer, Voice workshops, Anthology deadline (mid-March deadline, new work related to each fellow’s writing project, completed as a Jack Straw Writer)
April: Performance workshop, anthology finalized
May: Public Reading series (3 evenings/4 writers per night), first three Fridays in May, at Jack Straw
Spring/Summer/Fall: podcast/radio production by staff producer (some input by writers may be needed), readings at several locations throughout the region
November: Final group events, including reading at Seattle Public Library with all writers

Is space to work and/or live provided?
We don’t have a place for writers to stay for writers from out of town, but we can probably arrange for a space to work if that is required.