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.


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.


  1. January 7-February 1 (25 days)
  2. February 4-March 1 (25 days)
  3. March 4-29 (25 days)
  4. April 1-19 (18 days)
  5. May 27-June 14 (Ragdale Ring Residency)
  6. June 24-July 12 (18 days)
  7. July 22-August 16 (18 days)
  8. August 19- September 6 (18 days)
  9. September 16-October 11 (25 days)
  10. October 28-November 22 (25 days)
  11. December 2-20 (18 days)

Scheduling Criteria 

1. Must arrive on Monday and depart on a Friday, Saturday 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.

Ends on March 8, 2019$25.00


Applicants should submit project proposals through ragdale.org via the Submittable online portal no later than 11:59 pm on Friday, March 8, 2018. Proposal review and notification will take place by March 22. 


Applicants are encouraged to visit Ragdale prior to submitting their application. Projects may be sited in your choice of varied locations including a gently sloping lawn area of approximately 80’ x 80’ located immediately behind the 1897 Arts and Crafts Ragdale House bordered by a garden, woods, and 50 acres of native prairie. A flat lawn area of similar size is located between the Ragdale House and Barn House. Photos of the Ragdale campus are available at ragdale.org. The installation and its location are subject to approval by Ragdale staff as well as the City of Lake Forest. The winning team must provide its own insurance while constructing the project at Ragdale. The project must meet safety requirements to be able to withstand the effects of outdoor conditions and public use. 

Proposals are open to any interpretation of the original Ragdale Ring but should adhere to the following guidelines: 

1 The structure, in its entirety or parts, should accommodate up to 150 temporary seats (such as our guests’ picnic blankets and lawn chairs) as well as a stage with a minimum size of 20’ x 20’. 

2 A light rain/sun shelter within the stage area should be incorporated to protect performers and equipment. 

3 The proposal should address plans for the reuse, recycling, and dispersal of all material used in the project. 

4 A preliminary budget should be included that identifies expenses related to the $15,000 production grant. If the budget exceeds this grant, the proposal should include potential additional funding sources and in-kind donations. 

5 Renderings and sketches should be included as part of the proposal. 

6 Present evidence of your team’s qualifications in sufficient detail to demonstrate your capacity to complete the project as you have described it. 

7 The project must meet safety requirements to be able to withsatnd the effects of outdoor conditions and public use.

8 The installation and its location are subject to approval by Ragdale staff as well as the City of Lake Forest.

A completed application consists of: 

1 Written Proposal – An explanation of up to 1,000 words that clearly describes the project and its relationship to the historic Ring as well as its anticipated use. 

2 Visual Proposal – A selection of 5-8 digital images and/or a maximum 5-minute video that show plans, renderings, and drawings of your proposed structure. Optionally, a 3-5 minute video can be included.

3 Previous Work Samples – A selection of 5 digital images that represent your portfolio of work. Each file submitted should have a title, date, and brief description of work. 

4 Resume/CV – A current resume/CV for each team member should include information about education, work, and teaching experience, exhibition history (if applicable), awards, grants, residencies, and other relevant information, including links to websites, blogs, etc. 

Submittable accepts documents (.pdf), images (.jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, .tif, .tiff, .bmp, .tga), audio (.mp3, .wma, .ogg, .flac), and video (.m4v, .mov, .mp4, .wmv, .flv, .asf, .mpeg, .mpg, .mkv).


One project will be chosen. The recipient will receive a $15,000 production grant towards realizing the proposed project. The winning team will also receive a design-build residency for up to three weeks, which includes a studio plus full room and board for up to ten people during the month of May and June 2018. The project must be completed by June 14, as it will be featured in a spring event. 


Architects, artists, and designers are invited to apply. Applicants do not need to be registered architects. Those outside of the Chicago area are eligible to apply, but additional funds for transportation will not be available. Production grant funds may be used for transportation as long as overall quality of the project is not sacrificed.

This application form is for the Ragdale Ring Design/Build Residency competition only. Please apply under the "Ragdale Residency Program 2019" for other residencies. Notification for the Ragdale Ring takes place March 22. This residency takes place May 27-June 14, 2019.

Call for Vietnamese Visual Artists and Writers to Apply for the Riedel Fellowship

The Ragdale Foundation and Loan and Norbert Riedel are pleased to announce a new fellowship opportunity for emerging Vietnamese visual artists and writers. This fellowship opportunity will support one visual artist or writer with an 18-day or 25-day residency at Ragdale along with a cash stipend of $500, the creation of a brief video documentary/interview, and the presentation of a public program. Presentation of a public program may include an artist talk, workshop, or other program and will take place within 18 months of the residency.

Application deadline: April 1, 11:59 PM CST, 2019
Recommendation Letter deadline: April 7, 11:59 PM CST, 2019

Notification: May 1, 2019

Review: Ragdale’s Curatorial Board and staff review applications.

Eligibility:   One Riedel Fellowship is awarded annually. This opportunity is designed to support an emerging visual artist or writer who lives in Vietnam and/or identifies as Vietnamese. The fellow will be chosen on the merits of their work and their potential contribution to the Ragdale community. All artists of the Vietnamese diaspora and Vietnamese nationals are eligible to apply, first-time visitors to the US are strongly encouraged to apply. Candidates whose work has the potential to find wider audiences in the US are encouraged. English must be at least conversational. Ragdale encourages applications from artists representing the widest possible range of perspectives and demographics, and to that end, emerging as well as established artists are invited to apply. While there are no publication, exhibition or performance requirements for applying, applicants should be working at the professional level in their fields. Ragdale encourages artists of all backgrounds to apply and does not discriminate against anyone on the basis of age, disability, gender, origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. 

Application: Must include a work sample, artist’s statement, resume, work plan and references.

Evaluations of work are based on the following criteria:
• Work sample and statement show evidence of original, inventive and exciting new work.
• Work sample demonstrates quality, technical proficiency, and is professionally presented.
• Artist’s statement and résumé show evidence that the applicant’s work is reflective of continued, serious, and exceptional aesthetic investigation in the chosen medium.
• Work plan demonstrates that the artist will maximize the benefits of a fellowship at Ragdale.
• References reflect the artist’s ability to work well in an artist community.  

Residency Dates: Session 6: June 24- July 12, 2019 (18 days) or other dates mutually agreed upon.

For questions and assistance, contact Amy Sinclair at amy@ragdale.org or phone
847.234.1063, ext. 28.

The Ragdale Foundation provides nearly 200 residencies and fellowships annually to creative professionals of all types, making the historic retreat one of the largest interdisciplinary artists’ communities in the country. Each session, 13 artists-in-residence experience uninterrupted time for dedicated work on a 5-acre historic campus beside a beautiful 50-acre prairie, 30 miles north of Chicago. With live/work studios, all meals provided, and unmatched staff support, Ragdale lets artists focus on what’s most important - creating new work.

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High School Arts Week at Ragdale takes place July 15-19, 2019 and offers intensive workshops in creative writing, visual arts and performance.
The deadline for high school students applying for all workshops is April 18, 2019. Notifications will be received by the week of May 6.
High School students grade level 9-12 from Chicago and the surrounding region are welcome to apply. Each year Ragdale accepts 24 students in Creative Writing, 24 in Visual Arts, and 12 students in Puppetry, 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 15-19 from 10am-4pm at the historic campus of The Ragdale Foundation, 1260 North Green Bay Road in Lake Forest.
Creative Writing:  Creative Writing students will be assigned to either a short form prose writing workshop under the guidance of instructor Margaret Hawkins, author and educator, 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 guidance of Paulina Camacho, artist and educator, are invited to explore the concepts of site, space, and place through guided investigations in art, using the Ragdale grounds as an inspiration for creative engagement.
Puppetry Intensive: Students will combine aspects of theater and performance with hands-on experiences of building and animating characters out of traditional and non-traditional materials and props. The week will culminate with student-produced work(s) performed in the Ragdale Ring. Instructor TBA

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 Puppetry Intensive, please attach a performance resume that includes past performance experience of any kind and a 30-second to 1-minute video of the applicant in performance or examples of related 3D work. 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 3, 2019.
For further assistance, please email Regin Igloria at regin@ragdale.org or phone 847.234.1063 ext. 26.