Thanks so much in your interest in volunteering at the Art Monastery Project!
A little bit about the participating in the Art Monastery as a Worktrader: this economical option allows you to be part of the Art Monastery while saving money and exploring the Italian countryside. In exchange for paying a small fee and working with us 6 days a week, you will get a place to sleep and a chance to be an important part of keeping the Art Monastery functioning. As an invaluable part of the team, worktraders do a variety of jobs, including cooking, cleaning, gardening, data entry, grocery shopping, car maintenance, and various forms of support for art projects and performances. You’ll eat meals with the Artmonks, meet visiting artists and other Worktraders, and may even have a chance to be part of performances or art installations.
Worktraders commit to being full members of our community, which means attending daily check-ins and other mandatory meetings, attending two communal meals per day, doing meal prep or meal clean once daily, and working an average of 5 hours/day, 6 days/week and paying €50/week to cover the cost of food. Worktraders sleep outdoors in their own tent (or rent one of ours for €1/day) and enjoy three solid meals/day. Travel expenses not included. Applications accepted on an ongoing basis for worktrade exchanges between two weeks and three months.
Below you’ll find additional detailed information that will hopefully answer more questions, although of course feel free to email email@example.com if you think of anything we’ve missed!
Please read through the information below and see the link on the bottom of the page to apply if you think the Art Monastery is right for you. We accept general worktraders from March through May and September through December. Please send in your application at least one month in advance.
Spring and Fall Worktraders
About the Monastery
We are a group of community-minded artists who are committed to exploring the sustainability and efficiency of communal monastic living to art-making and the creative process. The monastery is located 75 minutes NE of Rome, in the exquisitely restored town of Labro, fairly deep in the Italian countryside. While the monastery is a functioning luxury hotel under separate management, we focus our energies on the creation of art (music, performance, site specific installation, visual art) and educational workshops (yoga, meditation, singing, painting, etc.).
We ask our volunteers to agree to a minimum of 5 hours of work per day, 6 days a week, in exchange for a place to stay (in a tent), the possibility to participate in art projects, and participation as an active member of our community. We also ask our volunteers to chip in €50/week merely to cover the costs for food, transportation, utilities, internet, office supplies, etc. We hope one day to offer a volunteer program that is cost-neutral on both ends, however as we are still a start up non-profit, we have to do everything possible just to cover costs.
Dates, Availability, and Sleeping Arrangements
We will accept volunteers on a rolling basis for stays March through May and September through December, with stays between two weeks and three months (to be assessed weekly). (If you are interested in coming for our three month summer season, please see the summer work trade description here.) Unfortunately, due to our limited space, we do not have indoor accommodations for worktraders, though worktraders do have access to our communal living room (with fireplace), bathroom, and kitchen at any time. You are responsible for bringing your own tent to sleep in (or rent ours), sleeping bags, bath towels, and toiletries; we have one bathroom with shower (no bath tub). You will keep your personal items in your tent, so please pack accordingly. Also keep in mind that if you’re visiting during the off season (October – May), this area can be bitterly cold (including sometimes snow in December), so bring extra clothing and bedding just in case.
What It’s Like to Volunteer at the Art Monastery
Participation in art projects is not guaranteed, but we do try to include everyone’s skills as often as possible. We ourselves are a community of highly self-motivated artists and activists, however the reality of doing this day to day often means long hours in the office so that we can glory in the few hours that we actually get to make art! If you’re interested in making art while you’re here, we welcome and encourage you to use the time outside of your 5 hours to pursue your own creative skills. In your off hours, you’re also free to hike, explore nearby towns (including the beautiful Lake Piediluco, the biggest waterfall in Europe, and the tallest mountains in Italy south of the Alps), or collaborate with the other artists from the community. However, we have only one automobile, so you should expect to do any exploring from the monastery by foot, bus, train, or through careful coordination with the car. You should also know that while we have a really magical community atmosphere, we all work really hard and we all make art happen on our own in the little cracks and crevices of “art time” that we manage to carve out.
What are the Days Like?
From our volunteers, we may ask from your 5 hours for help in the office (an opportunity to develop administrative arts skills, everything from data entry to marketing, coffee cup cleaning to web design) to household/community chores (building projects, cooking, cleaning, ground maintenance, garden tending, bonus points for experience in car maintenance!) to help with the art project we’re creating that week (set building, prop making, gear carrying, art installation prep, etc.). Every week at the Art Monastery is totally different, so it’s quite hard to predict what you might be doing while you’re here, but it is almost guaranteed not to be boring! Depending on your interest and experience, we try to adjust the work to what people like to do and are good at….however on some days, it still means that someone with a Masters degree may have to move the pile of firewood or clean the toilet! We all participate in chores and a certain amount of cooking and cleaning that don’t count as part of our “work” hours for the day.
Applications accepted on a rolling basis March through May and September through December. We appreciate getting applications at least one month in advance.
To apply, please fill out our online application form.