A Quick Look at the Joan Mitchell Foundation's New Urban Oasis for Artists

When we last looked at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, we called the New York-based grant maker "the Herman Melville of arts funding" because its namesake didn't achieve commercial success during her lifetime. The foundation offers grants to artists, painters and sculptors, but also recognizes such individuals can truly thrive in an intimate and nurturing environment.

We still stand by our analogy.

Recent news brings us the announcement of a new, $12.5 million artist retreat located in New Orleans' 7th Ward. The "face" of the center is a 1790s mansion that includes offices, a kitchen and guest rooms. Better yet, toward the back of the property, a $4 million, 8,000 square-foot structure houses spacious studios that most New York artists would give a kidney for.

This location is an addition to the center's main campus, consisting of several buildings, located on approximately two acres in the historic Faubourg Tremé neighborhood. Most interestingly, the new site also serves as the nucleus of the foundation's Artist-in-Residence Program.

All in all, it's a pretty sweet set-up. The Artist In Residence Program for 2015 and 2016 will be open to past Painters & Sculptors and MFA Grant Program Recipients of the foundation. The foundation, in fact, will make efforts to notify past recipients when applications are being accepted. According to its site, the foundation anticipates an open call for applications for 2017, which will be posted on its website, so stay tuned for that.

One last thing: Since the Joan Mitchell Foundation is actually based in New York, you may be asking yourself, "Why New Orleans?" First off, the foundation, like many others, came to New Orleans to help after Hurricane Katrina and decided to stay. Secondly, New Orleans, while still a major city, affords the kind of intimacy that you can't find in New York. Foundation CEO Christa Blatchford noted that Mitchell, as an artist herself, was somebody who was "continuously inviting people to come and stay with her, to push ideas around together. So she understood the importance of giving people different space, giving people different audiences, and those types of things."

And with the opening of a new $12.5 million retreat, participating Artists-in-Residence will have exactly that.