The Residency

Cayo Artist Residency takes place in the heart of Eleuthera Island.  Eleuthera derives its name from the Greek adjective ἐλεύθερος (eleutheros), meaning "free." It is a unique and precious island that was revered and cherished by the indigenous Lucayan people.

On one side lies the tranquil Caribbean; on the other side lies the churning sapphire waters of the Atlantic Ocean. These two bodies of water are separated by only a thin ribbon of rock, plants, and sand. The island’s uniqueness warrants a need to study, preserve, and protect the precious ecology of not just the island, but also its surrounding waters and the creatures within them. It is our hope that our residencies will empower both locals and visitors to carry the message of conservation, awareness and reverence around the globe.

We host up to six residents for twenty days. Residents will have interactions with professional, working artists and scientific advisors. Cayo takes place in the summertime at a peaceful villa within walking distance from the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea.


Our Residents

Residents are asked to use their time at the residency is to explore, converse, collaborate, research, and deepen their appreciation of the natural world. Applicants must write a letter of intention that outlines the proposed project or area of focus/ exploration while at the residency. Applicants should demonstrate artistic merit through ideas, conception and materials. Established and emerging artists welcome. Graduate students who use this residency as part of their MFA educational pursuit are encouraged to apply.

Artwork is encouraged, but not required, to be generated while at the residency. Documentation of work during and after the residency will be added to our online catalog.


Visiting Professional

In the final days, we host one guest visiting artist, writer, critic, scientist or visiting professional to give deeper insight into issues explored by residents. In addition, they are encouraged to give helpful feedback on each artist’s work and process explored during the residency. These visiting professionals will present an artist talk, lead a workshop or lead a discussion. Visiting professionals are selected in advance of the residency and are not part of the application process.



As part of the residency experience, we greatly emphasize field trips and workshops. These two aspects encourage critical thinking, ecological awareness, specimen collection and material exploration. Talks will cover topics such as plastic pollution, conservation, climate change, protecting the biome, and the power of BioArt. Residents will be provided suggested readings before the residency begins.

During the residency, each resident will receive one-on-one feedback with our Visiting Professional, as well as have access to both our Scientific and Artistic Advisors.  This feedback is aimed at deepening research and providing support for each artist’s area of interest. In addition, each member of the core staff is a professional working artist, educator, and/or scientist.

Field trips include the Leon Levy Nature Preserve, the Cape Eleuthera Institute, Sweetings Pond (seahorses!) and more.


Residency Fees & Accommodations

The Residency Fee for twenty days is $2,900 USD. This fee includes all vehicular transportation during the residency, lodging, meals and snacks, and entrance fees to parks and institutions. Accommodations for each resident will include a single bed (two beds per room) and shared bathroom. We also can provide a private suite with private entrance and bathroom for $3,500 USD. (What about Couples? How to word this? how do couples apply? Together? Separate? Also please double check these prices)

The residency fees for all participants do not include the following: flights to and from Eleuthera, appropriate travel documents, personal travel/health insurance, and personal spending money.

All participants intending to go into the water must be confident swimmers. It is also suggested that residents be in good physical condition, if considering joining field trips that involve hiking and walking.  (ARE WE HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE??) All artists are responsible for bringing their own supplies to the residency.


About the Island

Eleuthera is a quiet island with a welcoming, slower pace. It is full of kind people, birds, insects, and aquatic animals. Provisions are limited, power can fluctuate due to storms and wind, and internet can be disrupted from time to time. However, there is a thrill that comes from relaxing and merging with the natural rhythms.

The first inhabitants of the Bahamas were the Lucayans - an anglicization of the Spanish word Lucayas. The word Lucayas was coined by the Spanish explorers from two native words Taino Lukku - Cairi - meaning people of the islands. Settlers fleeing religious and political persecution in Bermuda founded a settlement on the island in 1648 and proclaimed themselves the Eleuthera Adventurers. They named it Eleuthera a name that has its roots in the Ancient Greek word for freedom. The island, which has a population of 11,000, is approximately 225 miles from the coast of Florida, and is part of the Grand Bahama Bank.

Eleuthera is 110 miles long and anywhere from 100 feet and 2 miles wide, its shores are washed to the east by the Caribbean Sea and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean. The Caribbean coastline is a submerged string of carbonate limestone platforms that have been accumulating since the Cretaceous age, making much of the island’s waters very shallow (on average not deeper than 80 feet). During the last Ice Age some 15,000 years ago, these banks were dry, the limestone structures were exposed to chemical weathering and erosion, which created the numerous caves, blue holes and outcrops of ancient coral reefs. On the Atlantic side the force of the ocean has ground up coral to a fine talcum like powder which forms its long and wide pink sand beaches.

Aside from the abundant variety of fish and marine life, the local wildlife includes 13 catalogued species of native amphibians and reptiles, three of which were listed as endangered in 2000. Two of its most significant exports are crawfish (local lobster) and pineapple.