The Tending Space Fellowship Program for Artists was developed with the view that art has the capacity to infuse the experience of everyday life with awareness. The aim of the program is to nurture the creative practice of seeing things as they are, to cultivate that awareness, and to live and create from this insight. To accomplish this, we provide financial support for artists to experience the immersive, contemplative environment of a meditation retreat. Qualified applicants will be full-time artists—visual, performing artists, writers, and multi-disciplinary artists—whose professions directly relate to their artmaking practice.
Tending Space Fellowships are available for full-time artists with a sincere desire for the experiences of extended meditation practice to inform and influence their creative expression in the world. Up to 250 fellowships will be awarded annually on a first-come first-served basis.
Fellows will be provided with financial support to attend one meditation retreat per year at one of our partner retreat centers (see below for a list of our partner centers). Applicants will apply directly to the center holding the retreat they would like to attend. Artists who have never attended a residential meditation retreat longer than a weekend will be provided with 100% funding for the retreat of their choice. Artists who have attended at least one meditation retreat longer than a weekend will be offered 50% funding, with need-based support available beyond that. The program is open to domestic and international applicants, as well as groups of artists.
It is our intent that these fellowships will serve as the foundation of an ever-expanding network and community of artists committed to exploring the intersection of contemplative practice and artistic creation. You can start connecting with such peers now at our online community forum.
There is no single application deadline; instead, prospective fellows should apply directly to the retreat center they are interested in attending for the particular retreat they would like to attend. Certain retreats at each center are eligible for fellowship funding. Please carefully review the fellowship application details and other information on the retreat center's website so that you have a clear idea of what is involved in applying for a fellowship for the retreat you select. We strongly recommend applying early, while there are still fellowships available at the center you're interested in.
To learn more about the CFE program and apply for a fellowship at the following centers and communities, please follow the links below.
We partner with the following retreat centers for Tending Space Fellowships. Please check with individual retreat centers for availability:
- Against the Stream Buddhist Meditation Society, California and New York
- Copper Beech Institute, West Hartford, CT
- Dharma Drum Retreat Center, Pine Bush, NY
- Dharma Ocean, Crestone, CO
- Garrison Institute, Garrison, NY
- Insight Meditation Society, Barre, MA
- Karme Choling Retreat Center, Barnet, VT
- New York Zen Center for Contemplative Care, New York, NY
We believe that art has the capacity to genuinely help our world, to instill it with sanity, awareness, joy, and beauty. This does not mean that art has to look a certain way or achieve a standard aesthetic or tone, nor is it an endorsement of a “love and light” approach to art. It does mean that art needs to be tethered to truth, according to the logic of the process undertaken or the piece being created.
How does one cultivate this tether to truth? Our inspiration has been through slowing down, making friends with oneself through meditation and contemplation, spending the time to develop one's craft, know one’s materials, and fine-tune the senses as tools for communication. Most of all, we are interested in supporting artists in genuinely finding their way.
The Tending Space Fellowship program was launched in 2014. Twelve fellowships were awarded in each of the first two years. Over a six-month period, fellows met regularly one-on-one with a meditation mentor and an arts mentor, and were supported in attending contemplative programs, art workshops, and an artist residency, all unique and appropriate to each individual. In the second year, we partnered with the Vermont Studio Center, where most of our fellows completed their residencies. The response to these fellowships has been amazing. We received nearly 300 applications in 2014, and nearly 600 applications in 2015. In 2016, to better meet the interest in these fellowships and serve more artists, and to focus in on an area of support uncommon in the art world, the Tending Space Fellowships shifted form to concentrate on contemplative practice. 2017 is the first year of the new iteration of Tending Space Fellowships.
Visit our online community forum to connect with other artists interested in contemplative practices.