Quick Facts

Primary Contact
Alex Braidwood, Director Artist-in-Residence Program
Mobile / Text / WhatsApp: +1(313) 595-3155

Arrival and Departure
Directions to the lab are on the website: http://www.lakesidelab.org/

Please plan to arrive between noon and 6 on your arrival date. Let Alex Braidwood know when you are planning to arrive and he will make arrangements for someone to meet you and check you in.

Please plan to check out by noon on your last day of residence.

We have no shops, kilns, presses, or other specific equipment. Basic tools can sometimes be borrowed from the facilities crew but in general, you need to plan on bringing anything you might need to make your work. There are a list of local resources here in case you need to plan to acquire things once you arrive

The artists’ studio is an old stone laboratory at the south end of campus. There is running water. The studio has windows on two sides and it gets good natural light.

The floor plan is fairly open, but the space includes some large tables and some scientific equipment that we need to take care of. The space is shared by the artists-in-residence, so we ask that you please respect the other artists working there and use the space communally.

Please do not use spray paints, chemicals, or any process requiring ventilation inside of the stone lab. Please do not put any chemicals down the drain.

You are also always welcome to work outside. Please check in with Alex Braidwood and Matthew Fairchild if you are planning a large outdoor project, just to ensure its environmental impact is safe for the nature preserve.

Living Spaces
The Lab has rustic, comfortable housing in the form of motel-style rooms and small cabins. Artists are most often housed in the motel-style rooms with private bathrooms.

Mealtime is the best time to catch the scientists and the students to chat.

Meals are cooked by the Lakeside kitchen staff and eaten in the large dining hall.

Please say hello to the chef at the first mealtime!

Meal schedule: (meals are served promptly!)
Breakfast is served at 7am
Lunch is served at 12pm
Dinner is served at 6pm.

Weekend meals:
Breakfast is served at 8am
Lunch is served at 12pm
Dinner is served at 6pm

There are a smaller kitchen and a common area below the main dining hall. If you would like to keep some food there, you are welcome to.


Lakeside Lab is directly on a paved multi-use path that encircles West Okoboji Lake. The Lab has a couple of bikes to borrow but some artists have enjoyed bringing their own bikes.

Water Activities

Lakeside has 2 docks and no beachfront. One dock is for the kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards which you are welcome to use anytime it is safe to use them, and they aren’t being used by a class. The other dock is for powerboats. Swimming is allowed off this dock when conditions are safe.

The weather in Northwest Iowa during the summer season can swing from cold (near freezing) to hot (90°+F) during the summer. It rains an unpredictable amount and there are mosquitoes and ticks which vary in severity from year-to-year. Most of the buildings on campus, especially our housing buildings and studio lab, are often reflections of what the weather is like outside. The rooms have small heat registers and small A/C units. The stone lab studio has a strong natural insulative quality from the stone but it is not temperature or humidity-controlled.

Be sure to check out our suggested packing list page here

Classes at the Lab

Students are (generally) in classes weekdays from 8am-5pm.

In general, faculty will be happy to have you join their classes and field trips, but you should check in with them first, because their plans change day-to-day. The best place to find faculty once you are on campus is at mealtime. If you’d like to contact someone in advance, contacts are listed on the main Lakeside Lab website.

Campus Events

The Lab hosts a number of community events, such as Tuesday evening science lectures and “Coffee and Grounds,” an outdoor work hour (followed by coffee and conversation) on Tuesday mornings. You are welcome to come to any events you want. Please watch the dining hall lobby and listen for meal announcements for more information.

Lab Library

The lab has a scientific library on campus, which also includes maps, papers, and research texts. The library is available for your use. The lab has a herbarium, aviary, and many other collections on site as well.

“Artists and scientists are both asking questions about the world, they’re just doing it in different ways”
Alex Braidwood
Director, Iowa Lakeside Lab Artists-in-Residence Program
Mailing List

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