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 6- 31 (25 days)
  2. February 3- 28 (25 days)
  3. March 2- 20 (18 days) 
  4. March 30- April 17 (18 days)
  5. May 4- 22 (18 days)
  6. June 22- July 10 (18 days)
  7. July 27- August 14 (18 days)
  8. August 17- September 4 (18 days)
  9. September 14- October 2 (18 days)
  10. October 27- November 20 (18 days)
  11. December 1- 18 (18 days)


1: January 4-January 29 (25 days)  

2: February 1-February   26 (25 days)   

3: March 1-March 21   (18 days)   

4: March 29-April 16   (18 days)  

5: May 3-21 (18 days)   

6: June 21-July 9 (18   days)  

7: July 26-August 13   (18 days)   

8: August 16-September   3(18 days)   

9: September 6-October   1 (25 days)

10: October 25-November 19 (25 days)    

11: November 29-December 17 (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.

Please note, Ragdale can only send letters of acceptance if we are able to offer a Creative Sabbatical. Your application will remain on file. If you would like to update your availability to continue to be considered past the availability listed in your submitted application please contact Amy Sinclair amy@ragdale.org.