Application for Residencies

The Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) is now accepting applications for short-term artists' writing residencies for creatives and academics. These residencies are designed to give writers time and space to complete their creative projects in a quiet and productive environment. You can read testimonials from our former residents here.

About the Residency Firefly Farms

The SAFTA farmhouse is located on a working farm that rests on a 45-acre wooded plot in a Tennessee "holler" perfect for hiking, camping, and nature walks. Located less than half an hour from downtown Knoxville, a dynamic and art-forward city of 200,000 in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, SAFTA is an ideal location for those looking for a rural get-away with access to urban amenities.

Our short-term residency bedroom is 130 sq. ft. with queen-size platform bed, closet, small dresser, and desk. The window faces the front of the house with a view of the butterfly bush in the yard. The room is painted with a rich brick-colored mural by local artist Chris Johnson.

The communal bathroom, shared with one to two other visiting artists, features an oversized mirror, matte-finish white tile floors, white-and-black walls and back splashes, toilet, and bathtub with large fixed shower head. The room also contains a wall-length mural by Sundress artist Rhonda Lott.

There is also a communal kitchen supplied with stove, refrigerator, and microwave plus plenty of cook- and dining-ware. The basic food stuffs like spices, flour, etc are also supplied, though residents will be responsible for their own food and meals. (Though no need for eggs! The Firefly Farms ducks and chickens supply those daily!) Laundry facilities are also available on site as well as wi-fi and central heat and air.

The office has a Mac with access to Microsoft Office and Adobe Creative Cloud, among other applications. A large selection of craft supplies is also available. Our library contains over 1,000 books, including a large contemporary poetry section and, thanks to The Wardrobe, many recent titles by women and nonbinary authors.

The facility also includes a full-size working 19th century Challenge copy of a C&P old-style letterpress with type, woodworking tools, and a 1930's drafting table. Tools are available to residency artists upon training. If you are interested in working with the press during your residency time, please let us know when you return your contract as some projects require advanced ordering and scheduled training.

There are many elements about SAFTA that make it a unique residency experience, including attending SAFTA-sponsored workshops, readings, or events for free during the duration of their residency. (Check our schedules for dates!) Residents are also welcome to participate in weekly local writing workshops with seasoned poets and prose writers. This residency also gives you the chance to learn any number of life skills including construction, working with poultry and livestock, planting and gardening, etc. Residents are also able to connect with the publishers who work with SAFTA including editors at Sundress Publications.

About the Writers Coop

In May of 2017, SAFTA opened our Writers Coop, a 10x10' dry cabin approximately 1/4 of a mile from the farmhouse. This tiny house is furnished with a single bed, a desk, a wood-burning stove, a deck that looks over the pasture and pond, as well as a personal detached outhouse. While the cabin has neither electricity nor running water, residents will have full access to the amenities at farmhouse as well as solitude from other residents to write in the rolling hills of East Tennessee. Check out pictures here.

The Coop's accessibility is described as follows: approaching the Coop, and surrounding the Coop, the terrain consists of unsteady ground. The path to the Coop is clear and graveled, but may be hard to walk for some. You may drive to and from it, but your car should be equipped with four-wheel or all-wheel drive. To turn your car around to head back to the road, you must drive past it for a moment to an area of the path that is wide and cove-like to turn around easily. Coming into the coop, there is a single step to access the structure. The height of the roof is approximately 6'2". The outhouse is approximately 50 yards away. To get there and back, you must walk up and down a gravel walkway that is lit by small lights at night for your convenience. The outhouse itself is a small structure with a light on the inside for you to be able to see; there is also a flashlight if you happen to need extra lighting.

The Sundress Academy for the Arts is committed to making our facilities and programs accessible to disabled writers and artists, and we are in the process of reevaluating our physical spaces to ensure compliance. Currently, our primary residency spaces—both the farmhouse and dry cabin—are built upon rehabilitated structures original to the property. We have worked to make path of travel within these spaces as open as possible; however, certain renovations are not readily achievable for an organization of our size and means. To resolve this issue, we are removing barriers and making readily achievable alterations to the main farmhouse and our events. In addition, we will be building a fully accessible residency space, which is scheduled to be open in 2021.

Cost and Fellowships

Each farmhouse residency costs $250/week, which includes a room of one's own, access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet and cable.

Residencies in the Writers Coop are $150/week and include your own private dry cabin as well as access to the farmhouse amenities. Because of the low cost, we are rarely able to offer scholarships for Writers Coop residents.

There are limited partial scholarships (10-30%) for those with large-scale financial hardship; please indicate this in your application if you feel you qualify. Our full scholarship opportunities for each residency period will be listed below. No other full scholarships are available.

VIDA Fellowship (Fall 2020) - Deadline May 1, 2020: VIDA is sponsoring two fellowships (one 100%, one 50%) to women and non binary writers in all genres. This year's judge will be Christina Mun-Lutz. Christina Mun-Lutz is a Korean-American poet and lives in St. Petersburg, FL where she teaches creative writing and is a staff member at Eckerd College. Her work has appeared in Puerto del Sol, RHINO, Juked, Spoon River Poetry Review, and elsewhere. She currently serves on the Board of Directors at VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and is the Editor-in-Chief of the VIDA Review.

Writers Coop Fellowship (Fall 2020) - Deadline May 1, 2020: This donated fellowship will cover 100% costs for one writer staying in the Writers Coop.

For all fellowship or scholarship applications, the application fee will be waived for those who demonstrate financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section.


Residents are expected to perform approximately five hours per week of service work at the farm as part of their residency. This mostly includes feeding and caring for farm animals, as well as general maintenance at Firefly Farms. For more information, you can see our Firefly Farms guide.

Residency Length

The length of a residency can run from one to three weeks. We are currently accepting applications for:

  • Fall 2020 Farmhouse Residencies (August 24, 2020 - January 3, 2021)

    The deadline for fall farmhouse residency applications is May 1, 2020. The deadlines for Writers Coop residencies are rolling.

    Transportation and Check-In

    While residents are responsible for their own transportation to and from the farm, our staff will be able to drive residents to the grocery store if they are without a vehicle. Please note that there is no public transportation that travels to the farm, though Uber, Lyft or cabs are available.

    It is also important to remember that the residency is supported solely by volunteers, and during the summer months, those running the residency do not live on-site. While we are flexible on arrival times, it is important that you arrive when you say you will. This will allow our team to get you situated comfortably at the residency space. If an emergency or unforeseen circumstance—flight delay, flat tire, etc.—forces you to change your arrival time, please contact us immediately to make new arrangements.

    Residency weeks run from Monday to Sunday. Check-out is by noon on Sunday of the your final week.


    To apply for the Sundress Academy for the Arts (SAFTA) residency, you will need the following:

    -Application form* (including brief project statement and contact information for two references)
    -Writing sample (see below)
    -CV or artist's resume (optional)
    -Application fee of $15 or $10 for current students (with student email) payable online (NOTE: For Writers Coop residencies, the application fee has been waived.)


    -For Poetry: Writing sample of 8-12 pages
    -For Fiction: Writing sample of 10-20 pages
    -For Nonfiction: Writing sample of 10-20 pages
    -For Playwrights/Screenwriters: Writing sample of 10-25 pages
    -For Hybrid Work: Writing sample of 10-20 pages
    -For Translators: Writing sample of 10-20 pages
    -For Academic Work: Writing sample of 10-25 pages

    Be sure to attach all of these documents to one email that is sent to

    *If the PDF does not work, you can download a DOCX version of it here.

  • | Sundress Academy for the Arts | 195 Tobby Hollow Ln | Knoxville, TN 37931 | (865) 560-6106 | |