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Desert Companion

Arts: Retreat!


Ikes Canyon
Photography by Wayne T Wilson

Ike's Canyon

Want to finally write that novel or paint that masterpiece?  A retreat is the getaway for getting it done

I’ve been working on a sequel to my second book for over five years. I have tons of the usual excuses why it isn’t finished yet — my job, the internet, television, the rabbit holes of social media, and yes, friends and family. Whether you’re a creative who’s incredibly busy or (like me) just easily distracted, an artist’s or writer’s retreat may be the ticket. These retreats, residencies, and rentals have different requirements and different areas of focus, but they all offer two things: plenty of inspiring solitude and great scenery for soaking it in. Most application windows open between now and December; check websites for details.


Ike’s Canyon (pictured) Year-round, 30 miles off-pavement, open-stay writers’ retreat in the middle of the Monitor Valley between Tonopah and Fallon, about 50 miles from the (almost) ghost town of Austin. I loved the journey getting to Ike’s almost as much as the retreat itself. Accommodates one to four writers at a time. Hosted by writer Robin McClean and mapmaker and former balloonist Jerry Elkins. Amazing, restorative water. Cool goat. Incredible views. Info:

Support comes from

Neon Museum Yes, our very own Neon Museum has an eight-week, multidisciplinary single artist residency each summer. It includes use of a 1,000 square-foot studio, lodging Downtown, plus a $3,000 stipend. The 2020 summer residency is open for applications in early December. Info:

Goldwell The Goldwell Open Air Museum/Red Barn Art Center in Rhyolite is a spooky, fun sculpture park and open-air museum with an RV pad next to the art center that artists can rent by the week. Info: '; // --> ">

Rogers Art Loft Residency Year-round, four- to eight-week artist residencies at the Rogers Art Loft with lodging at the nearby Lucy in Downtown Las Vegas. Studio, lodging, monthly stipend, travel allowance, and per diem provided. Open to both national and international artists. Highly competitive. Info:

Mystery Ranch Project Invitation only, multidisciplinary, collaborative residencies on a historic, 60-acre ranch outside Searchlight. In association with United Catalysts and UNLV MFA artists Steve Radosevich and Kim Garrison. Info:



Djerassi Multidisciplinary, four- to five-week residencies that run from mid-March to mid-November; Djerassi overlooks the Pacific Ocean from its 583-acre ranch in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Hosts up to 12 artists per month, with a focus on diversity and collaboration. Although there were some 1,100 applicants (!) for 2020 residencies, more than 70 applicants are accepted each year. Info:

SETI AIR SETI, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute in Mountain View, has a residency program for artists whose work intersects with the scientific interests of SETI, including electronic music, theater, dance, and digital arts. Previous work by SETI AIR artists is on exhibit at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno. Info:

Writing Between The Vines  Writers, including screenwriters and poets, can apply for three-day to one-month residencies at various Sonoma wineries. Applications for 2020 are closed, but email to get on a wait list.

18th Street Project For visual or performing artists only. One- to three-month artist residencies in live-in studios either paid for by the artist, or with grant money. Eighteen blocks from the ocean in Santa Monica. Info:


Farther afield

Art & Soul (New Mexico) Two- to four-week residencies from January to May for artists or writers. Located two hours south of Albuquerque with private, indoor mineral baths. Limited to five artists per residency. Info:

Surel’s Place (Idaho) Free, private lodging for one-month, single residency for artists, writers, musicians, or dancers. Located in the center of the Boise arts district. Small stipend offered for those willing to teach a class at a local school. Info:

Jentel Artist Residency (Wyoming) Four-week residencies with lodging, studio space and a $400 stipend for food. Up to five artists accepted per month on a cattle ranch 20 miles southeast of Sheridan. Info:


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