Two portrait sketch drawings

Art residency in a cafe

Time to be more out-there artwise.

So I put together a proposal for an art residency in a cafe. The idea is to draw people's portraits every day throughout a single month. 

Excited! It's going to be a challenge.

The proposal

For anyone interested in doing something similar, here are some details.

Outline of the idea

I had a rough idea for the residency: to work in situ everyday, in a public, easily accessible location. The aim - to hone my portrait drawing skills, connect with people and market myself as a creative person.


By now I've lived in Salisbury for a year and explored so many cafes. I'm a big cafe fan. So many to choose from. Cafes by the river, with views of Salisbury Cathedral, with snug sofas, with wood burning stoves, in the middle of the market square, in ancient buildings 600 years old... each has it's own character and special featutres.

I picked my top three, researched those online, and then homed in on my first choice. I decided to submit to one cafe only, in the first instance.

Structure of the proposal

  1. Covering letter
    Brief intro stating what I am submitting and why.
  2. Proposal details
    As succinct as possible - explaining, what, where, how long and the benefits for everyone involved (artist, host, customers).
  3. About
    Paragraph about who I am with brief experience.
  4. Images
    A4 sheet of example of 4 portraits.

Four sketched portraits


How I submitted the proposal + response from the café

I stapled the sheets together, popped them in a C4 envelope and dropped off the proposal in person. As described in the video, I was feeling bouncy after a vigorous and frosty walk into town, and emotionally energised by that 'releasing your idea into the real world where it can be rejected' transition. So I bounced into the cafe and sort of bounced the proposal at the owner. She did look a little bit surprised by my 'hello, I have a proposal for you' announcement, but she was very gracious about it.

So afterwards, I was doubting myself, hoping I didn't come across as totally eccentric. On the other hand, I am a bit eccentric and what can you do about it?


So all is well that ends (or in this case, starts well): early this week, I received a very positive email from the cafe owner saying 'yes we love the idea', and 'let's meet after Christmas to take it further'.

So I won't divulge any further information, but next year hopefully I will be in a position to reveal the location and set up a booking event where people can book slots to come and have their portrait drawn at the cafe.

Watch this space, especially if you live in Salisbury.

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