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.

About the Residency at 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 just 15 miles 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 a warm grey with original photography and art from regional artists.

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 Janie Stamm.

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 Windows-based desktop with access to Microsoft Office and a printer. Our library contains over 2,000 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 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.

In 2017 SAFTA opened our Writers Coop, a 10×10′ 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.


Currently the residency space is not wheelchair accessible. 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 hope to build a fully accessible residency space in the future.

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.

Please be aware that while the majority of the residency’s land is largely rural, but there are neighbors who live on the same street as the farmhouse. This means that occasionally you may see or hear neighbors and/or their dogs or hear gunshots (especially during hunting season).

Unfortunately the residency cannot accommodate pets or children at this time.

Cost and Fellowships

Each farmhouse residency costs $300/week, which includes a room of one’s own, as well as access to our communal kitchen, bathroom, office, and living space, plus wireless internet.

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.

Our full scholarship opportunities for each residency period are listed below. No other full scholarships are available.

  • Black and/or Indigenous Writers Fellowship (Spring 2025) – Deadline September 1, 2024: SAFTA will offer one full fellowship given to a Black and/or Indigenous identifying writer for a week-long farmhouse residency.
  • Fellowship for LGBTQIA+ Writers (Spring 2025) – Deadline September 1, 2024: SAFTA will offer one full and one 50% fellowship for a LGBTQIA+ writer for a week-long farmhouse residency.

Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers are also invited to apply for a $350 support grant to help cover the costs of food, travel, childcare, and/or any other needs while they are at the residency. We are currently able to offer two of these grants per residency period (spring/summer/fall). If you would like to donate to continue this funding, you may do so here.

As part of our commitment to anti-racist work, we are now using a reparations payment model for our farmhouse residencies which consists of the following:

  • 3 reparations weeks of equally divided payments for Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers – $150/week
  • 3 discounted weeks of equally divided payments for BIPOC writers $250/week
  • 6 equitable weeks of equally divided payments – $300/week

There are also limited partial scholarships (10-30%) for any writer with large-scale financial hardship; please indicate this in your application if you feel you qualify.

The application fee is waived for all writers of color as well as any writer applying for financial need. Please state this in your application under the financial need section. All paid application fees will fund support grants for Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers.


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 day-to-day maintenance at Firefly Farms. For more information, you can see our Firefly Farms guide.

COVID Precautions

All residents will be required to show proof of COVID vaccination as well as a negative COVID test before attending the residency.

Transportation and Check-In

While residents are responsible for their own transportation to and from the farm, our staff will be able to pick up groceries for residents 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 Length and Open Application Period

The length of a residency can run from one to three weeks. Residency weeks run from Monday to Sunday. Check-out is by noon on Sunday of the your final week.

We are currently accepting applications for:

Spring 2025 Residencies (January 5th to May 11th, 2025): The deadline for Spring 2025 residency applications is September 1st, 2024.

To Apply

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 of color and/or for those applying for financial aid, the application fee has been waived. All other application fees will go towards funding travel grants for Black and/or Indigenous identifying writers.)


  • 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

Click here to apply.