Local Creative Bree Stallings Heads To France For Her Second International Artist Residency

On Sunday, January 29, local artist Bree Stallings will board a plane to Paris, France. From there, she will make a three-hour journey through the Champagne region to Chateau d’Orquevaux, an 1890s hunting lodge that houses a competitive international residency program for visual artists, writers, and musicians. Previous inhabitants of this historic home include philosopher Denis Diderot and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery (of The Little Prince). Chateau d’Orquevaux has space for 15 artists at a time, with residencies lasting two or four weeks. Stallings beat out over 250 other applicants for the chance to stay for four weeks in February. Stallings will be immersed in the French countryside and given time to explore, experiment, and fail. “Plus, they have goats!” Stallings exclaims.

A renowned muralist and fine artist in her own right, Bree is also widely known across Charlotte for the work she does as Director of Artistic Experiences at Blumenthal Performing Arts. As Art Director for Immersive Van Gogh Charlotte, the inaugural Charlotte International Arts Festival, and We Are Hip Hop, she consistently creates opportunities for other creatives and finds innovative ways to inject dollars into the artist economy. Her public art can be found at the Metropolitan in Midtown, around Camp North End, along Monroe Rd, near Bank of America Stadium, and across the Greater Charlotte area.

This is the second international artist residency Stallings has secured within the past year. In February 2022, she traveled to Listowel, Ireland for a month-long stay at Olive Stack Gallery. “Listowel was an unbelievably gorgeous place, and going from an intense year filled with huge career projects to a town of less than 5,000 was refreshing. Everyone was so tight-knit and welcoming. It was wonderful to slow down and focus on my work,” shares Stallings.

During her Ireland residency, Stallings collected leaves, flowers, and other flora from walks around town and down by the river. She used them to practice the bio-printing techniques present in her pieces from that era. The Gaston County Museum of Art and History recently acquired one of those artworks for its permanent collection.

“I simultaneously focused on the local Irish folklore and the animals attached to Japanese folklore, where the other part of my family is from. I sought to bind the branches of my family tree together through research and connection to the animal idioms that these places, and humanity at large, lean on for our storytelling,” Stallings explained.

Artist-in-residence programs like those at Chateau d’Orquevaux and Olive Stack Gallery provide artists with unbridled time to experiment, explore, and get inspired in a place that feels removed from their busy day-to-day lives. Residencies connect creatives to new perspectives and provide the opportunity to learn from and collaborate with each other and the surrounding community.

“Hopefully, other artists will see these experiences I’m having, and if they want to have the same experience, feel inspired to go after it. It’s possible to make time for these magic moments in your life,” says Stallings. “I want to encourage creatives to look past the mountain of no’s – I get them too – and keep searching for the open doors that provide the critical spark we need.”

Stallings will release a French artworks collection after her return in mid-March. Follow her journey and learn how to secure one of those pieces for yourself on Instagram at @breestallingsart.