The St. Elmo Arts Residency is a joint project of the Department of Art and Art History and the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin that offers one fellowship each academic year to a newly minted MFA artist in painting, drawing, print, photo, sculpture or multimedia.
The residency includes a beautiful house and studio in a small artist compound in the St. Elmo district of South Austin, located midway between the university campus and the Wildflower Center.
Merideth Hillbrand, 2019–20
Katy McCarthy, 2018–19
Early-August 2020 through Mid‑May 2021
- 24-hour access to a private 1800-square-foot studio
Private furnished house capable of accommodating the fellow and a partner *
Basic health insurance
Part-time teaching experience at UT Austin
Part-time teaching experience at the Wildflower Center
Solo exhibition at the Wildflower Center in restored 19th-century carriage house gallery (1800 square feet)
* The house cannot accommodate children. A pet may be acceptable upon approval and with pet deposit.
- 9½-month commitment
Teach one class per semester (two classes total) in Studio Art in the Department of Art and Art History
Teach one workshop per semester (two workshops total) at the Wildflower Center
Public lecture on your work
* Please note that not all furniture pictured is currently in use, but house and studio is fully furnished.
Only artists graduating from an MFA program in Fall 2019 through July 1, 2020 are eligible to apply.
- If you graduated prior to Fall 2019, you are not eligible to apply.
If you will graduate after July 1, 2020, please apply in the next application cycle. This is a hard deadline.
Only artists graduating from US graduate MFA programs are eligible to apply.
- If you are graduating from a graduate MFA program located anywhere besides the USA, you are not eligible to apply — unless you are American and hold an American passport. (Unfortunately, this is due to visa deadlines).
How to Apply
The following four items must be submitted.
Artist Statement (500 words max)
Teaching Statement (500 words max)
Regarding your general interest and ideas about teaching a college course in your specialty and your ideas about teaching a workshop to adult learners at the Wildflower Center.
Portfolio (20 images with additional information about date, size, materials and anything else relevant)
For video: Supply link(s) on Slideroom. Include additional information about date, method of presentation, running time and anything else relevant. Note: Total running time for combined video clips must not exceed three minutes.
The following three items must be submitted.
List names, email and phone number for two references.
When a candidate is selected for the second round, references will be contacted. At that point, we must receive their letters within 10 days. Please ensure that your references understand and agree to this time frame.
Upload a PDF copy of your unofficial transcript.
Upload a PDF copy of a letter or email from your faculty committee chair or department head confirming that you will be graduating between Fall 2019 and July 1, 2020. The letter or email can be addressed to you.
How many fellows do you select?
Is there a particular type of artist for which you are looking?
We are looking for compelling work by an artist with significant potential. That artist can be a painter, photographer, print artist, sculptor, media artist — or anything in between.
I graduated with my MFA in summer 2019 or before. Can I apply?
No. Only artists who graduate between Fall 2019 and July 1, 2020 are eligible to apply. This will need to be reflected on your transcript.
I graduated from a school in a country other than the USA. Can I apply?
No. Only graduates of American schools are eligible. (This is because there is not enough time to process a work visa application and obtain approval prior to the start of school.)
What’s an “unofficial” transcript?
That is the version of your transcript that you can access online. Save the most up-to-date version of your transcript as a PDF to upload. (We will require an official transcript from our fellowship winner.)
Do you need a transcript from my undergraduate school(s)?
I went to graduate school at more than one school. Should I send copies of my transcripts from each of those schools?
If your other graduate school was for art, then upload an unofficial copy of that transcript as well. If your other graduate school was for something else, then we do not require a copy of that transcript.
Why do you need a letter from my committee chair or department chair?
We need her/him to confirm that you will be graduating from your MFA program between Fall 2019 and July 1, 2020. This is not a letter of recommendation, rather, it is confirmation of your expected graduation date. The note can be an email or letter addressed to you and saved as a PDF.
I don’t have a committee chair and the department chair does not know me. What should I do?
Ask the faculty member with whom you work most closely to write the note instead.
I have a partner. Can she/he join me?
Yes. They are welcome.
I have a child/children. Can she/he/they join me?
No. There is not enough room in the apartment for children.
I have a pet. Can she/he join me?
A pet may be acceptable upon approval and with a pet deposit.
What classes will I teach at UT?
This is dependent on your skills and our needs. This is to be determined if you are offered the fellowship.
What workshops will I teach at the Wildflower Center?
This will be based on your skills. You will collaborate with the Wildflower Center to create a mutually agreeable workshop. This is to be determined if you are offered the fellowship.
How will my references be notified that you need their letters?
If you are selected for the second round, you will receive notice from us and be asked to submit a 2nd Slideroom application (at no additional cost) in which you submit the names of your 2 references. Once submitted they will automatically be asked for their letters. We need to receive their letters within 10 days after you receive notification you’ve been selected for the 2nd round. Please be sure that your letter writers understand and agree to this time frame.
I can’t start until September.
Don’t apply then. Our fellow must arrive in Austin between August 1st and 15th.
When will a decision be announced?
You will hear from us in May.
What is the Department of Art and Art History like?
We have a super interesting undergraduate student body, the top 7% from Texas high schools. Our grad program attracts talented artists from around the US and world. We have committed faculty with significant practices. It’s a vibrant and generous community.
What’s so great about Austin?
Austin is a city known for its obsession with the arts, its aural and edible delights. Oh, and did we mention Barton Springs?
Reach out to residency director, R. Eric McMaster.