Dear Artist:

It is our great pleasure to inform you that you have been selected for a residency at our prestigious Artist Colony housed in a drafty barn in a haunted, nameless shire in upstate New York.

Of the 3,000 applications we received this year, yours stood out because we are broke and one of our jury members, who was instructed to read all submissions “blind,” thought she recognized your novel excerpt from an exorbitantly priced generative workshop led by a celebrity author in Milan in the early aughts. To be certain it was you, she checked the document’s metadata and there was your name: Moneybags! Just kidding, we know your name is [Insert Writer/Filmmaker/Painter/Composer Name Here] and we believe in your stunning [Prose/Films/Paintings/Music] as well as your future status as an Angel-level donor. Congratulations!

This residency is fully funded and exists in an alternate universe where the words fully funded do not mean we give you funds. By fully funded, we mean you divorce yourself from all creature comforts for a month and forego two to four paychecks, depending on your day job’s payroll schedule and your PTO balance, in exchange for unlimited drip coffee and a stocked refrigerator, which is to say you’ll basically be housesitting for us, but instead of watching premium cable and sleeping in the cush master bedroom, you’ll be hemorrhaging art until begging sweet death to come for you at your dilapidated desk.

Now, a bit about the property.

It was once home to a grande dame poetess who subsisted on wine and meadow views. She slept by day and wrote her timeless verses by night because she could not make art without a snootful of cab and her husband frowned upon day drinking. She died of consumption in one of the five bedrooms, but we’ll never tell which! Volumes of her work have been meticulously bound and displayed for your inspiration in the common area, along with extra insect repellent, space heaters, fans, tick removal tweezers, padlocks, mace, bear whistles, sexual harassment guidelines, and shower shoes.

You have been awarded a semi-private bedroom (the door does not shut firmly) and separate studio space, both of which will be charmingly sweltering in summer and colder in winter than the New Yorker’s form rejection letter. No one is allowed to enter your bedroom or studio without your express permission, and we guarantee there will be one guy who will joke about this part of the acceptance letter, putting “express permission” in air quotes as he enters your bedroom. There is one full bathroom on the property and a second half-bath four miles down the hiking trail, at the one-plex cinema. Daily lunch with your fellow artists is mandatory, like in high school and prison.

Please sign and return this form to us immediately to guarantee your spot. If for some odd reason you can no longer commit to the residency dates you selected eleven-and-a-half months ago, you will forfeit your space and will not be eligible to apply again for five years, by which time you’ll likely have started a family or secured just enough income in middle management to think twice about taking a month off, but not enough to feel accomplished and/or proud of your decision to put art aside. Carpe diem!

Once we receive your signed form, it will take us no less than nine weeks and a minimum of four reminder emails to send you via carrier pigeon an informational packet in a Mead, extra-heavy manila envelope like the one your grandfather kept his photo negatives in. Enclosed in the packet you will find directions to our utopia and a list of services in the local area, including Bill’s antique-pump, full-serve fueling station, and Annie’s coffee shoppe, where cappuccinos and cold brew are rumored to be coming soon. Upon receipt of the packet, please sign the “house rules” document, paying particular attention to rules 1, 4, and 11, re weapons, ridicule of any found artists with whom you may be in residency, and Tweeting about cabin fever or the groundskeeper’s sartorial quirks. Deposit it in the pigeon’s beak and release him skyward.

We hope you grasp what an honor it is to be among the 3% of applicants selected for this antiquated fundraising-in-disguise opportunity. We expect you to engage deeply with your art while in residence and to have a complete and utter meltdown when you return to your normal life. Many residents report making wildly impulsive decisions post-residency, including breaking up with really solid and loving partners and quitting their perfectly decent jobs.
We can’t wait to greet you at orientation and then flee to our homes in the city before the eerie silence of blackest night descends!

You’re welcome,

The Selection Committee

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