Challenge yourself

“Remember, creativity is like a compass, each one has its own, and each one points to a different North.”

— Efrat Cybulkiewicz
Kala Art Fellowship Award

Kala Art Institute, Berkeley, CA (6 months)

After sending out a dozen applications or so, I got a yes! Not only did I get a yes, but it was from one of the most prestigious art residencies in the United States! Having graduated college only 5 months ago, I am proud to be one of the six Kala Fellowship Award recipients. This includes a generous stipend, free printmaking classes, access to a private studio and stunning print studio. This residency is six months so I have time to settle into the Bay Area, calling this place home and making art nearly every day.


Having recently wrapped up my previous residency, I slide right into my next residency with ease. Since this program starts right after my other residency, I have not needed to worry about housing. In fact, if I am able to stack residencies back-to-back, I will be able to continue exploring the world at little to no cost. By attending multiple residencies, I do not have to rent my own studio or apartment, moving to new locations without concern. I am liberated to know that getting into a residency right after college is possible. I am also amazed by the opportunity to form a supportive creative community and prioritize art making.

I sublet a room in Oakland which is covered by my stipend award. Each day, I make a short drive to my studio at Kala Art Institute just down the road in Berkeley. The lifestyle is different here—it’s like the entire city prioritized health and sustainability. I compost everything, develop an unavoidable healthy diet, discover a love for yoga, and a deep curiosity for printmaking. Residency travel is shows me that we really are products of our environment, adapting to new habits and lifestyle changes wherever we go. Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco are beaming with life. Areas that are entirely new to me, especially in terms of the arts community and creative interests. Since this residency is for six months, I have time to learn about this new place and new people.


The caliber of artists working at Kala Art Institute is high. Professional artists from far-and-wide travel to make work at the Kala Art Institute, gaining access to presses, facilities, and Kala Gallery which is one of a kind. During my residency, I picked up an internship at the Kala Gallery to learn more about archival practices and art sales. The staff at Kala were tremendously helpful, inspiring, and provided mentorship and companionship that I looked for. Since this residency lasted for six months, it was valuable to connect with staff and community in a deeper way. I assisted with event planning, installation, packing and shipping artworks, and leading installation of Kala’s booth at Art Market, San Francisco.

This residency provided enough time to be ambitious. I wanted to see what I could do and make when studio space is available and time is abundant. My goal for this residency was to make work and challenge myself. What can I do without any instruction? What does free-style art making look like? How big can I work? What can I do with printmaking? At Kala, I ended up participating in three exhibitions, creating the largest artwork I had ever made, learned screen printing and how to print on alternative materials digitally, and got involved in my first art fair.


Days were spent covered in paint, listening to Bassnectar on full blast when everyone had left for home. I stacked on late nights not being concerned with time, but rather, driven by my flow state. It was a remarkable, almost dream-like experience to get lost in my head, my materials, and my movements. I was able to surrender completely to the act of making. I was highly prolific during this residency which provided a collection of new works to include in new applications for other residencies.


And it worked.

After presenting my final artist talk, donating a print to the Kala Collection, and displaying my artwork in a group show at Kala Gallery, I received an acceptance letter to another art residency. This one was only a short drive where I was based. My next residency was to be in Sausalito, CA at the ICB Art Complex for one month. With newfound Bay Area friends and mentors, I packed up my studio at Kala and ventured north!