Laine Cunningham
Art practice 

I am a novelist creating literary, historical and crossover fiction and select nonfiction.

Highlights and challenges 

The premier highlight of this residency program is the 24/7 onsite support from the administrator.
Another top benefit is the breakfast that is provided by the center; this time allows all the artists to gather and share thoughts, gather support, or simply sit quietly and listen to others.
Biggest challenge was the fact that I arrived in a rental car...big mistake! Leave that option aside and allow the staff to care for your transportation needs.

Expectations vs. experience 

This was my first international residency so I wasn't sure at all what I would find. I had attended six residency programs inside the US before going to Ginestrelle, so I had experienced a range of facilities, staff support, and challenges already.
What I found in Assisi blew me away! The number of other artists in residence was just enough to offer an inspiring variety yet still felt very intimate and allowed for warm relationships to develop. The facilities were at the top of the list...I've never been housed in such a nice place for any other residency. And the care and nurturing offered by the staff was unparalleled.


I had planned to conduct research in the region for a historical epic, and thanks to the assistance of the administrator, was able to conduct that research to a large degree. On days when I stayed at the residency house, I revised a different novel to meet my agent's recommendations. I didn't think I would finish the revisions while I was there but I did, and was able to conduct a bit of additional work on the same novel due to finishing early.


Because Assisi is so small, I assumed that I would quickly finish my research there and want to move on to other cities/towns. The reverse was true. The area offered such a rich variety of cultural components that I couldn't get to everything that was available. And by the end of my three weeks, I had fallen in love with the town! I truly didn't want to leave.
In addition to those effects on the historical epic, the time at the residency program has deepened my commitment to my art. The relationships that formed while I was there have continued; I am still in contact with some of the other individual artist. We have exchanged emails and I even went to visit one in her country last month. That visit became the start of another novel idea, and has lead me to investigate residency programs in that country.