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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Really Cool (and Humane) Idea that Should Get Permanently Funded and Replicated the World Over: Mothers in Arts Residency (MA Residency), Amsterdam, The Netherlands


Mothers in Arts Residency (MA Residency) will be a studio space combined 
with a communal nursery. The Residency is specialized in supporting 
merging women artists, who are also mothers. Mothers in Arts is free of 
charge; the artists agree on take turns to work and look after each others 
children around an organized work schedule.

MA Residency provides studio space for 3 artists and a communal nursery 
for their children. Accommodation is not provided. The residency invites 
emerging woman artists to apply whose children are between 3 months an 
24 months old. The Residency gives new mothers an opportunity to 
continue their artistic development.

The trial Residency takes place in Amsterdam, the Netherlands between 
March 2017 and May 2017, and will be finished with an exhibition in 
June 2017.

Mothers in Arts is a small initiative founded by Csilla Klenyanszki, 
who lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

The idea of this project comes from my own experiences, which are based 
on the first year of motherhood, the social and the daycare situation in the 
Netherlands & my particular situation as an emigrant artist, without a 
family network.

The inspiration for this project comes from a “self-directed, open-source artist 
in residency”, called ARIM. An Artist in Residency in Motherhood ( was founded by Lenka 
Clyton and wants to “empower and inspire artists who are also mothers”. 
I am currently doing a project, called “Pillars of home” during ARIM.

The Residency begins as a small project, because it is supported from the 
Stipendium Program for Emerging Artist (Werkbijdrage Jong Talent), awarded 
by the Mondriaan Foundation, based in the Netherlands. This is also the 
reason, that the Residency will be a trial residency first as the financial 
resources are limited.

The studio invites emerging women artists to work in the studio when 
their child is between 3 months to 2 years old. The Residency is designed 
around the childcare policies of the Netherlands: 3 months is the given 
maternity leave and 2 years is the minimum age, when children are 
provided with 2 days a week subsidized daycare. This “in between” 
period is crucial for an artist-parent: through the strict schedule and the 
constant attention which a baby requires, critical practice becomes 

The trial residency takes place between March - May 2017 and will be 
finished with an exhibition in June 2017. The trial residency is really 
important to obtain further funding, which would make possible 
extending the Residency and making it permanent.

The project exists with the hope that it can help artists to combine their 
artistic practice with early parenthood. Through the project I wish to put 
forward a discussion about a problem that affects many emerging artist 
women when they become parents. Even though, many artists have 
children, parenthood remains stigmatized in the art world. Therefore, 
besides the physical and mental challenges of childbearing - which are 
consuming enough - an added feeling of isolation can be felt by many 

This situation isn’t exclusive for artists of course, it is a common dilemma 
for most working mothers. After becoming a parent maintaining a 
professional life becomes difficult.

The project is geared to mother artists and by drawing attention to this 
hidden segment of the art world I want to stimulate mothers in general. 
By showing and promoting their existence, I hope that the professional 
and also the general public realizes and confirms their importance as a 
matter of public health.

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