Djerassi Program offers residencies during the regular season, which run from mid-March through mid-November. Each year, 70+ writers, artists, composers, choreographers, filmmakers and scientists are awarded the gift of time and space: a one-month residency on our 583-acre ranch in Northern California’s Santa Cruz Mountains. All at no cost to the artists.
Djerassi Program is designed as a retreat experience to pursue personal creative work and share collegial interaction within a small community of artists. In this spirit residents are expected to commit themselves for the entire residency session they are awarded.
Our Program chef prepares communal dinners Monday through Friday, and provisions both kitchens. Residents prepare their own breakfasts, lunches, and weekend dinners using ingredients supplied by the Program. We offer vegetarian and gluten free meals, although we cannot guarantee a gluten free environment.
Duration of residency
There are 6 residency sessions each year: Five sessions are 4 weeks long and one (our session which includes an Open House/Open Studios event) is 5 weeks long. No shortened or partial residencies are offered.
Our simple and cozy facilities are located on a converted 1960s cattle ranch. Buildings are rustic and safe, and each room is unique, with accommodations ranging from barn lofts and studios, to live/work spaces in an authentic ranch home. Each guest is assigned a private studio, which includes a bed (linens and towels provided), workspace (differs depending on discipline), and access to a full bathroom which may be shared with one other person. Please bring any toiletries you will need including shampoo and body soap. Laundry facilities are available.
The weather here is changeable, coastal weather, so we recommend bringing layers. Temperatures over a month can range anywhere from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 32 degrees Celsius), so packing both cool and warm weather clothing is advisable. Fog and wind occur year round. The rainy season extends from October through May, but there are sunny days all through this period. It may be helpful to check out this weather forecast for a nearby town.
The property is located 40 miles south of San Francisco and 15 miles west of Palo Alto. The special quality of the residency experience centers around its genuine “retreat” atmosphere. There is no access to public transportation from the Ranch. Rides to town for errands are provided by the staff once a week. Transportation to and from the San Francisco International Airport is provided by the Program on the first day and last day of each session.
Disciplines, work equipment and assistance
Applicants should apply in the category that best represents their work. Applicants may apply to only one admissions panel, and in one genre, at a time. Applicants with concerns about choice of panel should contact the Residency Coordinator before submitting an application.
Literature: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, translation, and librettos
Visual Art: painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, mixed media and installation art
Music Composition: instrumental forms (symphonic, chamber music, band), vocal forms (opera, choral, songs), electronic music, and music for film.
Choreography: artists working in choreography.
Media Art/New Genres: film, video, multi-media, performance/experimental theater, sound art and radio.
Science: biology, chemistry, physics, math, environmental or agricultural science. (One session, “Scientific Delirium Madness”, is focused on the intersection of art and science.)
Residencies are awarded competitively, at no cost, to national and international artists in the disciplines of choreography, literature, music composition, visual arts, media arts, and science.
We seek applications from emerging and mid-career artists, for whom appointments as resident artists may make a significant difference to their careers, as well as from established artists with national and/or international reputations. Applicants are evaluated by panels of arts professionals in each category.
Studio / Workspace
Each artist has their own private studio. Our studios are different. We ask artists about studio needs in the application form and work to assign an appropriate studio for their needs.
Fees and support
The program itself is of no cost to artists. There is an application fee of $45. Artists are expected to cover travel costs to and from Djerassi (usually via San Francisco airport – SFO).
Expectations towards the artist
The artists are not expected to give a public talk, exhibition, or workshop.