A condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger or trouble.

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Who We Are

The Refuge is a non-profit organization providing sanctuary for the pursuit of creative expression through music and art. Founded in response to the lack of resources available to artists today, it is the mission of The Refuge to offer patronage and opportunity to creators in a supportive and collaborative environment.

What We Offer

The Refuge provides unique opportunities for individuals of all ages and backgrounds to explore their craft by cross-discipline immersion and creative collaboration.

Why We're Needed

To guide and advise artists into the next level of their their careers outside the debt systems that are forced upon all artists, while seeking to elevate the residents to their rightful place of cultural and community leadership.

What We Offer For Musicians

Studio and rehearsal space, album production (recording, producing, mixing, mastering), career and brand development, artist booking and subsequent touring strategies, post-residency partnership development, access to our curation team made up of career artists and industry professionals.

What We Offer For Artists

Creative space with resources available for project completion, film studio, private art studios, shop space for wood and metal work, and more.

How We Do It

Through fundraising support alongside community-owned business and international brand sponsorships, The Refuge Foundation for the Arts provides artists with free access to resources for building sustainable, autonomous careers while nurturing the powerful intersection of art, education and environmental stewardship.


Project-guided initiative focusing on an individual artist’s needs for creation or learning. Residencies range in length from one weekend to one year. Our funding allows up to 4 residents simultaneously to maintain quality, which can be adjusted based on the amount of work needed from each artist.

Our First Resident

Jon Wheelock (aka J-Council) arrived at The Refuge in October of 2015. Taking full advantage of his year-long residency, Jon went from writing his very first song to recording and releasing an EP, completing his first full-length record, and embarking on a US tour. His residency culminated with an appearance at the historic Henry Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles for Petty Fest. Performing alongside artists like Norah Jones and Jakob Dylan, Jon’s powerful performance earned rave reviews from national media outlets, including Billboard and Rolling Stone.

The Refuge Foundation would like to thank our friends at The Best Fest for helping us introduce artists like Jon to new audiences across the United States.

Where We’re Located

The Refuge is a former monastery bordered by the Fox River in Appleton, WI (voted #24 in best places to live by Money Magazine in September, 2016). Built in 1935 by Capuchin-Franciscan monks, our beautiful 33,000 square foot facility houses recording studios, art studios, and artist residences amid ten acres of protected nature, gardens, and orchards.