Writers' Residence Wiki: The Studios at Key West

Website: http://www.tskw.org

Location: Key West, Florida

Setting: Cottages near the historic armory in Key West. The Mango Tree House, the only one when I was there, has a private courtyard and a deck sitting high in the branches of a mango tree.

Cost:. No cost for the residency, other than a community outreach program.

Approximate Number of Residents: When I was there it was just one, but now they have several other cottages in the compound.

Writers Only or Other Arts: Writers and visual artists. They receive more applications from visual artists, and would love for more writers to apply.

Living Accommodations:. Work and living are in one space, with full kitchens, bedrooms, and work areas.

Workspace Accommodations:. Desks and great arm chairs.

Food:. No food is supplied. There is a store close by, though, and when I was there they supplied me with a bicycle with a nice basket for hauling groceries the entire 3 weeks.


What You Should Know Before You Go: If having someone cook for you and cater to you is part of what you require from a residency, don't go here. However I found the freedom to eat whenever I wanted a definite plus, and while food is not cheap in Key West, you can find ways to economize.

Also if you don't do well alone, you might reconsider here. Though there are now other residents, so I'm not sure how much socialization there is, I was completely alone except when I went over to the Armory or went out with people I met there. I loved that time spent in my own head, but some may not.

No problem with internet or phone service, and my house had a TV with cable, though it was kind of iffy.

Travel to Key West is never cheap, but if you have the stamina for it, I recommend flying into Miami and taking a shuttle down to KW. It saved me about $200 I think. But it is a long 4 and a half hours from Miami to KW on a bus, so be prepared.

What You Should Take With You: Sunscreen. Tank tops and shorts and a bathing suit. A surge protector for power surges in storms. A flashlight for when the power goes out, which I hear is a not infrequent happening, though it didn't happen to me. That's about all you need to pack. Unless you are going in the dead of winter, in which case you might need a sweater on cool nights.

What You Should Know While You're There: Stay away from tourist traps if you are short on money, as most writers and artists are. But make sure to take advantage of the terrific arts and music scene in Key West. One of the strongest artists communities anywhere. There are some great bars where locals go, with salsa dancing and local bands and an assortment of characters worthy of Hemingway. Speaking of Hemingway, go to see his house, just for the great stories the guides tell about old time KW and Hemingway.

The staff of the Studios is so wonderful. They really are there for you whenever you need them, and so welcoming. And the Armory next door has art exibits, musical reviews, and all sorts of wonderful things going on.

The Studios has a library card, and the library is a few short blocks away. I must have checked out and read twenty books while I was down there.

Feedback From Those Who Have Been There: .Loved it loved it loved it. I fell in love with Key West, and by the end of my time was ready to move there, until I realized that a 200 square ft studio rents for over $1000. So the opportunity to live there, if only for a month, is a tremendous gift.