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Rockland Residency gives artists worldwide a free place to create in the CD

IMG_7490Seeing Seattle for the first time, imagining its possibilities and places to explore, is an experience that can evoke some serious inspiration. To help artists tap into that creative energy, a Central District couple have transformed a house they own into a free artist residency that has already attracted interest from around the globe.

The Rockland Residency was founded by local artists Shawn Landis and Jodi Rockwell in 2015. The 27th and Marion home, known as the Butterfly House, turns over to artists from February and April and is rented out as a regular residence the rest of the year. The “unmarried husband and wife team” developed the free residency program to offer space and time for artists to create and connect with the city.

“It’s a great way to share and gather artists together to give them space and time to create their work without the stress and strain of everyday life,” Landis said. “It is very critical for creative thought, to have that structure of support around you, and I wanted to give that back.”

Landis and Rockwell do not charge residents for the time they spend at the house. Residents can stay for two to four weeks, depending on their projects.

One of the most recent residents was Carla Bertone, a muralist from Buenos Aires, who stayed for two weeks in the architecturally distinct 1963 home, designed by renowned Seattle architect Victor Steinbrueck. During her time at Rockland, Bertone completed and presented a mural she installed, titled “Psychedelic UFO”.

“Their creative energy feeds me, knowing they are here producing work, it generates more of that energy,” Rockwell said. “That part surprised me, when it began, knowing someone was here really focused on their work, it inspires me.”

Along with a small group of artists, Landis and Rockwell choose residents from a wide gamut of applications. In its inaugural year, Rockland received 38 applications from 12 different countries. Selected to participate are writers and visual artists from New York, Finland, Buenos Aires, Mexico, and Texas. To commemorate their time, each artist is asked to design a flag to represent them, which Landis then sews and hangs from a flag pole outside.

As stated in their Mission: “The residency is open to anyone engaged in a creative process involving and not limited to: visual art, writing, music, performance and new media. Our goal is to share what we have established for ourselves in property and networking to link dedicated artists outside of the Seattle area to those within.”

“It pulls us out because we get to show off what our city has to offer, the connections we have from our fifteen years here,” Rockwell said.

To learn more about the residency, visit

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4 years ago

This is so cool. I walk by this house on my way to work every day and have admired the great job they did on the renovation of this duplex home. It is a fantastic design, and the owners respected this in their thoughtful upgrade. I loved to read about their generous offer to artists. The bonus was being able to see photos of the interior, as I am a historic house fan!