Applications are now open for Spring 2016 Residencies at Playa

“My time at Playa ranks as one of the most productive and artistically rewarding periods of my life. 

Whatever happened to me on my walks, in my conversations with staff and fellow cohorts, in my daily exposure to the natural world and its elements—it has led to a complete and utter rediscovery of how I write, why I write, and help me tap back into a creative force as a playwright that I haven’t felt in 10 years.”  Kevin Doyle (2014)

Applications are now open for Spring 2016 Residencies.

Deadline is September 1, 2015



PLAYA’s Spring 2016 Residency Application period will open soon. The application deadline is September 1, 2015. 

The Spring 2016 residency season will run from January to June 2016 (exact dates to be determined soon). All residency sessions will begin on a Monday and end on a Friday. Applicants may choose between periods of 2 week, 4 week, 6 week, or 8 week sessions. If you have questions regarding Playa’s residencies, or the application process, email us at

To apply, please read the following guidelines, then go to and follow the instructions.

On the edge of the Great Basin, PLAYA offers creative individuals the space, the solitude and the community 
to reflect and to engage their work through its residency program. PLAYA supports innovative thinking through work in the arts, literature, natural sciences and other fields of creative inquiry and encourages dialogue between disciplines to 
bring positive change to the environment and the world. 


Playa’s residencies are open to scientists, visual artists, writers, performing artists, naturalists, and individuals engaged in interdisciplinary work or other forms of creative research. Playa welcomes a range of applicants–from emerging artists of promise to professionals with an established history of accomplishment. However, applicants must exhibit a recent history of focused work within the discipline they are applying. In addition they must address, in the application, their ability to thrive in a remote, isolated community and be self-directed in their work. All residents’ work must be compatible with Playa’s available studio spaces, facilities, and resources, and with Playa’s rural setting and community (see policy below). Age, ethnicity, gender, or religious affiliation is not considered when reviewing applications for residencies.


A rotating panel of artists, writers, scientists and other professionals review proposals and recommend applicants for residencies. Applicants are assessed and admitted based on their demonstrated commitment to their work, and to what degree their creative process and work will benefit from the uninterrupted time and independent living environment that a residency at Playa provides. Final awards of residencies are at the discretion of Playa.

Application Deadlines

September 1, 2015 is the application deadline for Spring 2016 Residency awards. Award notifications will be made by October, 2015. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Completed applications and supporting materials must be submitted online at does not accept  Residency Applications by email, regular mail, or fax.

Annually, we have two rotating application deadlines:

  • March 1 – for residencies occuring in the Fall (August – December) of that year.
  • September 1 – for residencies occurring in the Spring (January – June) of the following year.

There are no fees charged for a Playa Residency. However, your application must be accompanied by a $35.00 non-refundable processing fee ($70.00 if applying as a collaborative team of two or more) . If accepted each resident (including each member of a collaborative team) is asked to submit a $100.00 deposit, which is refunded following the completion of a residency and is not refundable if a residency is cancelled.

As a nonprofit organization, Playa relies on donations and encourages those who have the ability to contribute to do so. You may donate online through the website, mail in a donation, or choose to donate your $100.00 deposit.

Session Schedule

All regular residency sessions (excluding special Invitational Residencies) begin on a Monday and end on a Friday. Applicants may choose between 2 week, 4 week, 6 week or 8 week periods. Competition for residency periods varies due to season and the number of applications received. While every effort is made to accommodate applicants’ schedule requests, we are not always able to grant your choices. Please indicate flexibility and restrictions on your application.

Facilities and Lodging

Each resident is provided housing with a kitchen, and a place to work–either a studio or a desk area in their cabin. Except for twice a week group dinners, all meals and provisions are the responsibility of the artist. Living, work, and studio spaces have standard utilities, abundant natural light, open vistas in an expansive landscape, and are free of telephone, television, and Internet. The Commons building has a commercial kitchen, a space for yoga or dancing, a ping-pong table, and a loft work area with a projection screen.

“Artists need expansive thoughts. Playa’s landscapes, spirit and mission stretched me in unparalleled ways–beyond other wonderful fellowships. 
I am a poet who delved into neuroscience during my too-short Playa stay.”
–Catharine Woodard


If applying as a collaborative team, please have one person listed as the main applicant. As a collaborative team you MUST include the following in your statement of project: group name (if applicable), a list of all participating members, and your specific needs for lodging and workspace. In addition, each member must supply an individual resume as part of the group application.


Couples may apply individually for concurrent residencies, with the understanding that one applicant might be accepted and the other not. Every artist accepted for a residency will be offered a private studio unless applying as a collaborative team. If requesting accommodations as a couple, each applicant must state this explicitly on their application.

Work Sample Requirements

All Disciplines

Current work is requested. The nature of the work sample submitted should correspond to the nature of the work you propose to do while in residence. An applicant’s work sample is the most significant feature of the application. Unless work is interdisciplinary, each applicant is encouraged to apply in a primary creative discipline and submit a work sample and statement of project which emphasizes this single discipline.

Visual Art

Provide 10-15 images in JPEG format along with a document that contains your name, and lists the JPEG filename, title, medium, size and year of completion for each image. JPEG files should be at least 800×600 pixels and formatted to 72dpi. NO TIFF OR PSD FILES ACCEPTED. Each filename must be numbered and correspond to the accompanying work-sample description document.


Your writing sample should be representative of the genre in which you plan to work while in residence. Provide one document that contains a sample as follows:

  • Fiction: 20 pages of a novel excerpt, a story, or short stories.
  • Poetry: 10 pages of poetry.
  • Nonfiction: 20 pages of nonfiction.
  • Playwriting: one complete play.
  • Screen writing: one complete screenplay.

Include in this document a cover page that contains the applicant’s name, and lists the title and date of completion for each sample.


Provide three separate works of 10 – 15 minutes each in audio or video format along with one document that lists the filename, title, and year of completion for each work, and that clearly summarizes the applicant’s role on the work. Film/video scriptwriters should also send a script.

Scientist/Naturalist/Creative Research

Provide one document that contains up to 10 pages of abstracts, excerpts, links to publications or short papers that are representative of your work. Include in this document a cover page that contains your name, lists the title and date of completion for each work, and a description of your area of research.


If your project does not fall clearly within one of the above disciplines, please send an email to the Residency Manager at to discuss an appropriate work sample.

About the process

I know there is a bit of confusion, mystery or even skepticism surrounding the application/selection process. Who makes these choices? Why didn’t they see the value of MY project? Are only established artists chosen? I will attempt to clarify what really goes on for those of you who are curious about the decision making process at PLAYA.

  1. Applicants, whether individuals or collaborative teams, submit materials online through Submittable, an online platform that allows a panel of professionals (from different locations across the country) access to multiple applicant’s work samples, resumes, project statements and other support materials.
  2. The panel (whose membership rotates every two years) is made up of diverse professionals in a variety of fields and each applicant is reviewed by multiple members. It’s a difficult but incredibly rewarding process. The selection panel has to examine large numbers of work samples consisting of portfolios (of approximately 10 images each) and/or manuscripts and videos, as well as reading through in depth artist statements, explore an applicant’s history of accomplishments on resumes, and….read project proposals which contain each applicant’s aspirations of how time at Playa might influence their work or lives.
  3. A scoring rubric is used (although nothing is ideal) which helps when considering an applicant’s previous work, the project proposal, the benefits a residency at Playa might provide and more.
  4. Once these applications are scored independently, recommendations made and forwarded to me, I tally all votes and compile a prioritized list. I then begin the task of assigning individuals into living spaces and additional studios, within the spring calendar considering their first choices for dates, length of stay and studio requirements. So there is a great deal of unforeseen “chance” built into the process in regards to number and quality of applicant pool, studio needs, and availability.
  5. Then the notifications begin. Meanwhile things have come up in real life for many of these applicants and occasionally some have to decline or shift dates, and then we move on down the list, which is why everyone doesn’t hear the results at the same time.

I hope this alleviates at least a little of the anxiety for applicants around this process. The process is not perfect, but we do the best we can. It’s PLAYA’s mission to support a variety of creative research, not discourage it. We understand that it can be very hard to take anything that might seem like rejection lightly. But sometimes, considering all aspects of the process might shed light on the reasons an applicant wasn’t selected at this time… competition could be very stiff (very strong applicant pool), or you might need a little practice in articulating what you hope to achieve, or maybe just a little more experience in your art practice…. or maybe you requested the most popular time period…but don’t give up.

NEW Policy affecting residents of Playa:

Following is information regarding Playa’s policy for site specific artworks, installations or other processes on the grounds that might affect the environment, habitats or other species. If your work at PLAYA includes any processes that may result in changes (immediate or long-term) to the visual, physical or aesthetic environment of PLAYA, you must first receive prior approval from the Executive Director. Activities include, but are not limited to relocating earth (rocks, sand or other), cutting or removal of plants, and/or using technology that might adversely affect biotic species (or the tranquility of the Playa experience).


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