FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Introduction to The Barn
What exactly does the Barn provide?
The Barn hosts an annual summer residency program designed to offer space to five creative persons for four and six week periods between the middle of May and the middle of October. Writers receive a large bedroom equipped with a desk, bed and dresser; visual artists receive a slightly smaller room (with a bed and dresser) and a rather large studio space (forty foot ceilings).
Do you provide stipends or grants?
Sadly, no, not yet. We are working on eventually offering stipends to our Fellows to mitigate costs of staying with us, but we're not quite there yet.
Are there any fees to stay at The Barn?
No. We wouldn't dream of asking creative people for money to spend time at what is ostensibly meant to help them get their own careers moving forward at a time when they likely can't afford to pay any extra fees for anything at all.
How long are the residencies?
4 weeks (June 1 - 30; July 1 - 31; August 1 - 31; September 1 - 30)
or, subject to availabilty
6 weeks (mid-May - June 30th; September 1 - mid-October)
Decisions on who receives 4 or 6 week residencies are made in conjunction with Fellows' availabilities as well as availability of space.
Can a Fellow stay for a shorter residency than four or six weeks?
No. We ask that Fellows make totally sure they can stay for the entire duration of the time they are awarded. We ask that anyone requesting a 6 week block make certain they can afford to stay for the entire period.
What if I have to leave early?
While circumstances may arise that a Fellow must leave before his or her residency is up, we deeply frown upon this and, if it seems less like an emergency and more like a casual choice to go somewhere else, we may choose never to invite that Fellow to return.
Why so harsh?
Because there are other artists who would love to have the space and it would be a terrible shame to waste any of that time.
With whom will I be sharing my month?
Usually we have two visual artists and three writers staying with is during a cycle (4 or 6 weeks). Occasionally someone will flee in the night.
Note: Most questions are very clearly answered in the guidelines page.
Can I email or fax my entire submission to you?
Short answer: NO.
Long answer: Yes, if you want to upset us. Ask yourself how you would feel if you were offering a nice opportunity free of charge and someone thanked you in kind by making you do all the work (direct-from-email printing) or dumping reams of paper all over your office floor (direct-from-fax-machine-littering).
At no point have we made it unclear: all submissions are to be sent to us through the mail. Emails are for inquiries; and our fax machine is really meant for one way communication: for us to send YOU the application forms in case you don't have email access or a printer of your own.
Can I email or fax my entire submission to you and then get abusive when you reject it?
Close another door, burn another bridge. Your choice. Someone recently did exactly that. That's okay. We have memories.
My printer doesn't work. Will you mail me an application?
Yes. Please just call 212-226-2020 to request an application be sent by mail. Leave your name and address on the machine very, very clearly, spelling out anything that might not be obvious. Fax is also an option, so leave a fax number if you have that at your disposal.
Is there an application fee?
Happily, no! Edward Albee doesn't believe in charging creative people money to try to move their careers forward. (If they could afford the fee, they'd probably not need the time and space we offer.)
What is the application deadline?
We accept applications between January 1st and March 1st of each calendar year. All applications must be postmarked by March 1st (or 2nd, if the 1st is a Sunday) and must be in-house by March 7th (or 8th, if the 7th is a Sunday). Applications postmarked and/or received after these deadlines will be discarded. Note: we strongly recommend you not choose Media Mail or Book Rate or any other option that might slow your application down. In fact, we strongly suggest you send in your application well ahead of the deadline date.
Can I send my application by courier (FedEx / UPS / Etc)?
No. We can not accept applications that arrive with need for signature, as there is not always someone at our office to personally receive the package. And there is no place for a courier to leave packages otherwise. Use regular mail only, please.
I noticed that there are two addresses, NYC and Montauk. Where do I send my application?
Send all applications to our NYC office: 14 Harrison St. NYC 10013. The Montauk address is the physical address of The Barn, and anything sent there will bounce back to you.
Hey, I live three blocks from your office, can I just walk my application over there?
Congratulations, it's a nice area to live in, I wish I did. But to answer your question, no. We do not have any drop-in hours and can not meet you to receive your application. We don't even have a lobby that you can enter, or a doorman you can bribe, or neighbors who would be interested in playing middlemen. As absurd as it may feel to place your application packet into the mailbox around the corner, that's what you need to do.
Is there an application form or do I just send my work sample without even a cover letter or a return address?
Very glad you asked. There is, indeed, a form, and other required materials, which can all be found on our guidelines page. Please remember that there are two application forms and that both must be filled out and included. Any work samples sent without the other necessary materials will be discarded.
Should I apply using the only draft / version / canvas of something I have?
I am sad to say that this question is actually necessary. For the sake of those of us who go through crushing guilt trips no matter how blameless we are in such circumstances: don't put that on our heads. Send good copies. Let's all cry for joy when you get in to The Barn, not in sadness for fear of your having lost everything you ever had to say to the world to the cold, hard mishandlings in between your door and ours.
I am a playwright / screenwriter. Can I send an incomplete script?
No, playwrights and screenwriters should send only complete scripts, not partial scripts.
I am a writer who has written quite a few pieces. Can I just pack an envelope full of my work and let you decide what to read?
Please don't. Your application will have a stronger chance of success if you limit the work samples to exactly what we ask for. And only send one copy of each piece.
I am a writer working on a novel where each chapter comes in at about 156 pages, should I still send in two chapters? / I'm a poet that only writes epic sagas on 20' scrolls, do you still want 12 poems? / I'm a screenwriter adapting the Mahabharata and think Peter Brooks made the experience 6 hours too short. Etc.
Please try to find a reasonable number of pages to send in. We recommend that writers send in work samples that fall roughly within these guidelines:
Fiction / Non-fiction: Under 40 pages
Playwriting / Screenwriting: Under 130 pages.
Poetry: 12-20 Pages (12 poems averaging between 1-2 pages each; or two poems at 8 pages each, etc.).
If I am a playwright and fiction writer, can I submit more than one application during the same year? One for plays, one for fiction?
Excellent question (thanks, Zachary!). The answer is yes. If you truly feely that you wear both hats equally well, you may apply to both categories. Just make sure that you indicate, on both application forms (top right corner would work best), which category or sub-category you're applying under (this way we can keep track of your multiple personality disorder).
NB: This applies to Poets who are also Sculptors; Painters who are also Playwrights; Translators who are also Astronauts (etc., use your imagination...)
I am a visual artist, can I send digital images instead of print-outs?
No - sadly, we can't accept digital files. We need prints or high-quality photocopies. All digital media (CDs, DVDs, etc.) will be discarded (except in cases where the medium is meant to be in these formats; e.g.--video installation work, audio files, short films, etc.)
I am a visual artist, should I include an image list?
That's entirely up to you but it's a good idea. You could also simply include relevant information on the bottoms or backs of your print-outs.
Should I submit my most recent work, or the work I feel is the strongest?
We hope that's the same thing! But as far as what you should submit: we prefer to see your most recent work.
My work is done in collaboration with another artist / writer. Can I submit this as my work sample?
We ask that you only submit work that you can take 100% credit for. If you submit a collaborative work, you must apply as a collaborative team. If you apply as a collaborative team, you must send in separate application materials for all collaborators.
Not only is my resume impressive, but I've received a smattering of great reviews. Should I send a packet of promotional materials as well?
Congrats on the great reviews! Please don't include them. We only need to see a resume to get a sense of where you stand in your career. We look forward to reading more about you once you're a Fellow and can boast about how your month at The Barn springboarded you into fame. Until then, though, keep it simple!
What should I say in my Artist's Statement? And how long should it be?
Please don't sweat too hard over this. It's an important introduction to who you are as a writer or artist, but you don't have to kill yourself trying to impress us. Just let us know who you are, what you've done, what you hope to do, and why the Barn sounds like it would be useful to you at this point in your career. Please keep it to a page, with a reasonably readable font and reasonably distanced margins. To recap: this does not need to read like a full proposal of what you would work on at the Barn (we know that it's highly improbable what you say you will work on is really what you'll be inspired to accomplish once you're out there.)
What does it mean to include two adhesive labels with my name only?
These labels should be identical and contain only the name of the applicant (not the address), with the last name first. So if the applicant's name is John Q. Applicant, the label should look something like this: APPLICANT, JOHN Q.
Oh, and they should be sticky on one side.
Note A: The sticky side should be the one without the writing on it. Sadly this detail has proven necessary to clarify.
Note B: Please don't actually write APPLICANT, JOHN Q. unless that's actually your name. Someone once did that. It wasn't their name. And I don't think they were kidding.
What if I can't get any recommendation letters from people who know my work and/or me at all?
You shouldn't have that much trouble getting letters from two people (who aren't your relatives). These can include peers in your field; mentors; teachers; gallerists; literary managers; artistic directors; etc. If you really can't find anyone to write you a letter of recommendation, call us and we will work with you to find a solution (if possible). Until then, though, keep meeting people who respond to you and your work!
I applied last year, do you still have my recommendation letters on file?
I applied in 1976, do you still have my recommendation letters on file?
No. Please get and submit new recommendation letters every five years (at the outset).
Should my recommendation letters be current and specific?
Yes. Please do not send aged photocopies of recommendation letters written on your behalf, for a different organization, a decade ago. We don't like them, and we can bet that your recommenders would be bothered if they found out you were recycling their opinions without notifying them. Each letter should be written reasonably recently and specifically about your application to our foundation.
I applied last year as a poet; this year I'm going to impress you with my playwriting skills--what say you of my letters on file?
Another excellent question recently posed by a prospective applicant. Basically, when you submit letters of recommendation, we keep them on file in the anticipation of receiving another application from you within the bounds of the same medium. Should you choose to re-apply with a work sample in a different medium--whether reflective of a leap as broad as painter to memoirist, or as relatively narrow as journalist to playwright--please do have new letters written on your behalf, specifically detailing the recommenders' experience with your work in this new medium or, if this is a new step for you, the recommenders' sense of what your recent interest in this new medium says about your work as they have known it up to now.
Can I have my recommenders send letters directly to you?
No. All materials, including letters of recommendation, must be included in your packet.
(We make automatic exceptions to this rule only for those people whose recommendation letters come from a dossier service. Any other possible exceptions are made on a case by case basis and must be preceded by a formal request by the applicant, either by phone or email.)
What if my recommenders refuse to send them directly to me?
Pick recommenders who trust you more than that.
I have a bevvy of recommenders. Can I send more than two recommendation letters ?
No. Two will be plenty, thanks.
Should I include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) and expect a letter to be returned to me indicating receipt of my submission?
No. As we state below: "...if you want to include a SASP (postcard) that reminds you that you applied, and is basic proof that someone with a pulse has received your application, we would be happy to drop it in a mailbox for you." We have no time to write up individual letters of receipt. We do have time to drop your postcard in the mailbox along with the rest of our daily mail, and we definitely have plenty of time to use the stamped envelopes people keep sending us to get holiday cards off to our mothers.
Do you favor certain types of artists / writers?
While the Barn would love to extend a hand to all creative people, we can't. So, we make certain choices based mostly on talent and need.
It's a subjective experience. Hopefully we subjectively find you talented.
This does not only mean financial need, necessarily, but that is one of the considerations. If you are a famous sculptor who has a large summer cottage in East Hampton but would love to "slum it" in Montauk for a month, you are much less likely to get in than a painter who holds a terrible day job and lives in Brooklyn with her three roommates. If you have never been seen in print before you are more likely to get in than a novelist who is about to enjoy his 3rd major contract with a large publisher. Basically: we look for people who are earlier on in their careers (not necessarily younger by age, just younger by obvious measures of success.)
Well, there are other subtle points. For instance, being that the Foundation was started by a playwright who also has a great love for fiction and poetry, we tend to focus mostly on playwriting, fiction, and poetry when it comes to writing. As for what sort of visual artists tend to get attention here...soon enough we will have a page featuring links to the visual artists who have stayed with us, and you can judge for yourself. If you're curious about who stayed with us in recent years, you can find them here.
It says I should number the months, in the order of my preference. How likely is it that I will get my first choice?
We do our best to accommodate Fellows by giving them the months they want. Inevitably, most people want July or August, and so this makes it rather difficult to accomplish successfuly each time. What we do is judge how serious the need for a specific month is, then try to fit less dire requests in around those.
How do you know if my need for a certain month is "serious" or not?
That's what you should let us know. If you really need July because you teach from May through June and September through October, and have to work at a supermarket throughout August, you are most likely to get July as your Fellowship month. If you just think July has the nicest weather for sunbathing, and can do any of the months we offer, you might have to take what we can give you.
So, should I just say that I have to have July, even if I don't?
If everyone did that, we'd still have to fill those other months, so at that point we would offer first-choice months to the first Fellows we reach on the phone. The best bet is to be absolutely clear about which months you can do and which months you can't.
I can do any month you have to give me, what should I put down on the application?
You are wonderful. Please indicate this by writing just that* in the space provided. This will help us schedule everyone who can't be so flexible. *(Meaning the flexibility, don't actually write the words "I am wonderful" - though we'll be certain to share a nice laugh if you do.)
Does this mean I am more likely to get in if I put down other months?
No. We choose our Fellows before worrying about schedule conflicts and then just do the best we can. It won't change the likelihood of your acceptance, but it will make us thank the stars that we chose you once we do.
So, what's the deal--are the months sandwiching July and August awful times to be in Montauk?
Not at all. In fact, some people find out they're even better than the mid-summer months, as there are fewer tourists, which mean more room on the beach, more room at the bars, etc. Of course, we hope that you spend less time at the beach and bars than at your desks and in your studios (which are two of the rare spots in Montauk we can guarantee you won't be crowded by tourists.)
I've read your FAQ sixteen times -- I know it's okay to double side my submission, right?
Your submission, yes. We don't hate trees. But we don't love them more than our precious filing system. Don't double-side the forms. There are two such forms. There is a reason there are two. One lives in your submission packet during adjudication. The other lives in a fallout shelter for future generations to study. Seriously: please don't double-side the forms. It just means we have to undo that mistake. Oh, and don't staple the forms together, either. And don't forget to sign the second one. And don't forget to include both. And wear a scarf, it's cold out there!
Oh, and writers: don't try the cute trick where you send in 200 pages of double-sided work because you think you're only sending in 100 pieces of paper. We know all your tricks!
Recycling Vs. Returning Your Materials
What's this deal about no longer returning international submission materials?
Sorry about that. The United States Postal Service now makes us jump through too many hoops. Your international postage coupons? No one here seems to know what they are, and we're tired of having to summon the Postmaster General for a special summit meeting with today's clerk. Sending us $5 in cash? That doesn't cover even half the cost of your postage and it's too tempting for us to use at Starbucks. It was a beautiful time when Pegasus merely whinnied and neighed his way across the great pond and dropped submission materials off through any gauge of chimney piping in Africa, Asia, the other Americas, Trans-Europe and Oceania. Now he wants all kinds of forms filled out, uncreative addressing (which creative artists are incapable of producing), sudden increased fees and other things that we simply no longer have any time for. So, sorry to single you folks out: only North Americans will have their work samples returned.
Wait, what's this other deal about no longer returning submission materials that weigh over 13oz.?
Sorry about that. The United States Postal Service now makes us jump through too many hoops. Read the previous to get the same basic gist. If it's heavier than 13oz. they consider your work sample to be a dangerous weapon or something. We can't spend the time proving that it isn't. So, you poets with slim volumes in regular manila envelopes? You're safe. You screenwriters with your 415 page version of Star Wars: Episode XVII - Crushed Dreams? Recycling.
Wait! What's this other other deal about no longer returning submission materials that have MEDIA MAIL stamped on the envelope?
Sorry about that. The United States Postal Service now makes us... Actually, no. This one's your fault. You haven't checked out what MEDIA MAIL means. Sadly, it does not mean "CHEAPER ARTIST RATE". It means tapes (what are those?), floppy discs (what are those?), microfiche (oh, yeah, like a baby Guppy), and a whole host of things that you may have written about in your novel but which your novel may not find itself company in. (Sadly, "Books" to them seem to mean published ones, not pages held together with binder clips.) So, mark that submission MEDIA MAIL at your own peril. If the Post Office clerk does that little shaky thing near his ears that kids do at Christmas, we're not going to appelate court for you.
Do you officially notify applicants that their applications have been received?
No. But if you want to include a SASP (self addressed, stamped postcard) that reminds you that you applied, and is basic proof that someone with a pulse has received your application, we would be happy to drop it in a mailbox for you.
I applied but I've since moved. Should I remember to notify you that my information has changed?
That's a great idea!
When will I find out if I got in?
We do our best to notify applicants by the second week in April (sometimes the third, depending on volume.)
I did not get in. (Deep breath). But maybe if someone drops out...?
Sorry. We have a tiered system including a Wait List. If someone drops out, the first person on the Wait List is offered the spot and so on. Please do apply again, though!
I was placed on the Wait List. But the summer is now over. Does this mean that I will automatically be moved into next year's slots or do I have to reapply?
Sorry, you have to reapply. If we automatically moved people from the Wait List into the following year's slots, we could probably close down submissions for the next decade or so. No, everyone must try again.
Is there a better chance I'll get in next year if I was put on the Wait List?
Maybe. It's certainly a good sign. And it certainly means you should try again.
I was accepted but then couldn't come. Am I automatically moved into next year's slots?
Are you mad at me for dropping out?
We're not mad, no. But we do want to know why you dropped out on us. If it's because of a job you had to take, or a terrible emergency, etc., we totally understand and are happy to have you apply again (see the "Wait List" question above to address likelihood of re-acceptance). But if you dropped because you got a residency with a more attractive program, we will remember that. Think of it like this: you don't ask someone for a date, wait for the "Yes", then say you found someone cuter, and then expect an automatic raincheck date after your new relationship ends.
Can a Fellow apply to come back again the next year?
Fellows may reapply after waiting one year (i.e.--if you got in for the 2013 season, you should reapply in 2015.)
I'm curious to meet and/or bribe you into slipping me into the Barn. Can I visit your offices?
Mmmmm....tempting as that may be, not really. The Foundation office does not host any drop-in hours.
I might be in Montauk next weekend and am just curious to see the Barn. Can I visit for a quick look?
Yes, that should be no problem. Please call Rex Lau to figure out a time: (631) 668-9520.
What does the Barn look like?
It looks like a giant white barn. It looks exactly like the photograph on our Home Page, actually. The layout is like this:
You go in through the main doors; there is a kitchen on the left, and a small dining room / study on the right. Further in you have the laundry room on the left, and a writer's bedroom on the right (this is the only bedroom on the ground floor). Then there is a bathroom again on the left and a staircase leading to the upper floor on the right. Straight ahead there is a door leading to the two large artists studios.
The studios are roughly the same size, and they differ only in that one of them abuts the rest of the Barn, while the other leads directly to the outside and has huge barn doors that can be slid open to get fresh air and a good deal of sunlight. Because only the front of the Barn has an upper floor, the studios have two floors worth of open vertical space.
Once you get upstairs you walk into the commons area. There is a bathroom straight ahead. On the left is a hallway with the bulk of the bedrooms (which are quite close to each other and don't afford a great deal of privacy, noise-wise). Here you have two artists' bedrooms and two writers' bedrooms.
And that's pretty much it for the layout.
Is it fancy?
No. The Barn strives to maintain a very relaxed environment--one in which creative people can just get down to work without being intimidated (or too soothed) by extraneous pretentions.
Is that a sly way of suggesting it's filthy and dangerous?
I hope not. No, the Barn is a rustic but generally safe place. Of course, there are some circumstances that might make the Barn a less than hospitable environment for some people (allergies, disabilities, etc.) and we strongly recommend directing specific concerns to us before applying so that we can assess your situation and advise you informedly.
It's near the beach, right?
Yes. You can get to the ocean within a few minutes by car and somewhat longer by walking or biking. Just remember that--as one former Fellow scribbled on our kitchen door as a caveat to all who reside with us--"This Is Not A Vacation!" Like Santa Claus before him, Edward Albee knows when you've been working and knows when you've been surfing.
Does the Barn provide sheets, towels, etc.?
Yes. We have an abundance of sheets, towels (both for bath and beach), toilet paper, etc.
Does the Barn provide laundry service?
No. But we do have laundry machines and dryers that you can use. They're free and we provide detergents, laundry baskets, etc.
What am I missing here, I know there's something I should be bringing that I'm just not quite...?
Could it be bug spray? Sun block? We have both on hand but these things tend to deplete quickly, so do bring some with you, or remember to pick some up at the local pharmacy (you will likely need to use both.)
Does the Barn provide meals?
No. While the Barn does have a fully equipped kitchen with two refrigerators, lots of pots, pans and skillets, plates, glasses, and silverware, a rather unusual looking but totally functional ice cream maker, spices, coffee and a working sink, it is up to the Fellows to stock their own food.
Is there a store nearby?
Yes. Several. There's the IGA (normal large supermarket), farmers markets, as well as fresh seafood available daily at the docks.
Oh, right, sorry, yes. Nearby-ish. You can take a nice 1.6 mile stroll, or a nicer 1.6 mile bike ride, or if you have a car you can take that, which is less nice but perhaps more useful.
Being that it's summer, can we--?
Were you going to say "Bar-B-Que"? Absolutely. We almost demand it. I don't think there's been a summer yet where Fellows have snubbed cookouts.
You did say that there are bathrooms, right?
Of course; we're spartan but we're not medieval. There are bathrooms on both floors of the barn. The upstairs bathroom has only a toilet and sink, and the downstairs bathroom has both of those plus a standing shower. There is also an outdoor shower, which most folks seem to love to use in the summer. (Actually, to be more precise, the bathroom upstairs does have a shower, but it is broken and has served as a storage place for an equally broken conga for at least the last few years.)
What about internet access?
Wait, what ?
This answer is split-dedicated to those certain Former Fellows ca. 2000 - 2010 who described their time at the Barn as "One of the richest experiences thinkable! (But I almost died from lack of web-exposure, please please please do something about this horrible blight on an otherwise stellar environment!)" and those few ca. 2010-2013 who described their time at the Barn as "One of the richest experiences thinkable! (But I almost died from having such easy internet access, please please please do something about this horrible blight on an otherwise stellar environment!)". It goes to show: you really can't please all artists all the time!
Note: any further requests from incoming Fellows that we not share the Wi-Fi password with them will be met solely with laughter and the gleeful dissemination of a terrible truth: our Wi-Fi is not password protected! You and your dubious discipline are on your own!
Does the Barn have a computer?
If you want to call it that. There is one computer on hand that sits between a fax machine (that can't receive faxes) and a desk lamp (that may have a dead bulb). It serves as a super rudimentary internet access terminal (mostly for the entertainment of watching Explorer crash the system while chugging through a simple search term). For more frequent and long-term use, we ask that you bring your own and tap into our free and passwordless Wi-Fi.
What about a TV?
Yes. But we hope you won't be watching a lot of that. We have a TV which gets no reception at all, but can be used with our DVD-player and VCR in the upstairs commons area (which, by the time of this writing, may be as usable as that fax machine). We also have many, many books which we can promise will not malfunct any time soon. And a treaure trove of LPs (yes, vinyl) of mostly classical music, and a turntable to scratch them on.
How do I get mail forwarded to me?
The Foundation maintains a PO Box to which you can have mail sent.
How do I access the box?
The mail is delivered daily. Or usually daily. Often enough. What's so important that can't wait? Get back to work!
Is there somewhere to park my car?
Yes. We have a large driveway / lawn. (No doing "doughnuts", please.)
Do you have any bicycles I can borrow?
Yes. We have several bikes on hand for Fellows to use.
Can I bring my spouse/psychotherapist/drinking buddy/etc.?
Fellows may invite day-guests whenever they like. Guests who spend the night, however, are limited to weekends and must share the Fellows' rooms. We try to keep overnight weekend guests to a minimum, as well, so Fellows must inform Rex Lau, who lives on the premises year-round, and their fellow Fellows before guests arrive.
Can I bring my dog/cat/lizard/etc.?
Actually, this is often just fine. Fellows should speak with Rex about whether the Barn is suitable for their pets before their residency month begins. Also, Fellows must contact their fellow Fellows to make sure that no one has an allergy to (or fear of) their animal friends.
I've always wanted to write Edward Albee a letter. Would he get it if I sent it to you?
Absolutely. You can write him at the address listed on our contact page. And, yes, he will sign a book or photo if you'd like to send one to him. Please do not, however, send an email asking for an autograph--we will not respond to those. Send him a real letter and he will send you a real signature. Send him an email and you will test our delete key.
Something else you would like to know? Don't be shy. Your inquiry would help alert us to the need for its presence here. Call 212-226-2020 or email: info [at] albeefoundation.org
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