The Kau Arts Academy was established in 2011 by award-winning filmmaker Mary Jordan with the goal of supporting established and emerging artists working in a variety of media. The Academy actively pursues its statutory aims in Estonia and abroad through a wide range of direct activities supporting projects and programs.
The Academy is housed in the newly renovated Kõue (or Kau) Manor in Estonia, near Kose in Harju County, just outside Tallinn, the capital city. The historic Manor is a special retreat for art making, collaborative projects and scholarly discourse in an idyllic and unique setting. Kau Manor provides both a luxurious escape from routine and an excellent working environment, which includes fully-equipped studio and exhibition spaces that allow artists to focus on their craft and fully indulge their creative processes.
An historic early 19th century Manor
History of Kau Manor
Home to a world famous explorer Otto von Kotzebue in the early 19th century, Kau Manor is deeply entrenched in Estonian history. First erected in 1379, the Manor's thick and irregular walls suggest that the building was originally a medieval vassal stronghold. As a result of the extensive restoration effort the Manor has retained as much of its original detailing and decoration as possible. While preserving the architectural integrity and charm of the century-old house, the restoration was also concerned with equipping the Manor with modern amenities and all the comforts of contemporary living.
The Manor's Coach House has been renovated meticulously and now houses two spacious studios for artists with adjoining living quarters, as well as several exhibition spaces, a multifunctional building suitable for theatre and performance, with four hectares of surrounding land wich holds the Kau sculpture park. The facilities include a full spa and a ballroom suitable for formal occasions or artistic events. The ballroom is equipped with a removable screen, video projector and surround sound system.
A creative hub for artists and curators
Every year, the Kau Arts Academy invites between ten and fifteen artists to come to Estonia to devote two to six weeks to creative projects. The Arts Academy is now accepting applications for residencies.
Since its inception, the Kau Academy has quickly become the creative hub for our expanding community of artists, curators, partners, collaborators, and international visitors. Our unique residency program supports the creation and presentation of artists and curators working in diverse fields of contemporary art practices and critical discourse. The Artist-in-Residence program is designed to provide artists, curators and producers of all fields with a supportive community where they can focus on their own artistic practice and research, as well as collaboration with other residents of the Academy.
Designed to host a continuous stream of artist-in-residence, we offer both long-term and short-term residencies, which culminate in a year-end exhibition in our main exhibition hall. The residents hosted by the program are welcome to stay and work at the Academy for an agreed period of two weeks up to two months either at a guest room or in the studio (depending on availability and need) to create new work, develop new ideas, or work on in-progress projects with an outcome in the form of an exhibition, performance, lecture, etc. Artists are assigned studio space based on project needs, and gain full access to all our facilities.
The principle of our approach is collaboration through strategic partnerships and alliance with a range of institutions to provide residents with work space, full technical and logistical assistance, exposure, and access to any other particular need required to optimize the residency experience. Our year-round public programming and panel discussions provide our residents with the unique ability of exchange with some of the forerunners and innovators of the contemporary art world. In addition to artists-in-residence, we annually host a range of international curators. Curators work closely with our residents on their final exhibitions. The Academy also offers a unique mentorship program to resident artists, and is closely involved with the production of artists books.
Resident artists are asked to donate a work of art to the Academy at the end of their stay. Donated works become part of the Kau Collection, which is utilized in our curatorial studies initiative. The Kau Collection is permanently on view in the Manor through a series of rotational exhibitions curated by our resident curator. All studio rooms are also available on request for sessions, seminars, courses, trainings, recordings and concerts.
Disciplines and media: Visual Art, Sculpture, Photography, Theater, Performing Arts, Dance, Textile Art, Fashion, Music, Literature, New Media, Animation, Film Making, Architecture, Curatorial, Administrative, Screenwriting, Poetry, Web Optimization, Etc.
- Duration of residencies: 2 weeks until 2 months (depending on the project)
- Number of artists resident at one time: 4
- Guest rooms: 9 (18 m2)
- Studios: 2 (59 m2 and 70 m2)
- Companions allowed: Partners
- Application who/how: Digital Application
- Application dates: Three times a year
- Selection procedure: By curatorial team
- Presentation of artists' work: Arranged on a case-by-case basis
- Residency Setting: Rural
- Available Facilities:
- Internet Connection (WiFi)
- Mac with digital video and sound editing possibilities
- Video projector and stereo sound system
- Lighting equipment
- Writing and Reading room
- Private room upstairs (with balconies)
- Restaurant + Kitchen (in a building next door)
- Sauna + pool (in the same building)
- Cost: 30 eur/day (including breakfast)
Our residency program is selective and highly competitive, as we seek to curate a diverse range of resident projects at all times. Available to both established and emerging artists, our jurists consider applicants' work history, media, scale, and other criteria.
Please contact us for more information and to request an application form.
Icy & Sot
Fostering tomorrows artists and art enthusiasts
Kau Mini Academy's goal is to educate young people (6-12 years) from various social backgrounds, in order to broaden their understanding of the world and introduce them to contemporary art, audio-visual media and music in a comfortable practical atmosphere. Our aim of the KMA is not necessarily to cultivate new artists in the future, but to grow a more analytical, open-minded and informed young art audience.
Kau Mini Academy offers a wide variety of workshops in wood working, jewelry, painting, drawing and photography. We also host a year-round series of artist talks and lectures, panel discussions and film screenings.
This year the focus of the Kau Mini Academy is on film, as Estonia is celebrating the 100th anniversary of professional filmmaking. From July 1-6, we organize an art camp for children (6 – 10 years) to make art, learn and have fun. The workshops will be held by the directors from the Estonian Puppet Animation Studio showing youngsters how to create puppet animation.
Kau Academy is also actively involved in the local school community, through weekly art classes given by resident artists at the Harmi Elementary School. For more information about this work, check out The Harmi School Project!
Only 50 kilometers outside of Tallinn
In order to come to Kau Manor take Tartu highway (road number 2). Drive outside Tallinn past Kose and Kose-Risti. After Kose-Risti you will reach the 55. kilometer road sign and a road goes off to the right. You will also see road signs for Triigi village and a smaller sign for Kõue-Triigi Mõis (shows that there is a 6 kilometers long trip to the Manor itself). Turn right and go straight until the road splits, then keep to the right again - after that you will be able to see the Manor on the left.
Education & Development
Books and Publishing
Chairman, Sotheby's North and South America
Chairman of the Board of MM Group
Odili Donald Odita
Antonio de Luca
Oriol Solà Pardell
CEO, Costa Partners
Fernando Romero Enterprise
Chairman of the Board and Co-Founder of BDG Holdings
Antonio Sanchez Moya
Your donation is 100% tax deductible and proceeds will support Kau Academy's core residency program and services, its yearly public programs, and multiple exposure opportunities for supported artists, curators, and the projects they develop.
Please get in touch if you are interested in donating to support the Kau Arts Academy.