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The Max Thelen Studio Residency

The Max Thelen Studio is a studio residency program generously funded by the Fenwick Foundation in commemoration of Max Thelen Jr. The residency aims to support emerging artists by providing free studio space, exhibition opportunity, and exposure to the public for one year.


Prospectus for the Max Thelen Studio Residency

Apply to Call for Entry today 

The Max Thelen Studio Residency provides a quality work space for an emerging artist to create artwork and receive community support. The Residency includes a free art studio for 12 months as well as many additional benefits. Ideal candidates live in Marin, or have significant ties to Marin, and can commit to using the studio and participate in the program activities.

Art Works Downtown offers a diverse mix of studio artists and mediums in the heart of the San Rafael commercial core for almost daily interaction with the public. The Max Thelen Studio is a small, bright studio located on the prime street-level floor of the AWD complex. Art Works Downtown believes that an emerging artist will stimulate new ideas among established AWD studio artists and vice versa. Our community will be better served as they recognize and understand the importance of supporting emerging artists in their career endeavors.


  • Free Art Studio, including utilities, fees and operating costs
  • An environment that is supportive and empathetic to the creative process
  • Two exhibitions, which also provide exhibition experience
  • Waived fees for AWD membership and juried exhibitions
  • Representation on AWD’s newsletter, website, and social media
  • Exposure to large groups of visitors every month during the 2ndFriday Art Walk event
  • Scholarship granted to participate in Marin Open Studios
  • Exposure to Gallery procedures and processes
  • Exposure to the nonprofit arts organization operation


  • Applicants must be in the early stage of their art career with a committed art-making practice.


  • Deadline to apply May 1, 2019
  • Award announced in June of 2019
  • Studio Residency to commence in August 2019 through July 31st 2020
  • Donors Gallery exhibition: date to be determined
  • Founders Gallery exhibition: date to be determined 

To Apply: Apply through . Applicants will be notified of the results via email.

Application requirements include:

  • 5 to 10 images and/or website
  • Up to 5,000 Word Statement introducing yourself as an artist and your artwork
  • Required questions: 
    1. 1. A prime objective of the art studio space is for the selected artist to regularly use the workspace. This is not a showcase studio - It is a work and display studio. How do you envision using the space?
    1. 2. How would an association with AWD artist community benefit you?
    1. 3. What are your career ambitions as an artist?
    1. 4. Name of one recommendation — an arts educator, gallerist, or arts professional is recommended.
    1. 5. Links to support materials including a website.

Click here for a downloadable prospectus

Float a little over this world 36x48in 

Float a Little Over this World ©  Tina von Nachtigal

Tina von Nachtigal

The Max Thelen Studio Residency


Tina von Nachtigal works as a studio artist in San Rafael. A Bay Area native, Tina finds beauty and meaning in her surroundings. From the way dappled light breaks through trees, to the beaches, and the fog that sweeps everything up in its cozy embrace.

After chronic vertigo and photosensitivity made her put down screens and turn back to her true path, fine art, she regained an appreciation for the richness in analog and nature.

Photosensitivity changed the way she viewed the world around her. Foggy overcast days became a necessary shelter from the light. This light sensitivity awakened a keen awareness of her environment and she began having flashes of delicately lit organic forms. These shapes and patterns are present in her work today. In 2017 that she transitioned into producing work that is fully abstract, using acrylics to explore these visions.

She currently resides in Marin County. And she no longer takes for granted the nature that is steps from her door and inspires her to keep her work wild and free.


Naomi Alessandra

Naomi Alessandra TUSSLE

Tussle ©  Naomi Alessandra

The Max Thelen Studio Residency

watercolor, pen & ink, multimedia

Naomi Alessandra studied comparative literature before embarking on a career in fashion illustration and design. Recently she has turned her attention to telling visual stories on a more substantial scale with large works on paper and hand-painted animations. 

“I am interested in the portrayal of the inconsistencies, aberrations, and inherent dynamism of my subjects. Any story worth telling contains characters who embody contradictory impulses, and who mutate depending on the perspective from which they are examined. The multiplicity of the human experience and the impossibility of collapsing a human story into a single narrative fascinates me—that impossibility itself is the story I seek to tell. Visually, this translates into my practice of shoving multiple points of view, varied moments in time, or paradoxical character attributes into one frame.”



Lara Myers The 36 Houses I Have Lived In From Memory Alone

The 138 Houses We Lived In When We Were 10, Drawn From Memory Alon e ©  Lara Myers 

Lara Myers

The Max Thelen Studio Residency

documentary installation art

Lara Myers is an Army brat, the godchild of a Charo back-up singer, a former dancer for the San Francisco band, ArmaGetItOn, and a documentary visual artist who calls Marin County her home. 

In the past two years, her work has been shown at Art Works Downtown in three juried shows: ShelterClimate Change; and Marin Contemporary; and in her Underground Gallery solo show, The 138 Houses We Lived In When We Were 10, Drawn From Memory Alone.

Her materials and techniques vary greatly between her projects, from needlefelting, soft sculpture, and work that enlists the participation and content contribution from other people, such as The 138 Houses installation and the current 9/11 recollection project, An Exact Moment In Time.

“I want to involve people in the process of artmaking by revealing my thought process and working process; demonstrating and allowing people to try each technique; and by encouraging people to convey their stories, memories, recollections and experiences, and then see them translated into collaborative art installations.”

“I need to discover what type of and how much participation, interaction, and contribution people are willing to do in an art project. My self-challenge is to push this type of work to its limits and the Max Thelen Studio Residency at Art Works Downtown is the perfect opportunity and place to do so.”   

Urn sculpture by Meg Regelous
Urn sculpture © Meg Regelous 

Meg Regelous

The Max Thelen Studio Residency

drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics

Meg Regelous, a resident of Novato, has studied full-time at the College of Marin for the past five years enrolled in art studio classes in drawing, oil painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, photography, and jewelry. 

"I create work from my heart, and what comes of that can be sweet, haunting, or frightfully intimate. I make each piece deliberately and often obsessively, drawing from the beauty and visually rich reality in which I have grown up. I take advantage of pursuing an interdisciplinary course as one media feeds into the other in inspiring ways. For instance, printmaking techniques and painting are integral parts of my ceramic sculptures. However, the cornerstone of my practice has always been drawing and it feeds into each of my endeavors."

The Max Thelen Studio Residency is made possible with the financial support of the Fenwick Foundation.






Lauren Bartone DropStitch
Drop Stitch © 2014 Lauren Bartone, acrylic painting on collage pile of papers, 8.5" x 11".

Lauren Bartone

The Max Thelen Studio Residency

drawing, painting, social practice


Lauren Bartone is an artist and educator based in San Rafael, California. Her work is grounded in an interdisciplinary balance of painting, collective dialogue, and community work. Most recently her work has considered social patterns and divisions as they pertain to education, motherhood and daily life in her community. She has shown work in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Vermont and New York.