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Residency Program Guidelines

The Lanesboro Early Career Artist Residency Program offers two or four week residencies to early career artists driven to explore ways in which their work can be applied to the community and how Lanesboro’s rural community can inform their work. The Lanesboro Early Career Artist Residency Program, located in Lanesboro, MN (pop. 754), is supported by the Jerome Foundation and aims to provide an immersive, meaningful experience for early career artists from Minnesota and the five boroughs of New York City. The program is unique in that it provides an entire rural community and its myriad assets as a catalytic vehicle for engagement and artistic experimentation, with staff working with each resident to create a fully-customized residency experience.

Lanesboro Arts’ goal is to be flexible and accommodating to artists, allowing them access to local resources needed for conceptualizing and realizing their place-based work. Lanesboro Arts recognizes “place-based work” as work that is specifically inspired by and designed for the place in which the work takes place; it can be a new project, or an interpretation of the artist’s current work tailored to engage the community of Lanesboro. The residency program was designed to align with and amplify Lanesboro Arts’ vision for communities–especially rural communities–to embrace artists as economic drivers, culture bearers, community builders, and problem solvers.


The Round One application deadline for the 2025 Lanesboro Early Career Artist Residency Program was Friday, May 31, 2024 at 11:59 p.m. CST. The application opened on April 18th, 2024.

New in 2024, Lanesboro Arts is implementing a two-round application process for the Early Career Artist Residency Program, in response to feedback from artists. The two-step application process is meant to alleviate some of the time-consuming nature of applications. 

Round One of the application process asks for basic information about the artist, their demographics, and a bit about the proposed project. Round One applications are open to all and were due May 31, 2024 at 11:59 pm.

Applications were then reviewed by Lanesboro Arts staff for alignment and best fit with program mission and goals. Following review, applicants were notified of their application status on June 11th, 2024. A smaller pool of selected applicants were then be invited to apply for Round Two, which includes more detail about the artist and their proposed community project. Round Two applications are due August 2nd, 2024 at 11:59 pm and are reviewed by a diverse jury of artists from around the state of Minnesota.

To see the list of 2023 Artists in residence, as well as a list of all past artists in residence, visit our Artist Residencies Page.

Artists must be legal residents of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City to be eligible to apply. To be considered, eligible artists must submit their application through the online webform on Lanesboro Arts website. Complete program details are below. If you have questions or feedback, please reach out to Program Director Melissa Wray at 507-467-2446 or


Lanesboro Arts is a non-profit, multidisciplinary arts organization working to weave the arts into the social and municipal fabric of Lanesboro, MN. Lanesboro Arts works closely with local government and cross-sector partners to activate the people and places of Lanesboro, making Lanesboro a national model for revitalizing and sustaining a small town. Lanesboro Arts has been recognized by ArtPlace America, Americans for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Arts; and in 2014 Lanesboro Arts was a recipient of a Bush Prize for Community Innovation.


Lanesboro is a small town in southeast Minnesota’s driftless region. Its picturesque downtown is located in a serene valley surrounded by limestone bluffs and the Root River, with forest and farmlands stretching beyond the city limits and throughout the region. Lanesboro’s downtown hosts dynamic local businesses and restaurants in historic buildings, with the Root River State Trail running on the diagonal through town.

Lanesboro was recognized as one of “America’s Top 12 Small Town Art Places” in 2013 by Artplace America, a list composed of small, single-town zip codes in non-metropolitan areas with the highest per capita numbers of arts related non-profits, arts-oriented businesses and workers in creative occupations in the United States. In 2014, Smithsonian Magazine named Lanesboro “One of the Top 20 Small Towns to Visit in America.” A 2018 editorial in the Rochester Post-Bulletin proclaimed that Lanesboro is “a living lab for arts strategies.”

For decades, artists have been drawn to Lanesboro for its natural landscape, historic buildings, and vibrant community of residents. Lanesboro is located approximately 2.5 hours southeast of the Twin Cities metropolitan area and 45 minutes southeast of Rochester, MN. For more, visit


  • is informed by place and community
  • is centered in public engagement; that is, the public’s interaction with the work is a core part of the process and the product
  • instigates positive change, addresses or creates an opportunity to move the community forward or is otherwise be central to problem-solving
  • is accessible to people with diverse backgrounds
  • is inherently innovative and visionary
  • expands the genre, form or social boundaries/audience for the discipline or field in which the work is a part of
  • has a track record of success, and shows significant potential for growth


Lanesboro Arts defines early career artists as individuals with at least a 2-year track record of creating and presenting their own projects (i.e., not first-time creators of new work or beginning artists) and with no more than 10 years of such experience. Lanesboro Arts does not consider time spent in degree-granting programs (or other breaks such as for caregiving) as part of the period defining 2-10 years of eligible practice.

Each applicant’s resume will be thoughtfully reviewed by the panelists, who will consider the significance, scope, geography, and timing of artists’ previous exhibitions, critical reviews, commissions, performances, grant awards, residencies, fellowships, publications, and productions.

Degree-seeking students at the time of application, or during the grant period, are not eligible for the residency (including K-12, college, graduate or post graduate studies). Age is not a factor in determining an early career artist.


  • Artists of all disciplines are eligible and encouraged to apply.
  • Artists must be legal residents of Minnesota or one of the five boroughs of New York City and have been residents for at least one year prior to the submission of an application.
  • Artists are paid $1,250/week and are provided studio and lodging space.
  • Lanesboro Arts does not cover material or transportation costs; these expenses should be factored into the $1,250/week stipend.
  • Artist groups are eligible to apply, but the weekly stipend is the same and must then be split amongst the collective.
  • Lanesboro Arts will work with each individual artist to customize their residency, aligning resources and connections to make their time in Lanesboro as fruitful as possible.
  • Artists must submit their application through the online webform on Lanesboro Arts website.
  • Artists are eligible to apply for 2 or 4 week residencies, and residency dates can be flexible (and split between two visits if that best suits your practice).
  • Lanesboro Early Career Artist Residencies can be scheduled any time in 2023 except for June. Residencies scheduled in April or August are generally preferred and would be most optimal, however Lanesboro Arts staff is interested in considering proposals with flexible and dynamic artists throughout the year as it coincides with the rest of the Lanesboro Arts calendar. Residencies generally begin around the 1st or 16th of each month and end on the 15th or last day of each month for periods of 2 or 4 weeks. If selected for a residency, Lanesboro Arts staff will work with you to determine the exact dates best for all parties.
  • Artists are required to list their top three choices of dates for their residency. If selected for a residency, Lanesboro Arts staff will work with you to determine the exact dates best for all parties.
  • The primary goal of eligible artists must be to generate new works, as opposed to remounting or re-interpreting existing works


Residencies generally include some sort of welcome gathering and discussion that often includes food, or is a potluck, in order to acclimate the artist and community members to one another. The welcome event, coupled with work done in advance to introduce the artist to community members and key stakeholders, propels authentic and meaningful interactions between the two parties over the course of the next few days as the artist gets settled and begins the work of art making.

Regardless of whether the residency is 2 or 4 weeks, the next portion of the residency is generally focused on studio time and community engagement. Ideally, scheduled events are balanced so that a mix of intentional and small-scale events, informal and formal events, and events larger in scope and open to the general public take place. Depending on the artist, outreach could engage community members in the topics and issues raised by or inspired by their project, the process of art making, or both.

A capstone event is planned toward the end of an artist’s residency that allows participants and the artist to reflect on the residency itself and showcase the new work completed, undertaken or developed during the residency.


  • St. Mane Theatre, a 113-seat Art Deco theater located in the heart of downtown
  • Poetry Parking Lot, a large municipal parking lot with haiku hung throughout the space
  • Gateway Park, a public green space adjacent to the Root River and connected to downtown via a 1893 walking bridge
  • historic downtown storefronts, alleyways, building walls and open spaces
  • local farms, farmers, and farmer’s markets
  • The Root River State Bike Trail
  • community partnerships with local businesses, the Lanesboro Park Board, the Lanesboro Museum, residents, schools, libraries, community organizations, and more

Artists do not need to secure community partners or stakeholders when putting together their application. That said, research done beforehand about the Lanesboro community and surrounding area can only strengthen a project proposal. The role of Lanesboro Arts staff for selected artist residents is that of translator and facilitator. We work with artists to make the needed connections and secure the required resources in order to make selected residency program projects a success.

*The use of all community resources and assets are subject to approval from property owners and the Lanesboro City Council, as facilitated with each artist by Lanesboro Arts staff. Lanesboro Arts has a positive, collaborative relationship with these entities and will work with each resident to find the best venue for all parties.


Artistic outcomes for the program are varied and driven by the selected artists themselves and their individual project’s goals. Artists benefit directly from the immersive experience of creatively engaging and collaborating with Lanesboro’s close-knit rural community, as well as from the dedicated space and time to focus solely on their artistic practice. For Lanesboro Arts, the creative process itself is just as important, if not more so, than the final product, capstone or deliverable.

The organization strives to provide artists with a dynamic and compelling array of community assets while seeking out projects where the activation of the people and places of Lanesboro are at the core of the artistic process.

Whether formal or informal, Lanesboro Arts requires a capstone event toward the end of the residency that best fits the needs and goals of the artist and their project, while presenting the new work that has been created. Examples have included a performance or reading in the St. Mane Theatre with community workshop participants and a presentation or installation of artwork, followed by a reception, in a public community space.


  • Flexible and exclusive studio space with an industrial sink, padded folding chairs, 3 folding tables, stools, and plenty of natural light.
  • A kitchenette within the studio space complete with dishes, cooking utensils, microwave, stovetop, refrigerator, teapot, coffee maker, etc.
  • Private bathroom with shower, toilet, vanity/sink, towels, etc.
  • Private bedroom that includes a queen bed with pillows & bedding, desk, lamp, comfy rocking chair, hangers and closet.


A panel of four artists / arts professionals will review all Round Two applications to select 6-8 finalists by the end of September 2024. These finalists will be asked to participate in a phone interview with Lanesboro Arts staff in late September/early October to discuss dates of availability, further questions about the proposed project, and how the artist and the project would fit within the community. Staff will call references of these finalists, to discuss the artist’s character traits of responsibility and reliability, and their ability to carry through on the proposed project. Lanesboro Arts staff will offer the residency to 2-3 artists and notify runners up by mid October, 2024. Sorry, at this time we are unable to guarantee that review panel feedback will be provided to applicants.


May 31, 2024, 11:59 pm: Deadline for General Application Round 1
June 3 – 7, 2024: Lanesboro Arts Staff Review Round 1 Applications & Select Round 2 Applicant Invitees
June 11, 2024: Status Update / Round 2 Application Opens by Invite
August 2, 2024, 11:59 pm: Deadline for Round 2 Applications
August 5 – Sept 22, 2024: Jury reviews Round 2 Applications
September 23, 2024: Jury has selected finalists. All artists are notified of the status of their application.
September 23 – October 11, 2024: Staff conducts phone interviews with finalists.
October 11, 2024: Notification has been sent to selected 2024 Artist Residents and the runners-up.


Artistic Excellence

  1. Original voice, innovation, vision, imagination, unique/groundbreaking
  2. Project shows significant artistic development / Risk and opportunity for artistic excellence
  3. Artistically consistent body of work

Project Merit

  1. Ability to integrate art into community / Value of project to the community / Project is a good fit for the community
  2. Value of proposed project to artist’s career / Potential for artistic growth as an early career artist
  3. Feasibility of project / Ability to accomplish project in required time


The Jerome Foundation, created by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), seeks to contribute to a dynamic and evolving culture by supporting the creation, development, and production of new works by early career artists. The Foundation makes grants to not-for-profit arts organizations and artists in Minnesota and New York City. The Jerome Foundation is generously providing support for the Lanesboro Artist Residency Program through 2026.


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