The New River Gorge Creative Residency at Lafayette Flats

Owners Amy McLaughlin and Shawn Means desire to support the development of creative people by providing a unique opportunity for one Creative each year to live at Lafayette Flats for a one-two month period in the wintertime. The Creative will use this time and space to develop their skills, to devote time to a particular project, and to assist the owners with their goal of providing the “alternative narrative” about West Virginia.

Benefits of the Residency

The primary benefit of the Residency will be the use of the Corten flat (or equivalent) as a private residence and working space for a one-two month period during the winter (valued at $6,500). This luxurious flat is fully furnished, beautifully decorated and will provide the Writer with a place to relax, muse and create. See Flat #2, Corten on The Flats page for more information. Fayetteville is in the heart of The New River Gorge and provides opportunities to commune with nature in one of the most beautiful areas of the United States. See the Visit Fayetteville website for more information on the area. Fayetteville, a bustling tourist destination from May-October, turns into a sleepy small town in the winter and will provide the Creative with a relaxed pace of life and opportunities for interaction with the diverse and eclectic people who make their home in Fayetteville. The Creative will be afforded the opportunity to meet selected community members at a special reception held in his or her honor soon after arrival. 


  • The Creative will live on site the entire time of the Residency.
  • This residency is designed to be a solitary retreat; frequent absences and visitations are discouraged.
  • The Creative will provide at least one blog post each month of the residency for the Lafayette Flats blog reflecting on his or her experiences during the Residency with an eye toward helping to create the alternative narrative of West Virginia mentioned above.
  • The Creative will be asked to provide a security bond in one of the following ways: 1) Place a refundable $1,000 damage deposit with the owners, or 2) Purchase Property Damage Protection insurance in advance at an estimated cost of $100 (non-refundable).
  • The Creative will be responsible for his or her living costs during the Residency. No meals or other necessities will be provided. There are laundry facilities on site.

Selection Criteria:

  • For this residency, Creatives are defined as writers, poets, and visual artists. 
  • A person of integrity who can be entrusted with the Lafayette Flats building and its contents.
  • A person with an interest in learning more about contemporary Appalachia, and a willingness to help craft the alternative narrative mentioned above.


Applications for the Residency will be accepted each year until November 15. Telephone interviews will be conducted with finalists. The chosen Creative will be notified by December 1.

Applications should be forwarded as a single PDF file that includes items 1 – 5 below to Letters of recommendation and direct inquiries about the application process or application status should also be sent to this address.

Letters of recommendation may be sent as a PDF or a Word document attachment. Please have the individual forwarding the recommendation add your name to the subject line. Please do not forward the recommendation in the body of an email. Before a final selection is made, a telephone interview will be done with the references of the candidates under consideration. 

A complete application includes the following documents:

  1. A cover letter that includes: Your contact information including telephone numbers and email address. 
  2. A statement of why you would like to be awarded the Residency. 
  3. The names, telephone numbers and email addresses of the two people who will be providing letters of reference. 
  4. A CV of no more than four pages.
  5. A statement of your scope of work while in Fayetteville.
  6. Two current letters of recommendation for a writer’s residency (forwarded separately).

Past Creatives in Residence

2015 - Eric Shonkwiler

2016 - Mary Ann Henry

2017 - Kathleen M. Jacobs

2018 - Wendy Welch

Coming in 2019! Rosalie Haizlett