The Wormfarm Institute’s Residency program is designed to support artists and writers by giving them the time, space and facilities to further their creative development. The Wormfarm also provides artists with a venue to collaborate and share their work.
See how some of our artists have benefited from our visiting artist program:
“Wormfarm is an awesome place. During my residency, I found the perfect combination between farming and art making. I found that farm and studio work were complementary and very compatible for my project, the perfect match! These conditions made it possible for me to discover new creative solutions for my artistic inquires. The garden became the place where I gathered and organized thoughts to later in the day put them to work. I experienced a strong creative flow that poured into my project, which took a life of its own.
The farm is located in a beautiful area surrounded by rolling hills. I enjoyed this place by walking and biking. Sleeping in the barn for me was a magical an surreal experience, being close to the cows, hearing their calls, playing with the cats, ducking the swallows when they flew through the barn doors, and finding singing frogs on the steps of the barn fueled a stream of amazing, colorful and funny dreams.
Also while at the farm I had the opportunity to meet and interact with some members of the local community. I met a wonderful quilting group that share thoughtful and charming stories about their town. Many of the people that I met are very knowledgeable in fermentation and farming and they are passionate about combining these with art-making.
I loved the time I spent at the Wormfarm.”
– Patricia Tinajero
“The culture of Wormfarm’s artist residency program promotes careful consideration, self directed making, and an ever-visible cohesion of art and land. I have never felt so nourished, imaginatively or physically, as when I was doing my residency at Wormfarm. It was the perfect place to create .
Each day started the same—a blissful awakening to the sound of cows mooing in the pasture, sipping coffee in the cozy barn kitchen, and mindful planting and harvesting of vegetables orchestrated by Farmer Jay.
Afternoons and evenings were filled with listening to podcasts while coiling pots in my studio, sharing meals with fellow residents, and falling asleep reading after some vinyasas and journaling. The self-guided nature of the residency encourages artists to dream and explore. It leaves room for experimentation and thoughtful reflection and then empowers the artist to tailor their residency to fit their own unique parameters. The beautiful landscape and historical yet homey barn become a beautiful backdrop for a creative retreat unlike any other.”
– Betsy Redelman
“I was an artist in residence in the spring of 2010 and have visited the wormfarm many times in the years since and will continue to visit as long as there is a wormfarm and they will have me! When i first set foot on the two track gravel road that leads from the front house to the barn on the farm I was overjoyed. In little time at all i realized I had found a place where i could seriously pursue my studio interests as a visual artist and simultaneously have my hands and feet and body working on an organic CSA vegetable farm. And have a social life woven into it all. The balance felt great. And i’ve continued to try and find ways to recreate this lifestyle for myself since leaving. Unlike other residencies you not only work on your own creative pursuits near other artists, you also work with these same artists in the fields: planting, harvesting, distributing and even selling produce to the local community in Reedsburg, WI. Living on the farm you feel your interconnection with the landscape–the daily connection with insects, worms,birds and mammals, soil, sun, weather systems and people–all of it shaping the land and the foods we eat. It’s invigorating and fun and good work. When I touch the memories that live inside me from my time at the wormfarm the images that come to mind are very physical experiences of light, earth,changing sky, and the old barn where the rough artists studios are. I also smile remembering various kitchen and dinner tables where we would daily begin and end our days over food, drink, laughter and meaningful conversation. It was truly a place that touched my heart and helped me to understand what it means to listen to and follow your heart in the creative process, listening for what brings you energy in your process and following it. As an artist the experience took my creative work into new directions, even supporting my first truly sculptural works in the landscape. Surrounded by so much physical beauty and life it woke up parts of my heart that were dormant and unknown. I felt close to the people i was in residence with and I felt close to the landscape from which I ate most of my meals. There were plenty of trips into town too–to visit with locals and friends of the farm. And there were great field trips to sights of interest like the Aldo Leopold Center, the Crane Foundation and other neighboring farms. But the heart of the experience was on the grounds of the Wormfarm itself. Perhaps the experience would not serve every artist well–i can imagine many people that would have a hard time adjusting to the daily work, and to living in a very rustic way, in a very rural setting. You mostly see the same 5 or 6 faces each day (not counting the chickens, cows and Trouser the dog. And the spirit of Itchy the cat). And the toilet is a (finely crafted) wooden outhouse. But I, and i know others too, were tremendously happy in a less-is-more kind of way. Sunsets, Stars and Sunrises. Good teachers, good friends and good work. I wish there were more wormfarm-like places in our world. : )”
– Terrence Campagna
“As an artist I am interested in how we perceive and experience the natural world, how we understand our place in relation to the natural environment. My creative work and process clearly resonated with the mission of the Wormfarm Institute. For two months I had the opportunity to think about and take part in the various ways that the farm interacts with the local land and community.
I was able to explore the area, participate in farm work, create in the studio, think and write, connect with other artists and community members. These were all elements that enabled me to start and experiment with a new body of work. Residencies are vital to artists. Jay and Donna understand that and have cultivated a unique experience at the Wormfarm Institute in which they thoughtfully consider what both promotes and produces creative work.”
– Eleanor Jensen
“Wormfarm, Donna and Jay’s wonderful invention that links artistic creation with organic agriculture, makes for extraordinary results. These results benefit the artists, the community and Wormfarm itself. While there, I was working in three different ways: creating my own paintings, contributing to local cultural projects, and helping in the garden. It was gratifying to see how the development of each of these activities was enriched by the influence of the other two.
“Working in the garden was essential for establishing my vital connection with the earth and to remove from myself the feeling of being just a visitor. It was a key activity for joining with the landscape I wanted to reflect in my paintings. Ultimately it permitted me to feel a part of what I observed and painted…”
– Ramon Lopez
“There was so much space for my head to open into at the Wormfarm. The daily changes of weather and plant life cycles were shaping my reality as I was shaping my ideas, processes and projects.”
– Loey Colebeck