As you prepare for your residency, here are some things to be aware of.
"It was great to vibe with other artists and hear about their work and experiences. It deepens my work and pushes further understanding of my craft by reflecting on my own practice." Milta Ortiz (2017)
The Djerassi Program is located in a spectacular rural setting in the Santa Cruz Mountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean, yet is within easy driving distance of San Francisco and the rest of the Bay Area.
Our simple and cozy facilities are located on a converted 1960s cattle ranch. Buildings are rustic and safe, and each room is unique, with accommodations ranging from barn lofts and studios, to live/work spaces in an authentic ranch home. Each guest is assigned a private studio, which includes a bed (linens and towels provided), workspace (differs depending on discipline), and access to a full bathroom which may be shared with one other person. Please bring any toiletries you will need including shampoo and body soap. Laundry facilities are available.
The weather here is changeable, coastal weather, so we recommend bringing layers. Temperatures over a month can range anywhere from 40 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit (4 to 32 degrees Celsius), so packing both cool and warm weather clothing is advisable. Fog and wind occur year round. The rainy season extends from October through May, but there are sunny days all through this period. It may be helpful to check out this weather forecast for a nearby town.
The property is located 40 miles south of San Francisco and 15 miles west of Palo Alto. The special quality of the residency experience centers around its genuine “retreat” atmosphere. There is no access to public transportation from the Ranch. Rides to town for errands are provided by the staff once a week. Transportation to and from the San Francisco International Airport is provided by the Program on the first day and last day of each session.
Artists cannot be gone from the Program for more than 3 days over the course of their month-long residency. We ask that if you must be gone, it not be in the first days of the residency.
Overnight guests are not allowed. We can recommend local accommodations.
Pets are not allowed. Exceptions are made only for registered service animals.
Be advised that due to our rural location, we share our home with wild critters of all sorts, from deer and rabbits to snakes and spiders.
Artists should be able to practice their work independently without assistance and provide their own materials and tools. We have a small workshop onsite. If you foresee your practice requiring use of a shop or shop materials, please call the Barn Shop at (650) 747-0202 and leave a message for the Facilities Manager, David Moody, to discuss what is, and isn’t, available for your use.
Core shop tools available to artists: 15” drill press, jet bandsaw, 2 table saws, chop saw, 3 welders (gas, arc, mig*), wood lathe, router, large compressor and air tools, pottery kiln, 2 pottery wheels (electric, manual), sewing machine. *With permission only.
In addition to individual studios, artists have 24 hours access to communal kitchens and main spaces. A high degree of personal responsibility is required of residents to maintain clean spaces. Artists are required to participate in basic communal chores throughout their stay, and to leave their spaces better than they found them.
Cell service is restricted on the mountain. Verizon is the most reliable, but is still inconsistent, followed by moderate coverage with AT&T and Sprint. Landlines are provided in main spaces for calls within the U.S. or with an international calling card.
Internet service here is poor and not appropriate for streaming media. If there are files you need to download, we advise doing so beforehand, where possible. We have short (10 minutes each) artist presentations for one another the first week, so please put any work you wish to share on a DVD or thumb drive (streaming is not possible).
Our recommendation is to go full digital detox! Set an out of office notice on your e-mail letting everyone know you won’t be responding with the speed we’ve become accustomed to. Tell them, like one resident did, that you’re on another planet. We provide a weekly trip into town, which is a great opportunity to grab a cup of coffee and enjoy the high-speed internet Silicon Valley has to offer.
Equipment available for communal artist use includes: digital projectors, flat screen monitors, DVD player, speakers, small and medium format printers, single bed scanner, an IMac desktop with Adobe Creative Suite 5 and Microsoft Office Suite. Contact us to learn more about equipment availability.
We work towards being an accessible residency experience. If you have any mobility, physical health, mental health, or other need for accommodations, please contact us directly so we can better support you during your time here. Below are a few things we like to make people aware of before their arrival.
Select building entrances, restrooms and communal spaces in the Artists’ Barn, Artists’ House, and Middlebrook Studios are accessible for most mobility devices. We offer a variety of unique live/work spaces, many but not all of which are reached via stairs. The property is nestled in the hills, with little flat ground between buildings. There is a gravel footpath between the Artists’ House and Artists’ Barn that is about 300 steps (an artist counted it for us!) and slightly inclined. There is also a small, steep hill between the Artists’ Barn and Middlebrook Studios.
The Program is currently transitioning towards the use of only scent-free products, but we cannot guarantee an entirely scent-free space at this time. All programmatic laundry (napkins, sheets, towels) is washed with unscented laundry detergent and occasionally bleach. All rooms and common areas are cleaned weekly using traditional cleaning supplies. We do not use air fresheners or similar products.
All residents come together for dinner on weeknights. During and after the meal is a time when natural discussion and cross-pollination often occurs. However, with a dozen people talking at once, some artists with hearing impairments or language barriers have found this time challenging.
Meals are prepared by our chef on weeknights, with artists preparing their own food for breakfast, lunch, and weekends from our stocked kitchens. We do our best to accommodate all dietary restrictions and needs when grocery shopping and cooking.
All restrooms are gender-neutral.
We aspire to ensure that every artist’s individual practice of religious observance is possible, with logistical support, in order to make the space accessible to artists coming from diverse backgrounds. This support could take the form of meeting dietary needs, setting aside a space for daily practice, providing logistical support for the marking of religious holidays, whether independently or as an open and optional group activity, or whatever other needs artists might have. If you have questions as to whether your religious needs can be met, please reach out to staff ahead of your residency to work out a plan.
A full listing of AA meetings in San Mateo County can be found here. We can work with you to find the best time and place to attend. There is a San Mateo County Intergroup/24-Hour Helpline at (650) 577-1310.
Our rural location makes trips off the mountain time-consuming and require advance planning. If you foresee having any physical or mental health needs, or other needs while you are here, please speak directly with staff so we can best support you. We welcome any questions or concerns.
Your accommodations are available only for the dates indicated in your award letter. Because of the residency orientation and tour of the property, artists are required to arrive at the ranch on the first day of the residency.
There is no public transportation directly to or from the Djerassi Program. Air travel should be booked to arrive and depart from the San Francisco International Airport (SFO). Artists arriving early to the San Francisco Bay Area should return to the airport on the first day of their session to meet up with staff. Specifics will be provided.
The Program staff is only available to pick people up at the airport on the first day of each session and return people to the airport on the last day. If for any reason you do not schedule your flights on the first and last day, or if you require additional transportation to or from the airport during the session, we cannot guarantee staff availability.
We understand that things come up and being away from teh Program briefly may be necessary. However, you cannot be gone for more than a total of three days throughout your entire residency.
ARRIVALS: Arrival travel arrangements for each artist much be finalized 30 days in advance of the residency dates. If you need to be provided with transportation from the airport, we ask that you schedule your reservations such that your flight arrives within the hours of 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Artists arriving by car should arrive between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Note that it is much easier to travel while it is still daylight. The ranch can be tricky to find and Bear Gulch Road is a very narrow, winding road. Please be sure to print the directions from our website and bring the gate code.
DEPARTURES: If you need to be provided with transportation to the airport, please schedule your reservations so that your flight departs within the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The airport is an hour away and you need to get there two hours in advance. This means we need to leave the ranch at least three hours before your flight. No early morning departing flights please.
We coordinate taking artists to the airport in small groups, so if your flight leaves later in the day you may have to spend some time at the airport before your flight departs.
All artists much check out by 3:00 p.m. on the last day of their session; there is no flexibility with this arrangement.
TRANSPORTATION FOR MATERIALS AND ERRANDS: Local transportation for purchasing materials and running errands is provided by the Program staff once a week, usually on Fridays. Artists wishing to explore the area further should plan on making their own transportation arrangements.
Visitor Visa Category: B-2 (for tourism)
Artists who are citizens of a foreign country should obtain a nonimmigrant tourist visa for a temporary stay.
U.S. Embassy or Consulate
There are several steps to apply for a visa. The order of these steps and how you complete them may vary by U.S. Embassy or Consulate. Please consult the instructions on the U.S. Embassy or Consulate for your country.
Visa Waiver Program (VWP)
Tourist or business travelers who are citizens of participating countries may be eligible to visit the United States without a visa. Visits must be 90 days or less, and travelers must meet all requirements.
Canada and Bermuda
Citizens of Canada and Bermuda generally do not need visas for tourism and visits.
Our Survival Manual is provided to each artist prior to their arrival at the Program.