Create in Tranquility

Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat in Laceyville, PA, offers visual artists, writers, composers, and instrumentalists a quiet country setting for two- to five-week residencies to focus on their creative endeavors. Spaces are available from mid-May to mid-September. Soaring Gardens has no fees, makes no demands, and there are no intrusions from the administration—only the studios, gardens, deer, other creatures, and time.

The residency is located in a farmhouse with an adjacent studio building and in a small nearby church. At any time, there are only a few artists in residence—usually three or four at the farmhouse and two at the church. Since residents share the living spaces, we encourage artists to apply as a group (a combination of artistic disciplines is fine), although applications from individuals are also welcome.

Residents need a car to get to Soaring Gardens and to use while they are in residence. There is no public transportation close by. Artists are expected to shop, cook, and clean up after themselves; a gardener maintains the grounds. As the purpose of the residency is to provide time for undisturbed work, no children, pets, or overnight visitors are permitted.

Studio (exterior)

(click on images for larger view)

<em>Farmhouse exterior - photo: Darlene Miller-Laning</em>
<em>Upper studio</em>
<em>Lower studio - photo: Fred Gutzeit</em>
STAY CONNECTED
FORMER RESIDENTS

Share Your Experience

Farmhouse and Studios

Studio (church), Jessica Dalrymple

(click on images for larger view)

<em>Church exterior</em>
<em>Ben Cowan ©2017</em>
<em>Fields near the Church</em>

On the twenty-three-acre property is a spacious farmhouse and studio building. The farmhouse has a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining area, and two living rooms on the main floor and three bedrooms, a study, and a bathroom upstairs. In the basement, there is a laundry room with a washer and dryer. Thirty feet from the house is a separate studio building with two 750-square-foot studios on separate levels. Depending on the nature of the residents’ work, the farmhouse can accommodate three artists. (If residents are willing to share the studio spaces, it can house as many as five.)

The farmhouse was built in 1850 by Frank Gay, who made his fortune in the California gold rush. The farmhouse and studio are surrounded by extensive flower gardens, which inspired Ora Lerman to name her property “Soaring Gardens.” The central focus of the garden is a “grand allée,” modeled after Monet’s garden in Giverny, where, supported by a grant from Reader’s Digest, Lerman was a resident in 1989. Nearby is a decorative pond. From the house and studios you can see the northern end of the Appalachian Mountains, which are one hour’s drive away.

Church / Studio

A ten-minute drive from the farmhouse is the church, which dates from 1910, and has been remodeled into comfortable living and working spaces. Downstairs are the kitchen, bathroom, one bedroom with twin beds, and living room. The upstairs is divided into two spaces: one is 14 x 28 feet and the other is 14 x 26 feet, both with high ceilings. They can be used as either working or living spaces, whichever suits the residents. The church works best for two artists who are comfortable sharing the space together.

The church sits on a tiny plot of land surrounded by working farms, including one that raises goats. Some forty years ago it was converted into its current layout by the painters Cornelis Ruhtenberg and Jules Kirschenbaum, who gifted it to the Ora Lerman Charitable Trust in the fall of 2000.

Application

Eligibility, Deadline, and Procedure

Actively working visual artists, writers, instrumentalists, and composers with at least two years of professional experience since graduation may apply. Residencies are from two to five weeks, however preference is given to applicants requesting residencies of four to five weeks. (If scheduling permits, shorter residencies will be considered.) A limited number of $500 grants are available. If a grant will significantly affect your ability to attend, please fill out the Grants section on the application page. Grants will be awarded on the basis of need. Applying for a grant will not affect your eligibility for a residency.

Since residents share living spaces, artists are encouraged to apply as a group (a combination of artistic disciplines is fine), although each application is reviewed separately and the judges reserve the right to select or reject individual members. When you apply as a group, you may pursue individual projects, collaborative projects, and/or both.

Application period is January 1 – March 10.
All applications are online via Submittable.

All Applicants

Required submission materials:
• Online information form
• Project proposal
• Bio/curriculum vitae (in outline form)
• Name, email address and phone number for 2 references

Visual Artists

In addition to the four items listed under “All Applicants,” upload the following in this order:
• Image list, including the title, year, media, and dimensions for each work
• Ten examples of your work, corresponding to the image list, labeled as follows:
1. Your Name, 2. Title, 3. Media, 4. Dimensions
• Image files should be 72 dpi; make the long side 600 pixels
(acceptable formats: pdf, jpg, tif, gif)

Writers

In addition to the four items listed under “All Applicants,” submit:
• Up to 15 pages of material as a Word document (.docx)

Instrumentalists

In addition to the four items listed under “All Applicants,” submit:
• Four sound files
(acceptable formats: mp3, wav, aac, aif, flac, wma, mp4, avi, mov, mpg, flv, wmv)
• Repertoire list
• A list of recent performances

Composers

In addition to the four items listed under “All Applicants,” submit:
• Three audio files of your compositions
(each no more than 10 minutes—even if it is not the complete piece)
• The score of one of the pieces

Start the application process!

Be sure to use a password on the application form that you are comfortable sharing with your references.

Former Residents

Share Your Experience

2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000

Jessica Dalrymple

“I can’t think of how I would improve the experience, it was pretty much the most idyllic set up for an artist and particularly a landscape inspired painter, like myself. Quite honestly, I can’t imagine how it could be any better.” —Jessica Dalrymple

We invite all current and former residents to send us photos and a brief quote about their experience at Soaring Gardens for inclusion on our website and social media accounts.

“I had an incredible time at Soaring Gardens!!! It really was magical to spend so much undistracted time working and exploring a beautiful landscape. I was able to make over 30 paintings including this one.” —Ben Cowan

Ben Cowan, Soaring Gardens Church, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 16″ x 20″

“Thank you for the incredible experience we had at the residency in August. Last month was one of the most fruitful, inspiring, magical months of my life–we all made a lot of work, including several collaborations.” —Suzanne Stroebe

Studio exterior

2014
Anne Canfield
Diane Churchill
Katherine Cox
Diane Dwyer
Martha Ferguson
Michele Godwin
Leslie Hunter
Cassandra Jennings Hall
Janet Kusmierski
Thane Lund
Alice Momm
Sean Naftel
Gloria Patton
Andrei Petrov
Nan Ring

Dorothy Robinson
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Greg Singer
Emilie Staat
Eric Strauss
Suzanne Stroebe
Erin Treacy
Caroleen Vaughan

“I am preparing (reluctantly) to leave Soaring Gardens today, and I’m sending this entirely inadequate email to express my gratitude for this beautiful gift of a residency with my collaborative fellow artists, Martha and Alice. Words cannot express how deeply touched I am by my experience here…I was also very touched by the church setting, which is bucolic and peaceful, and offered so much in terms of my own creativity – the goats, the horses, the winding gravel roads, the endless horizon. It was all magical…it was a transformative experience being here. For me especially, I found my thinking deepened and my creative process grew in leaps and bounds over the few short weeks.” — Nan Ring

Church (downstairs) – photo: S. Dydo

“I can’t believe what a magical month it was, living and working at Soaring Gardens. Now that I am back in New York City, it seems like a beautiful dream. But I know it was real because I am home with tremendous work accomplished and a feeling of peace and renewal that is with me still.” —Susan Oetgen

Farmhouse and studio exterior – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

Taylor Johnson
Gary Leising
Lee Marchelonis
Gloria Patton
Antonia Perez
Cecilia Phillips
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Kim Tran

House (entry room) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“We also enjoyed meeting the resident at the church, Paul, and even arranged a reading one evening. The members of my writing group have already read the longest of the three essays I wrote this June, and several seconded the comment of one: “This essay has convinced me of the power of residencies.” I feel the compliment is yours.” — Alison Kendra Green

Studio (upstairs) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“My residency at Soaring Gardens was invaluable to my creativity, my body, and my soul. The four weeks spent there were like a year’s worth of experience and growth.” — Barbara Laube

House (living rooms) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

“I was fortunate enough to be awarded a three week residency at the Church. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I had never spent that much time in almost total isolation, just focusing on painting. My days quickly dissolved into what for awhile seemed like an endless continuum of creation, punctuated ever so slightly by a simple meal and sleep.” — John Adams

Farmhouse exterior – photo: S. Dydo

2008
Karina Hean
Heidi Marie van Leuven
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Heather Blain
Brendan Casey
Beth Caspar
Ane Crabtree
Diane Davis
Kristen Egan
Jesse English
Sari Fordham
Lorissa Gottschalk
Laura Iorio
Robert James

“The time I spent at the Church near Soaring Gardens was like a gift. While I was there, I deeply connected to spaces of quiet and solitude.” — Janell O’Rourke

Church exterior (rear porch) – photo: S. Dydo

2007
Trisha Adams
Tobi Balin Grossman
Katherine Ball
Claire Brassil
Georgiana Cray Bart
Nina Davidowitz
Marcy Dermansky
Rose DiSalvo
Jurgen Furth
Christien Gholson
Anne Heisey
Michaela Kahn
Alica Laputka
Kate McGraw
Leslie Mutchler

Alec Neal
Jennifer Palmer
Holly Peterson
Remington Restivo
Ann Tarantino
Jason Urban
Thomas Vance
Michael Wille
Kelly S. Williams

“The residency yielded not only a new body of work, but also lent clarity to our individual practices and revealed a model for thinking, making and working in an environment of mutual respect. During that time our separate art-making methods “indeed our identities” were fused into something new that has become a meditation on the act of exchange, artistic process, and conversation.” — Kate McGraw & Ann Tarantino

Church (downstairs) – photo: C. Johnson

2006
Diane Davis
Marcy Dermansky
Wendy Deschene
Johannes Deyoung
Jurgen Furth
Laura Haarmeyer
Barbara Kapalski Nichols
Simone Kiven
Carolyn Martin
Laura McGinley
Leslie Mutchler

Avri Ohana
Gloria Patton
Dorothy M Sedock
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Shane Stratton
Julia Stratton
Jason Urban
Natalie Westbrook-Deyoung
Eva Wylie
Judith Youschock

Behind the Church – photo: S. Dydo

Carolyn Martin
Jan Mollet
Barbara Nichols
Joanna Scari
Dorothy Sedock
Gail Shaw-Clemons
Kelly S. Williams
Courtney Wrenn
Judith Youshock

Church – photo: Ben Cowan

2004
Douglas Anderson
Arden Bendler Browning
Elizabeth Broadfoot
Katherine Brunza
Marcy Dermansky
Renee Emanuel
Jurgen Fauth
Richard Gabriele
Laura Ann Haarmeyer
Melissa Johnson

Barry Johnson
Barbara Kapalski-Nichols
Collen McCubbin Stepanic
John McKinnon
Don Muchow
Margaret Neill
Dorothy Sedock
Sarah Vollmann
Eva Wylie
Judy Youschock

House (upstairs study) – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

Erin Parish
Nedda Pourang
Victoria Skinner
Maria Spector
Dina Toledano
Christine M. Walsh
Kelly S. Williams

“Soaring Gardens was a magical environment, a place to wander, to dream. A place that allowed me to let the unexpected enter into my work.” — Walter Hnatysh

Allée behind the House – B. Moyer-Vinding

2002
Madeleine Beckman
Claire Brassil
Natalie Campbell
Elizabeth Cooper
Walter Hnatysh
Xylor Jane
Melissa Johnson
Winnie Lee
Bridget Lewis

Emily Miller
Gina Reynoso
Victoria Skinner
Kelly S. Williams

Studio (downstairs)

2001
Lisa Blanchette
Kim Casey
Alice Harrison
Walter Hnatysh
Julian Jackson
Rene Lynch

“The Church, with its open views of the rolling hills of Pennsylvania…was so compatible and seductive to working.” — Robert Zakanitch

Farmhouse exterior – photo: D. Miller-Lanning

2000
Lisa Abendroth
Angela Forster
Walter Hnatysh

Patrick Schmidt
Victoria Skinner
Michael Volker

Laceyville, Pennsylvania at night – photo: C. Johnson




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The Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat is listed with ArtDeadline.com and NYFA.org.