The Rauschenberg Residency is located on the grounds of Robert Rauschenberg’s former home and studio on Captiva Island in southwest Florida. After searching for a home outside New York City, Rauschenberg discovered Captiva in the 1960s; he moved there permanently in 1971. Established as a farming island and fishing community in the early 1900s, the island became known as a tropical paradise with an aesthetic that attracted artists, conservationists, and U.S. presidents. Rauschenberg readily integrated into the serene and eclectic milieu.
Over the years, Rauschenberg gradually acquired adjacent properties between the beach (on the Gulf of Mexico) and the bay (on Pine Island Sound), amassing over twenty contiguous acres. The artist became Captiva’s largest residential landowner, endearing himself to island residents who were concerned about the threat of encroaching commercial development. He purchased and thoughtfully repurposed existing residences to create working spaces until the late 1980s, when he constructed his last and largest studio: a state-of-the-art, two-story, 8,000-square-foot multimedia space that is now the centerpiece of the complex. Captiva remained Rauschenberg’s home and primary workplace until his death in 2008.
With the fall 2012 inauguration of the Rauschenberg Residency, the studios, houses, and property now function together as a creative center that welcomes artists of all disciplines from around the world to live, work, and create. Established as one of the foundation’s major strategic initiatives, the residency program serves more than seventy artists annually.
The site includes the main studio for visual and performing arts, a dance studio, a writing cottage, three multipurpose studios, a communal dining space, an historical Fish House on stilts, and four houses that can accommodate a total of ten artists. Jungle Road, a meandering path bordered by Hong Kong orchids, strangler figs, bougainvillea, and gumbo-limbo trees, runs through the property from beach to bay. The harmonious juxtaposition of natural landscape, modern and adaptable studios, and comfortable housing provides a perfect backdrop for the artistic process. The facility is infused with beauty and tranquility and marked by its unique history. The spirit of Robert Rauschenberg is everywhere.