The Studios of Key West’s mission is to support artists, inspire creativity and build community.
The Studios was founded with the vision of bringing world class artists to the island, connecting them with local audiences and artists, and offering space for both to explore their creativity. We’ve hosted Pulitzer prize winners, world renowned artists and musicians, and introduced thousands of students to different ways of seeing and working. Our Helmerich Theater stage bristles with talent, music from our rooftop concerts flood into the neighborhood, and every month hundreds of people visit The Studios to take in new experiences and catch up with old friends.
Read more about who we are here.
You’ll find that the Key West community is very welcoming to new people (especially creative ones!) – and there is never a shortage of things to do. Your time is yours to do with as you choose, of course, and we respect that you’ll need plenty of time to dream, reflect and create. We do ask that you join us at two events during your residency:
Depending on the time of year, a group of about 20-40 friends and community members gather together for an informal potluck and a chance to meet our residency artists. Guests bring a dish to share (bring whatever you’d like – from chips and salsa to your favorite recipe). About halfway through the night, each of the residency artists takes few minutes to introduce themselves and talk about their work or what they’re working on in Key West (remember, it’s very casual, so no PowerPoint presentations necessary!). Writers often like to read a very short bit of their work and artists often like to open their studios to show what they are working on – but neither is necessary, whatever you feel comfortable with.
Friends new and old are invited to join us for each month’s First Thursday Open House event, when we keep our lights on late and throw our doors open to celebrate the newest work in our galleries. Stop in to say hello, relax with a glass of wine on the rooftop terrace, tour the third floor artist studios and see the just-installed exhibitions in the Sanger, XOJ, Zabar Project and Zabar Lobby Galleries.
Key West is an island community, two miles by four miles wide, at the very end of the road. Most people get around on bicycle or foot, and the neighborhoods are compact and filled with lush gardens and tropical plant life. There are Cuban groceries and café con leche on every other corner, and a mix of Latin and Caribbean influences everywhere. Known for blue skies, open water and mangrove islands, and 80 degree days in winter, Key West is removed from the American mainland by 120 miles of bridges and small islands.
Long a home to artists and creative people, the ghosts of Hemingway, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, Mario Sanchez, and Shel Silverstein still haunt our Old Town neighborhood. Flowers bloom year-round, and fruit trees proliferate. And on any given day, it’s not unusual to run into modern-day creative people, such as Judy Blume, Billy Collins, Jimmy Buffett, Meg Cabot, Terrence McNally, John Martini, Seward Johnson, or Annie Dillard.
For a small community, Key West is rich in cultural events, creative projects, and celebrations of every kind. The population is diverse and compassionate, and takes to heart the island’s famous motto: One Human Family, which reflects The Studios’ commitment to living together as caring, sharing neighbors dedicated to making our home as close to paradise as we can. Our creative community is proud of this special sense of place. We embrace an independence from the mainland, celebrate our tropical and Caribbean influences, and seek out artists and cultural leaders wanting to do the same—and gain the benefit of exile in the Conch Republic.
Through generous sponsors we are able to provide the following extras to use during your residency:
BEST OF KEY WEST RENTALS. Generously provided your linens, bedding and towels.
FORT ZACHARY TAYLOR STATE PARK. We’ve got a pass for you to use during your stay.
KEY WEST YOGA SANCTUARY. The Yoga Sanctuary offers retreats and many classes in different skill levels. Yoga space is outdoor. More info on discount.
YOGA ON THE BEACH. Meet at Ft. Zach beach at 7am to flow with Nancy and Don. PEARs get your first class free!
KEY WEST PUBLIC LIBRARY. We’ve partnered with the library to offer you a library card to use during your stay. Key West Library has an extensive catalog of books and other media, plus e-books and audiobooks available for download.
LAZY DOG ADVENTURES. Kayak and paddle board tours, rentals, lessons and classes, paddle yoga, paddle fit, and fun boat adventures. They’ve generously offered paddle passed for PEARs!
WE*CYCLE. The fun way to get around town! Public transportation with 2 wheels. They provided your conch cruiser.
The Studios accepts applications on a rolling basis from January-May of each year for the following residency season. The season runs from October-September. There is a $45 application fee to apply which supports the program.
Applications are evaluated by selection committees comprised of working artists and professionals in the applicants’ respective fields of discipline under the five categories: Visual Arts, Literary Arts, Media Arts, and Musical Arts and Performing Arts.
Acceptance to The Studios’ PEAR Program is based on the merit of past work and the potential for creative, intellectual and personal growth through the time and space to imagine new artistic work, engage in valuable dialogue and explore island connections.
Key West’s official motto, “One Human Family” reflects our commitment to living together as caring, sharing neighbors dedicated to making our home as close to paradise as we can. To that end, we encourage artists of all races, nationalities, gender identities, sexual orientations, and abilities to apply.
A limited selection of short length (4′ or less) specialty hardwoods (mostly Cuban Mahogany) can be purchased from the Woodshop. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for inquiries.
For a wider variety in wood types and length, we recommend our friend on Big Coppitt, Mike. He has a great selection and is nearby. His phone number is (305) 797-5747.
Address: 6810 Front Street, Key West, FL 33040
We’re located in Safe Harbor Marina on Stock Island, just down the docks from Hogfish Bar & Grill.
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With one of the tallest buildings – and most spectacular views – in town, the Hugh’s View rooftop terrace serves as The Studios’ creative space in the sky. The terrace sits four stories above street level and offers panoramic views of the island. The Kitwald Stage glows in the golden twilight of our sunset performances.
Hugh’s View offers:
—Smaller audience sizes
—A rooftop bar that opens one hour prior to show time
With original seating from its days as a Masonic temple, the Helmerich Theater has been updated to also include floor seating. As a black box theater, the set up is intimate but professional, and sets the stage for concerts and performances that leave guests feeling like they really got to know the performer.
Helmerich Theater offers:
—More space and comfortable chairs
—A walk-up counter bar that opens one hour prior to show time
The period for applying to 2021/22 residencies is now closed. We will begin accepting residencies for the 2022/23 season, which runs from September 2022-August 2023, in January 2022. If you would like to be notified by email when the application period opens again, please fill out this form.