Contemporary Artist Center at Woodside


Location: Troy, New York

Mission: The Contemporary Artists Center is a non-profit art organization founded in 1990 in the culturally rich Berkshires of Massachusetts. With the recent acquisition of the historic Woodside Church and Chapel, we have expanded across the border to New York state. The CAC focuses on emerging contemporary artists. Through its… Artists’ residencies, Art studios, Workshops, Lectures, Exhibitions, Performances …the CAC promotes the creation & appreciation of contemporary art.

We seek artists who want to produce, explore, test new concepts and expand the current debates and ideas in today’s art and culture.

Cost: Residency fees are a flat rate of $290/ week or $1150/mo. and include accommodation and access to all the CAC facilities and events. All returning artists receive a 15% discount on residencies. The CAC provides awards to approximately 95% of Residents.

Application Fee: $25.00

Number of Artists: information unavailable

Accommodations: Our residency program features high-ceiling, adaptable studio space open 24 hours a day with some specialized facilities, weekly discussions and optional art outings, inclusion in annual exhibition, and free access to all CAC events. The living area is a shared space and includes lofted bedrooms, living room / library, dining room, and kitchen & bath.

Length of Stay: 1 – 6 months

Demographic: Emerging visual artists

Medium: 2-D, 3-D, 4-D, and concept

Benefits: Accommodation and access to all the CAC facilities and events, artists’ residencies, art studios, workshops, lectures, exhibitions, performances

Deadline: Nov 1 – Winter (for residency beginning between: Jan 1 and March 30), Feb 1 – Spring *Extended to Feb 15 (for residency beginning between: April 1 and June 30), May 1 – Summer (for residency beginning between: July 1 and September 30), Aug 1 – Fall (for residency beginning between: Oct 1 and December 31)

note: Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Apply early for best consideration. However, applicants are encouraged to apply even if the priority deadlines are passed, in the event that the dates requested and/or funding may still be available. As a general rule summer residencies fill much faster than other seasons.


IMG_8800Maeve D’Arcy’s Studio @ CAC Woodside | (c) 2014 Katrina Neumann

6 thoughts on “Contemporary Artist Center at Woodside

  1. For anyone like me who couldn’t find much info online about this residency:

    I just finished the residency this June, and I liked it a lot.

    The studio work environment is respectful and quiet. The studios were large, and could be made semi private using curtains and temporary walls. They’re all somewhere near 8′ x 10′ and lit with clip lights or fluorescent lights. Outside of artificial lighting the church is quite dark, as the stained glass windows let in about enough light to illuminate themselves.
    The bedrooms are pretty. Three of them are shared for two people. In two of those, a separated lofted space for the second bed makes both beds somewhat private. The last one is more dorm-style, with two beds on either side of the room. Some rooms are more private than others—most have doors, one doesn’t really.
    Between the ten of us, the residents during my stay were mostly around 30 years old. Several had gotten an MFA a few years back, a couple were college professors or adjunct.
    The director, Hezzie, seems to care for each of the residents. Hezzie does what she can to meet residents’ expectations and she warms up the place up with her extremely positive and generous personality.

    A couple drawbacks: running out of toilet paper and handsoap frequently, generally running late on scheduled events, residents arriving by surprise because their in-date got mixed up.
    Also, things from the website don’t always match up: one of the artists-in-residence planned on relying on the wood shop, but it did not exist. There was also no vegetable garden when I arrived, but by the time I left both garden and woodshop were in a state of becoming.
    Last gripe: before the residency it seems like you will have all your time to either work on art or do 5hr/wk (optional, for pay) work exchange. But, the provided weekly meal on Sundays was one we cooked ourselves, and there was kitchen duty and weekly chores. ~An extra hour or so of work per week.

    Back to the positive: It’s a beautiful building and the other artists were smart and helpful. It’s pretty much all I hoped for in terms of peaceful, inspiring time to work on art and little else. Overall really great, I would definitely go back!

    1. hey, i’m looking onto doiung this residency and had a couple of questions: what time of year did you spend there? and do you think it’s ok to go during winter?
      what type of support did the residency staff offer in relation to organizing a show of the work produced there? do thay work with any galleries, institutions, art spaces, or something like that?
      thank you!

  2. I just came back from this residency yesterday. I loved the program, the people I met, the conversations/critiques, and the time & space to do my work. The environment is serious as well as social; you make the residency what you wish it to be. The directors work very hard to make sure every resident has adequate equipment and what they need to make their work and feel comfortable all while being infectiously positive.

    Keep an eye out for upcoming open calls!

  3. I am currently finishing up my last week of a month long residency at the CAC Woodside in Troy, NY. My residency began at the beginning of February and this year was a particularly cold and snowy winter. I found the church to be adequately heated, though the dining room can be a little chilly. The radiators whistle and pop, which I found endearing. Also, there is nothing better than drying snowy wet clothes near a hot radiator and then putting on warm and toasty winter clothes. Shoveling snow was part of the work exchange. I never thought shoveling snow could be so much fun, but with 4 or 5 people throwing snow everywhere, making jokes and taking turns making coffee, it was a blast.
    Each week you participate in work exchange to defer the cost of your residency. The tasks range from moving furniture, painting, doing office work, but during my residency we were invited to a dance party/movie shoot for an artist in Cohoes at The Foundry and that counted as our work exchange.
    Every Friday there are chores, which definitely helps to keep the whole space neat and tidy. We all do them at the same time and you can sort of negotiate among yourselves the most efficient way to do work. They caretakers have come up with handy chore lists so you know what is expected. While chores and work exchange can take you out of your studio a few hours each week, it seems to help in motivating you to use your time wisely. I simply learned to adjust my studio routine around the work routine. There is a lot of flexibility and if you ask, you will be accommodated.
    The kitchen at CAC is adequately equipped, just conquer your fear of the big gas stove. There are plenty of plates, cups, pots and pans. There are some communal teas and spices and a cabinet of communal items left by past residents. You will get a cabinet with a bin to yourself and share a fridge with one or two other folks. There is plenty of room to cook and as people clean up after themselves the system seems to be working. There is composting now and well labeled recycling thanks to the caretakers. The caretakers have also made many handy infographics to help understand the workings of the CAC kitchen.
    The addition of Christian and Azure as caretakers has really made the experience pleasurable. They are very diligent about making sure everyone’s needs are met. I have never run out of hand soap or toilet paper. They keep the supplies stocked. They will help you hang lights, locate miscellaneous items like fans, cords, tools and work with you and the director to provide you with what you need to make your projects. They also stay up on what’s happening in and around Troy. So if you are looking for an outing, they know where the fun can be found.
    Residents tend to arrive on Sundays or Mondays and when a new person comes in, there is a communal dinner. While nothing is mandatory at CAC Woodside, you should oblige yourself to attend the communal dinners. With new people coming in and out all the time, the dinners ease the transitions and help everyone to get to know each other. The constant turnover can really shift the dynamic of the residency. If transitions are hard for you, this is something to consider. I found it exciting to get a new person in and watch them set up and work.
    This residency allows guests and also allows you to leave for days at a time. Every guest we had during my residency was a unique and I enjoyed them all. CAC Woodside can be very social, but when it is time for you to buckle down and work folks are very respectful your need for quiet/isolation and a simple “no interruptions” sign will work wonders. The key to a happy communal residency is being upfront and direct about your needs. Headphones are a must. The studios are open with movable walls, you can use curtains for additional privacy. In my experience, everyone was very respectful and I never worried about anyone going into my studio or my things.
    The residents here during my stay included American painters from Virginia, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts ranging from 22-33 years old and two dancers from Korea and Finland in their 20s. Some had MFA’s or were preparing for MFA’s. The quality of the work was high and I felt I was in good company. We all had a plethora of experience, but are still very much in the emerging stages of our careers.
    The residency is essentially self directed. While the director can help introduce you to people, it is largely up to you to get shows and to get your work out to the public. Again, if you want something specific, just ask.
    I can’t stress this enough… JUST ASK. Whatever it is, if you just ask it is highly likely you can be accommodated.
    My studio was a large double because the residency is a bit slow in the winter. Even if I had to squeeze into an 8×10 there is adequate room and public space to get your work done. You will be relying on artificial light. There are plenty of clamp lights and my studio had fluorescent lights as well (I am partial to fluorescent lights). You will enjoy the light streaming in from the stained glass windows. You will lose all concept of time of day, day of week and you will find you haven’t been outside in 2 or 3 days if you are not careful. The church sucks you in and holds your in state of art making.

    Now, for the downsides…
    Maybe you want to look out the window. That isn’t going to happen. No natural light inside.
    Sound travels.
    Sometimes things break, and can’t be fixed immediately.
    The roof may leak a little.
    You may not have the privacy you desire.
    Stairs. Stairs. Stairs…. did I mention STAIRS
    This residency is not handicapped accessible. In fact, if you are physically impaired in anyway, you will want to call them and chat about whether this is a good fit for you.

    I loved it. Don’t be deceived by Troy’s reputation. Troy is a vibrant, cool town with lots of neat shops, bars and coffee houses. There is a thriving art community here.

    In the winter don’t just sit indoors. Ice skating, you can go snowshoeing, there are attractions nearby like skiing and caverns, not to mention that the snowy northern winter is beautiful and turns Troy into a postcard.

  4. I stayed in CAC Woodside for two weeks last February, 2014. The building was quite chilly during the cold weather, but overall I had a positive experience: the cost is reasonable, the area offers plenty of hiking and exploration, the maintenance workload is light (although, in its lightness, it felt unnecessary given the residency’s cost) and the studios are spacious. I enjoyed the social atmosphere, with weekly dinners and regular nights drinking beer and watching movies. A few of my fellow residents had stayed for several months and were able to give good tips on the city.

    The main downside at CAC would be in the lighting. The residency’s work spaces are located in a converted church and all natural light passes through its old and rather artless stained glass windows, bathing the space from dawn till dusk in a cool toxic green. Luckily I was working in black and white, but the influence of this glow was source of endless frustration for the artists working in color.

    While the residency compound is still coming together, I was impressed with the director’s dedication to improvement. What construction they had already done was very sturdy and aesthetically pleasing, and the building itself appears to be in solid shape. I’m sure that the project will continue to improve in the coming years.

  5. I submitted my application and never heard from them again. I reached out politely a couple of times but got radio silence. When I checked their website recently the only active features were the donation buttons. Maybe they are on their last leg. I’ve received a number of rejections (who hasn’t?) from other organizations and most of them at least acknowledge the effort of the application. The best even offer feedback so you have an idea what to work on next time. This organization takes the money and runs.

Write a Review

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s