We are here to support your creative process
South Porch Artists Residency provides artists, writers and thinkers dedicated space and time for your creative work.
Your residency can stretch from four days to four weeks. We offer you the evocative setting of an historic Southern small town, not far from Charleston, South Carolina. You’ll settle into a gracious 19th century property and be welcomed into an intimate creative community of other makers and scholars.
While at South Porch, you’ll sit on the front porch during our long, sultry summer, or before a lively fire during our short, mild winter, get messy in the studio, wander under the great oaks of our surrounding neighborhood, or just hole up in your private room, focused on your work. We make space for you to approach your creative project in your own way and at your own pace.
South Porch Artists Residency is a 501c3 nonprofit committed to community. We believe that artists, writers, scholars and clergy – while often undervalued – provide essential services to our society, and to each of us as human beings. They uncover the universe, reveal our common humanity, expose injustice, point to reconciliation, and nurture our hearts, minds and spirits. Our mission is to support the essential work of artists and thinkers by offering them dedicated time and space and a supportive community. We aim to offer meaningful exchanges between our artists and our neighbors here in the Lowcountry.
South Porch Artists Residency is supported by generous volunteers, donors, and organizations including the City of Charleston Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of North Charleston Cultural Grants Program, the Lowcountry Quarterly Arts Grant Program, the John and Susan Bennett Memorial Arts Fund of the Coastal Community Foundation of SC, and the South Carolina Arts Commission which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Meet the Hosts
Brad Erickson and Brian Protheroe married in San Francisco in 2012 and moved to Summerville in August 2021 after spending decades in Northern California. Brad and Brian purchased 516 Central, this beautiful, historic property, with the dream of creating the Lowcountry’s first artists residency.
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Brad Erickson is an award-winning playwright, actor, arts administrator and advocate recently located from San Francisco to Summerville. For almost 20 years, Brad served as executive director of Theatre Bay Area, one of the nation’s largest regional performing arts service organizations. Brad is an alumn of a number of residencies and a firm believer in the power of these experiences. He sees the convergence of art, scholarship and the spirit as provocative to our residents and life-giving for our community. Brad serves on the board of Charleston’s PURE Theatre, the Vestry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Charleston, and as President of Good Courage Farm, an agrarian ministry in Minnesota. He holds a BFA in Acting from Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama, now the Theatre School of DePaul University.
Brian Protheroe is a People & Culture leader, with 25 years experience building human capital strategy for growing organizations including Auditboard, Criteo, and Macy’s. He has served on the Boards of Directors for arts organizations; currently Summerville’s Public Works Art Center, and previously for Theatre Bay Area. He served on the Vestry at St. Gregory of Nyssa Episcopal Church, and was Representative to and Secretary of The San Francisco Deanery of the Diocese of California. A native of Kansas, he holds a degree in communication from Emporia State University.
Located on the traditional land of the Kusso people and built in 1835, this gracious and freshly-redecorated home is one of the oldest in Summerville. The house features five working fireplaces, four bedrooms, two parlors, an expansive kitchen and spacious dining room, game room, and a large (south-facing) front porch.
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Book a Residency
Artists and thinkers, ages 21+, ranging from emerging to established, are encouraged to apply. South Porch invites: writers, composers, painters, sculptors, multimedia artists, new-media and digital media artists, filmmakers, photographers (digital), performers and performing ensembles, producers, scholars, clergy, and nonprofit administrators.
Your time at South Porch can stretch from four days to four weeks. Longer residencies begin on a Monday afternoon and end on a Monday morning. Long Weekend residencies begin on Thursday afternoon and end on Monday morning. Prices listed are per room, one resident; additional resident per room, add 50%.
Long weekend: $220 | 1 week: $295 | 2 weeks: $549
3 weeks: $759 | 4 weeks: $879
My brightest spot in 2021 was my time in idyllic retreat at South Porch. The place of Summerville and the space of residency provided allowed me to make leaps and bounds of progress in my writing. Each day I wrote. Each day I walked. Each day I relaxed. And each day I knew I was in the right place at the right time. What I wanted and what I received: Freedom to spend my time as I please, in comfort, surrounded by beauty, while other artists fed my creativity.
— Katherine Murphy, California —
My stay at South Porch was productive and inspiring. It supplied the solitude I needed enabling me to leave behind my non-playwriting responsibilities and life’s frequent interruptions for a week. The hosts, one of whom is a playwright himself, are welcoming, gracious and friendly, offering as much or as little interaction as artists wish. I enjoyed the beautiful property and the conversations about art and life that sometimes took place. South Porch is a lovely, short walk from the Summerville town square which is filled with shops and restaurants and a terrific farmers’ market. Plenty of alone time and plenty of pleasant distraction if wanted. It was wonderful!
— Toni Press-Coffman, Connecticut —
Apply for your stay
Interested in staying with us? Simply fill out the form below, including how many weeks you would like to join us and when you would like to stay. We will review your application and availability and then respond to you via email with more information and our Resident’s Handbook. Fall 2023 residencies run September 4 to November 13; Spring 2024 residencies run January 15 to July 1; Fall 2024 residencies run September 9 to November 18. We are closed during the holidays and July and August of each year.
To apply, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and include the following information:
IDEAL DATES OF STAY
HOW MANY WEEKS?
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR WORK.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO ACCOMPLISH DURING YOUR STAY?
ANY EQUIPMENT OR TOOLS THAT YOU PLAN TO BRING?
ANYTHING ELSE WE NEED TO KNOW?
Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
South Porch Artists Residency is committed to confronting racism and bias of all kinds. We strive to advance equity in our work and actively seek out a broadly diverse cohort of residents. South Porch requires all residents, staff and board members to uphold our values of mutual respect, equity and inclusion.
Frequently Asked Questions
Expand to read FAQs
Q: What is an artists residency?
There are literally hundreds of artists residencies around the world, and each one of them is different. At South Porch, we focus on creating a space where artists, writers, scholars and clergy can dedicate themselves to advancing their creative work. You’ll find yourself in a small group of creative individuals (no more than 5-7), each one pursuing a particular project. One of the truly special aspects of a group residency experience is the sense of community that grows between members of the cohort. We hope that your time here will spark friendships with fellow colleagues that may last a lifetime.
South Porch is committed to community, and that means we are committed to confronting racism and bias of all kinds. We strive to advance equity in our work and actively seek out a broadly diverse cohort of residents. South Porch requires all residents, staff and board members to uphold our values of mutual respect, community, creativity and inclusion.
Q: How long can I stay?
Residencies at South Porch range from four days to four weeks. We ask that those staying for a week or longer arrive and leave on Monday. Weekenders may arrive as early as Thursday and depart as late as Monday morning.
Q: What about meals?
We believe one of the greatest joys of a residency is sharing dinner and conversation around a common table. At South Porch, we make (and clean up) dinner together, with kitchen facilitation from your hosts. If you’d like to join the four-nights a week common table, we request residents to pitch into the kitty (suggested donation $35 per week), and we’ll do the shopping, observing your dietary restrictions and preferences.
On the three off-nights, we can point you to great spots within walking distance here in Summerville, or for those with wheels, we’ll offer suggestions among the multitude of options in downtown Charleston. Or just whip up supper for yourself.
South Porch stocks provisions for you to prepare a Continental style breakfast (coffee, tea, milk, juice, cereals, toast, yogurt and fruit). If you feel like making eggs, they’re in the fridge. Have at it! Lunch is on your own. Feel free to enjoy leftovers or fix your own midday meal.
Q: Where exactly is South Porch?
South Porch is situated on the traditional land of the Kusso people, in the South Carolina Lowcountry. We’re located in Summerville, SC, about 25 miles north of downtown Charleston – voted #1 City in America by Conde Naste readers for more than ten years in a row. With a car, you’ll have easy access to Charleston’s historic neighborhoods and sites, its many arts and cultural venues and its thriving restaurant and nightlife scene.
South Porch is tucked into the heart of Summerville’s quaint historic district. We are a 15 minute walk from our town’s lively central square with its eclectic mix of restaurants, bars, cafes, boutiques, bookstores – and a public art gallery and live theater! Outside the historic district you’ll find numerous supermarkets and shopping centers.
Q: How do I get there?
Driving: South Porch is about 35 minutes from downtown Charleston, off Interstate 26. The beaches are 45-60 minutes away and Columbia is an hour and a half up I-26. Savannah is around two hours south, Charlotte three hours north, and Atlanta and Asheville are both about 4 ½ hours away. From Washington it will take you around 8 hours and from New York, about 13 hours by car. Residents can park for free on the property.
Flying: South Porch is just 25 minutes from the Charleston International Airport (CHS) which is served by major airlines, including non-stop coast-to-coast flights. While transportation from the airport is the resident’s responsibility, you’ll find Uber, Lyft and taxis readily available at the airport (fares are typically $35-$45).
Q: Will I need a car to get around?
Not if walking for 10-15 minutes on flat, paved terrain is doable for you. You’ll find plenty within a modest stroll from South Porch. You can visit Summerville’s historic Hutchinson Square where you’ll find half a dozen restaurants, from inventive bistros to classic pizza joints and oyster shacks, several locally-owned cafes, two wine bars, at least four craft beer pubs/breweries, an independent bookstore, boutiques, a live theater, a nonprofit gallery, and an historic library. For starters.
Or just take long walks through our historic neighborhood and wander through spacious Azalea Park. You’ll pass under tall Southern pines and giant live oaks draped with Spanish moss. All around South Porch are a mix of stately 19th century homes and vintage cottages surrounded by the profusion of azaleas and camellias that gave Summerville its “Flowertown” nickname.
For groceries and other necessities, there are numerous stores just beyond the historic district. Some are bikeable (we have two bikes on property you can use for free). And we’ll be happy to arrange periodic shopping runs for residents. If you’re interested in exploring downtown Charleston or more of the Lowcountry, including our Atlantic beaches, you’ll need a car. Unfortunately public transportation is not great in our region, but we are happy to help arrange field trips according to the interests of the residents.
Q: Can you tell me more about where I’ll be staying?
South Porch is located on an acre of land and is anchored by a five-bedroom home, constructed in 1835. The home was built in the Federalist style utilizing the skilled-labor and craftsmanship of enslaved African-Americans. The property also includes a modern 3300-square-foot cottage studio that offers residents additional bedrooms and more than 2000-square-feet of studio and making space. Each resident is offered a private bedroom with a writing desk and has full access to the many shared living and making spaces on the property.
Many homes in the historic district once served as a summer residence for wealthy Charlestonians during Summerville’s glory days as a resort and spa when the town attracted both nearby South Carolinians and visitors from around the country, including three U.S. Presidents.
The grounds at South Porch are home to scores of native and ornamental trees and shrubs including live oak, magnolia, pine, holly, camellia, azalea, and palmetto. We hope you’ll enjoy the lush greenery and fresh air that once made Summerville famous or just relax on one of the property’s two south-facing porches.
Q: Is South Porch accessible?
South Porch offers ADA accessible accommodations in the Cottage with access to the Cottage’s first floor studio space. ADA access is also provided to the Main House for use of its first floor shared facilities and front porch.
Q: What’s the weather like? Isn’t it hot down there?
We’re in the Deep South. The Charleston area is officially classified as having a subtropical climate. Which means steamy summers, mild winters, and pretty much perfect falls and springs. The weather around Charleston is mostly hot and muggy from May through September. Spring and fall are generally delightful with temperatures in the 70s and low 80s during the day. December through February temperatures can swing from chilly to quite mild. Rain is possible throughout the year, with August and September being the rainiest months (though the rains then generally last for only an hour or so in the late afternoon).
Q: Aren’t there bugs and other things that go bump in the night?
With our subtropical climate, you’ll get sticky summers, mild winters, year-round flowers, and lots of critters. Some you’ll find charming (those cute, green chameleons), some pesky (those dang mosquitoes), some you’ll want to steer clear of (those alligators are real and they’re not tame). We’ve got bug spray and plenty more information at your orientation.
Q: Can a group of artists apply together?
Absolutely. We’re happy to house groups. We have five bedrooms, each of which can accommodate two people sharing a bed. Do the math as it fits your group. So long as we have space, we’re happy to house you. Double occupancy incurs a 50% additional charge for the room.
Q: Can I bring my partner or a guest?
Yes, keeping this in mind: To create a productive residency experience, it is essential that everyone staying on the property be committed to upholding the creative environment. Generally this means that only those actively participating in the residency experience are invited to stay overnight. Significant others of our residents may be welcomed as well, providing they agree to uphold the atmosphere of creative reflection and work South Porch seeks to offer. Day guests (up to 3 or 4) are welcomed, with the same expectation that they uphold the creative atmosphere. We ask that residents notify us in advance of any guests. Please connect directly with the director.
Q: What about pets?
We have two! Titan and Juno, our chihuahua mixes, are on the property about half of the year. They are shy at first so be mindful as they warm to you. Other pets, except for service animals, are not permitted. Residents with allergies may wish to inquire in advance about whether the dogs will be present during your stay.
Q: Am I going to feel comfortable down there? You know what I mean?
We do know what you mean. We can’t forecast your experience, of course, but we can say that as a gay married couple from California, we have been welcomed with open arms by our neighbors and the larger community. (We are also cis-male and white.) Summerville and the greater Charleston area are historically diverse communities with many committed activists dedicated to racial justice, LGBTQ+ equality and women’s rights. However you identify, you are unlikely to be alone.
Q: What about COVID?
Working within a changing legal and medical framework, our commitment at South Porch is to provide a residency experience that is both safe and creatively productive. We see this commitment as a mutual responsibility among residents, staff and volunteers. We look at our COVID protocols as a way of living out our values of caring and community.
Since the lifting of the COVID emergency by the CDC and the World Health Organization in May 2023, we are no longer requesting residents to show proof of negative COVID tests before arrival. We do ask that if you are experiencing COVID-like symptoms in the days before your residency that you either get tested or consider rescheduling your stay.
Should a resident test positive during their stay, South Porch offers a secluded, second-floor bedroom with a private, attached bath and will provide all meals during the resident’s quarantine period as well as assistance in obtaining medicines. Alternatively, South Porch offers a full refund or credit for future booking if the resident chooses to quarantine off-site or return home.
South Porch is just a 45-minute drive from the Atlantic beaches, where you can hit the sand at Sullivan’s Island or Folly Beach. You could also choose to walk the strands or rent a bike to cycle through the maritime forests of a half dozen other nearby barrier islands. Or you can kayak the watery web of the Lowcountry’s marshes or tube down the blackwater of the Edisto River, all less than half an hour away.
Within 20 minutes, you can take in the beauty (and grievously complicated histories) of the historic plantations and gardens lining the Ashley River. Venture further into the Lowcountry and explore the neighboring cities of Beaufort and Savannah.
At South Porch Artists Residency, we believe that artists, scholars and clergy – while often undervalued – provide essential services to our community, and to each of us as human beings. They uncover the universe, reveal our common humanity, expose injustice and point to reconciliation, and nurture our hearts, minds and spirits.
South Porch Community
We are excited and honored to welcome you to South Porch Artists Residency. Your residency at South Porch means being part of a communal live/work experience. Ensuring the best possible stay for everyone requires each resident to contribute to the cooperative and constructive working environment of this community. We want a joyful and productive stay for everyone and we ask that you help us by:
– Respecting each other’s physical and emotional boundaries. Please ask permission before entering a resident’s private room or workspace.
– Obtaining permission before taking photographs of other residents or their work.
– Respecting the views of others (while fully honoring and voicing your own!).
– Being mindful when utilizing shared bathrooms. Please be considerate with the privacy of other residents and be sure to clean up after yourself.
– Considerately enjoying South Porch’s many shared live/work spaces, including our kitchen. We welcome you to enjoy the shared spaces throughout the property and ask that you tidy up after yourself when leaving a space.
– Observing daily quiet times, from 10PM to 8AM. If you are conversing with others in shared spaces or on our porches later at night or early in the morning, we ask that you keep your vocal level down so as not to disturb fellow residents or our neighbors.
Speaking of our neighbors, many have told us that they are excited to have artists and thinkers from around the world here in our historic town. Please be as considerate of them as you are with your fellow residents. We aim to create opportunities (which are completely voluntary) for you to meet our immediate neighbors and our broader Lowcountry community, and we hope that you will enjoy engaging with our diverse Charleston-area community.
What to Bring
South Porch provides linens and towels as well as laundry facilities for your use.
– Bring seasonally appropriate clothing (warm jackets are necessary in the winter), and an umbrella. Summerville establishments are mainly casual and easily walkable from South Porch. If you are planning a trip to downtown Charleston for dinner out or a cultural event, you will want dressier attire.
– Bring sunblock any time of year, and if you’re planning a visit to one of our area beaches, bring swimming attire. We would recommend insect repellent in the summer months.
– Bring headphones for listening to music.
– Bring materials you will need for your practice. South Porch provides basic tables and desks throughout and work sinks in the Cottage studio area. Anything else you should ship in advance or plan to purchase here locally.
What Not to Bring
South Porch Artists Residency strictly prohibits illegal drugs (unfortunately in South Carolina, this includes cannabis) and firearms on the premises. Possession of drugs or firearms will result in immediate expulsion.
Smoking is allowed outdoors only. Please be aware of your proximity to fellow residents and ask permission before smoking. Wine and beer are often shared at communal dinners. Residents are asked to drink responsibly and provide their own alcohol.
Failure to Adhere to Community Guidelines
We are honored to welcome all of our residents to South Porch and greatly respect your work and aim to support your success. The guidelines outlined here are meant to help in creating an environment of reflection and productivity. Anyone ignoring these guidelines or engaging in behavior that in any way intentionally disrespects, menaces or harms another resident or staff member will be asked to leave immediately.
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