Ragdale is a non-profit artists’ community located on architect Howard Van Doren Shaw’s country estate in Lake Forest, IL, 30 miles north of Chicago. In 1976, Shaw’s granddaughter, Alice Judson Hayes, transformed her family’s summer home into an artist's retreat to provide time and space for artists to create important new work.

Today, Ragdale annually hosts nearly 200 visual artists, writers, composers, and interdisciplinary artists at all stages of their careers for 18-25 day residencies, making it one of the largest interdisciplinary artist communities in the country. Ragdale offers a retreat setting where at any given time, a dozen creative individuals experience uninterrupted time for dedicated work, a supportive environment, family-style dinners, and dynamic artist exchanges within a backdrop of 50 acres of idyllic prairie.

Ends in 2 days, 3 hours


High School Arts Week at Ragdale takes place July 17-21, 2017 and offers intensive workshops in creative writing, visual arts and performance. 

The deadline for high school students applying for all workshops is Friday, May 12, 2017 [Deadline Extended from May 1]. Notifications will be received by the week of May 15.

High School students grade level 9-12 from Chicago and the surrounding region are welcome to apply. Each year, Ragdale accepts 24 students to the Writing Intensives,12 students to the Visual Arts Intensive and 12 students to the Performance Intensive, following a competitive selection process. 

We encourage students of all backgrounds and levels of experience to apply. Ragdale does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of age, disability, gender, origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

High School Arts Week will take place Monday through Friday, July 17-21 from 10am-4pm at the historic campus of The Ragdale Foundation, 1260 North Green Bay Road in Lake Forest. 

Writing Intensive:  Writing students will be assigned to either a short form prose writing workshop under the guidance of instructor Patricia McNair, author and professor, or a poetry/creative writing workshop under the guidance of Quraysh Ali Lansana, poet, editor, and author. Students will be asked to choose their preference for either poetry or prose, though placement in either group cannot be guaranteed.

Visual Arts Intensive:  Student artists under the tutelage of Regin Igloria, artist and educator, are invited to explore the concepts of site, space, and place through guided investigations in art, utilizing the Ragdale grounds as inspiration for creative engagement.

Performance Intensive: Students will have the opportunity to act, direct, write and create site-specific performances inspired by their own experiences.  Will Rogers, creative producer, director, and performing artist, will lead the program. Participants from all performance backgrounds are encouraged to apply.

All applicants submit electronic materials through the Submittable application portal.  Please note the following requirements to complete your application:

  1. A completed online application form.
  2. A letter of reference from a teacher or school official who knows you personally and can address your suitability for the week-long intensive. Reference letters are confidential and are submitted electronically through Submittable. 
  3. For applicants to the Writing Intensive, please attach two one-page writing samples. For applicants to the Visual Arts Intensive, please attach two images of your work. For applicants to the Performance Intensive, please attach a performance resume that includes past performance experience of any kind and and a 30-second to 1-minute video of the applicant in performance. All media is acceptable. Most electronic file types and sizes are accepted.

Applications are reviewed by Ragdale staff and the program instructors.  Evaluations of work are based on the following criteria:

  1. Work samples show evidence of originality and inventiveness.
  2. Work samples demonstrate quality and technical proficiency.
  3. References reflect the student's ability to work well with other students.
  4. Students will be selected from as large a range of area schools as possible, taking into consideration the merit of work samples submitted.

You will be notified of your admission status via email two weeks after the application deadline, the week of May 15. 

For further assistance, please email Marita Seaberg at marita@ragdale.org or phone 847.234.1063 ext. 21.

Ends on January 1, 2018


Creative Sabbaticals are one- to three-week residencies tailored for people who may or may not be creative professionals, but who are interested in pursuing a creative project in an environment without distractions. Participants pay $1,500 per week and have access to all that Ragdale has to offer, including a live/work studio, all meals, and interaction with other creative professionals. A special jury reviews proposals and work experience. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Creative Sabbaticals take place during a scheduled residency session and follow the residency calendar. The dates listed below do not reflect availability.
2017 RESIDENCY sessions

1. January 9-27 (18 days)
2. January 30- February 17 (18 days)
3. February 27-March 17 (18 days)
4. March 27-April 14 (18 days)
5. May 1-19 (18 days)
6. May 22- June 9 (Ragdale Ring Residency, closed to residents)
7. June 19- July 14 (25 days)
8. July 24-August 18 (25 days)
9. August 28- September 15 (18 days)
10. October 2-20 (18 days)
11. October 23- November 17 (25 days)
12. November 20- December 15 (25 days)

Scheduling Criteria:
1. Must arrive on Monday and depart on a Friday or Sunday.
2. 3PM check-in and 10AM check-out.
3. Minimum stay of 4 days, maximum of 25 days.
4. Creative Sabbatical fee is $1,500 for 7 days. The fee is prorated to the number of days spent in residence.

For more information please contact Amy Sinclair, Grants & Admissions Manager.