Artist in Residence

The Artist in Residence program at the Center for Benedictine Life at the Monastery of St. Gertrude is a month-long opportunity for women visual artists, musicians, and writers to spend time with their practices in a monastic setting amidst the Benedictine Sisters of Cottonwood, Idaho. The artist in residence lives in the Monastery, joining the community in meals and other aspects of community life. Studio space is provided, and the residency should conclude with an informal presentation of work to the monastic community. A private room with a private bathroom is provided. There is no fee to apply or participate.

How to Apply

  • Completed Application (request an application with the form below)
  • Artist’s Resume
  • 10 images of your work or up to 20 minutes of video or audio (on CD or as a link to your website)

Art and Monasticism

by Sister Teresa Jackson

At first there doesn’t seem to be much connection between art and monasticism. However, by bringing the arts into this sacred space the intersection between people living a life focused on God and the lives of those who are focused on creativity begins to become clear.

Those of us who are monastics live a simple, disciplined life focused on God. All aspects of monastic life are structured to allow us to make faith the focus of our lives. We order our lives in such a way that we can focus our energy on being open to God’s re-creating, transformative power. We live simply, in community, sharing all our resources and creating structured, consistent time for prayer and contemplation.

Perhaps the life of the artist, writer, musician is not so different. For people serious about their creative work there is a monastic asceticism as they structure their lives around their discipline. To enter deeply into any kind of art means to sacrifice other things. An artist isn’t one who dabbles occasionally but is the person who is drawn, even driven to create, to bring something new to birth. The artist is a person of vision and vision requires discipline, sacrifice, and commitment to be made real.

Both monks and artists of all types are drawn, perhaps driven, by the transcendent. Whether the force that beckons them on is named God or is a more personal vision, it is always something beyond, something that transcends the complacent here and now where many people seem content to dwell. Both prayer and creativity are expressions of a primal feeling that there is something more, something that may be hard to express or articulate but powerful and compelling. In prayer and creativity we are drawn to enter the deep realization of trying to express our deepest long- ings, joys, fears, and insights. In prayer and creativity we take the risk of opening ourselves up, of listening, of being transformed and offering our gifts on behalf of the world.

So in these weeks the monastics of St. Gertrude’s are given the gift of sharing our way of life. The musicians and artists join us for prayer and Eucharist. We are able to give of ourselves by offering space and the sharing of who we are. And in this mutual gift-giving something new is being born as together we are witnesses to what it means to live lives focused on the transcendent.


Inquire/Request an Application for the Artist Residency at the Monastery of St. Gertrude

Our Mission

Eager to welcome God’s transforming power in ourselves and our world, we seek God together through monastic profession and respond with our core values:

Healing Hospitality
Grateful Simplicity
Creative Peacemaking