Stelo + Variable West Art Writing Residency


Variable West is thrilled to announce an art writing residency in partnership with Stelo.

Applications due November 1, 2021

Variable West and Stelo invite emerging and mid-career arts writers in Oregon to apply for a week-long art writing residency at Stelo’s Camp Colton and Park Block locations. We will welcome one resident per site, per week, for a total of eight residents from November 2021–February 2022. After their residency concludes, each resident will publish a work on Variable West

Stelo and Variable West invite applicants to consider their respective seasonal themes of storytelling and staying with the trouble. “In these troubled times” is a tired refrain of the past eighteen months, what stories are artists telling to surface, parse, amplify, and reframe these troubles? What role does artistic narrative play in understanding, coping with, archiving, and memorializing our current world? 

What to Expect

For one week, participants will engage one another and Variable West founder, Amelia Rina, in reading, discussions, writing and editing. This residency is designed to support arts writing and journalism focusing on exhibition reviews, artist interviews, long form essays and research. Applicants engaging these writing forms are welcome to apply. 

Approximately half of the week will be structured and the other half of the week is self-directed; providing independent time for writing, resting, and exploring their surroundings. 

Participants will receive 

  • Free on site lodging
  • An honorarium of $1,500
  • A produce box from a local farm and access to their own kitchen
  • Access to Stelo’s on location resources
  • Tailored instruction and support from Variable West’s founder, Amelia Rina

Residency dates

  • November 10–17
  • December 8–15
  • January 12–19
  • February 2–9

About the Residency Sites

CAMP COLTON: A Writing Retreat in Nature

Stelo’s rural campus, located in Colton, Oregon, provides creatives an opportunity for secluded research, reflection and wellness retreat. Camp Colton sits on 85-acres of lush Pacific Northwest forest and holds the convergence of Canyon and Bee Creeks. Nestled within the tree canopy lies a hidden waterfall, Trout Lake, and open meadows.

Camp Colton residents will lodge in their own tiny home with access to flushing toilets and a kitchenette. They are encouraged to safely explore the property and visit with farm critters. There will be on-site staff available should any needs arise. Camp Colton is not currently ADA accessible. Service or companion animals are permitted with pre-arrangement. Free outdoor parking is available during the on-site portion of the residency.

Please send an email to to discuss any accessibility questions or requests prior to applying. 

PARK BLOCK: The Heart of Portland’s Art Scene

412 NW 8th Ave, Portland, Oregon

Stelo’s urban campus, located in downtown Portland, Oregon, provides residents with ideal proximity to art galleries, Pacific Northwest College of Art, and Portland’s characteristic amenities. 

Park Block residents will stay in the studio apartment above the exhibition space complete with a private bathroom and full kitchen. Park Block is partially ADA accessible, and we are working toward a fully accessible residency space. The apartment can be accessed via an elevator and is on the second floor of a mixed-use commercial and residential building. While the apartment is wheelchair accessible it does not currently have wheelchair access to the shower facilities. Service or companion animals are permitted with pre-arrangement. Free indoor parking is available during the on-site portion of the residency.

Please send an email to to discuss any accessibility questions or requests prior to applying. 

Covid-19 Safety

In accordance with current guidance and our own commitment to the safety of residents, your families, Variable West staff, and Stelo + Camp Colton staff, we are observing all current guidance from the Governor of Oregon, which includes requiring masks in indoor spaces, and outdoors when a minimum physical distance of 6 feet cannot be maintained. Our policies will be evaluated as state and federal regulations are updated, and Stelo staff will inform you of any changes at least 2 weeks prior to your residency.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test will be required for all selected residents. For further details on our current disease prevention requirements and consent agreements. Read more here.

To Apply

Applications must be submitted by November 1, 2021. To apply, fill out this Google Form

Residencies will be awarded by an independent group of jurors outside of both the Variable West and Stelo staff. Stay tuned for a list of the program’s jurors.

For any questions, please contact

About the Organizations

Stelo illuminates the power of art to invite conversation and build community. We are dedicated to responsive models of support via partnerships, collaboration, and exchange.

Variable West increases engagement with the West Coast art world while nurturing both regional communities and international conversations.