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Social-Practice Residencies :: Coleman Center for the Arts

Coleman - Theater house

Coleman Center for the Arts | York, Alabama

The Organization

The Coleman Center for the Arts (CCA) is a contemporary arts organization that uses art to foster positive social change, answer civic needs, build local pride, and use creativity for community problem solving. By nurturing and facilitating partnerships between artists and community we strive to create the vision and the means for a creative and sustainable society. Our mission is to integrate contemporary art into education, civic life, and community development throughout our region. 

The Community

York, Alabama, is a small, working-class town with a population around 2,500, and approximately 80% of its residents are African-American. Near the state’s border with Mississippi, York is 10 miles from the University of West Alabama, in Livingston, one of the state’s oldest institutes of higher education.

The Residency Program

The CCA offers artists and community members opportunities to work as co-participants in projects that address civic and social needs. Projects and processes employ mutuality, collaboration, and reciprocity among co-participants. Some projects are realized fully within the community while others are anchored more traditionally in the gallery. One artist is in-residence at a time, and the duration of residencies vary, with artists often making multiple visits to York over time. 

By sustaining long-term relationships between artists, participants, and community, the CCA seeks to have a lasting effect on individuals, issues, and the means of production for contemporary art. 

Themes, Issues and Disciplines
While CCA does not dictate specific themes, artists and community members develop work together that is relevant to the local community and addresses civic and social needs. 

Calling on models of both contemporary art and consensus-based organizing, projects are not tied strictly to discipline or form. Works range from conceptual and performative to object-based and functional.

Project Planning
All artist projects begin with an introductory visit to York. These short 3- to 10-day visits are designed to introduce artists and the community to each other, and to influence further projects in the proposal stage with community exposure and feedback. Artists and curatorial staff work in collaboration to plan a community event such as an artist talk, a movie screening, an educational workshop, or a themed dinner party, etc. Further project proposals and implementation develop in a collaborative process with staff and community members. 

All artist projects are characterized by close collaboration with the community. Participants are directly involved in the process and result of projects, which break down typical boundaries between artist, subject, object, and audience. This process allows each project to be developed on an individual basis, while ensuring that artists and participants sustain deep connections to each other and the work. Some projects may continue indefinitely, with artists returning for further activities over the course of many years.

Support Provided
CCA provides housing and work space to artists, as well as staff support in developing projects. Other financial support is project-specific. 

Selection Process & Criteria
The majority of the CCA’s projects and exhibitions are curated; however artists who feel they are a strong fit to our program may contact CCA to discuss applying.

More information:

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