History

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, Bob discovered Captiva in the 1960s; he moved permanently in 1971. Originating 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 US Presidents. Bob readily integrated into that serene and eclectic milieu.

Over the years, he gradually acquired adjacent properties between the beach (Gulf of Mexico) and the bay (Pine Island Sound), amassing over 20 contiguous acres. He became Captiva’s largest residential landowner, endearing himself to island residents who were concerned with the threat of encroaching commercial development. He acquired 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 sq ft multimedia space, and now the centerpiece of the complex. Captiva remained Bob’s home and primary workplace until his death in 2008. 

With the inauguration of the Rauschenberg Residency in fall 2012, the studios, houses and property have once again been repurposed into a creative center that welcomes artists of all disciplines from around the world to live, work, and create. Created as one of the Foundation’s major strategic initiatives, the residency program will serve over 50 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 10 artists at one time. Jungle Road, a meandering path filled with Hong Kong orchids, Strangler Figs, Bougainvillea and Gumbo-limbo trees, connects the property from beach to bay. This harmonious juxtaposition of natural landscape, modern and adaptable studios and comfortable housing provides the perfect backdrop for the artistic process. The entire facility is infused with its unique history, beauty and tranquility. The spirit of Robert Rauschenberg is everywhere.