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Social-Practice Residencies :: Santa Fe Art Institute

SFAI immigration/emigration residencies

Santa Fe Art Institute | Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Organization

Santa Fe Art Institute (SFAI) is a cultural organization that seeks to address a critical question: how can SFAI cultivate creative practices (from fine art to design to urban planning and beyond), engage with diverse communities, and address the most pressing social issues of our time? 

As a hub for creative engagement and social change, SFAI facilitates its mission through four areas: an international residency program, educational programming, public programs that celebrate local innovators and activists, and a social entrepreneurship incubator.

The Community

Santa Fe Art Institute’s home is a nearly 17,000-square-foot complex located on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus.

Santa Fe is a welcoming, culturally minded community with vast resources for students and residents, including art galleries, museums, libraries, and other artistic and literary organizations. SFAI’s location on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus permits easy access to the college’s library facilities, among them the art and slide library in the Visual Arts Center. 

The Residency Program

SFAI offers several different residency programs for artists of all disciplines. For the purposes of this study, we are focusing on SFAI’s thematic residencies. 

SFAI implements yearlong thematic programming that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse regional and global communities. Residency themes span from September through June (with summer months reserved for non-thematic residencies and special initiatives) and residencies last from one to three continuous months. Up to 8 artists are in-residence at a time and because of the differing duration and overlaps, residents are exposed to diverse groups and create unique connections from month to month.

By hosting residencies for creative practitioners, fostering partnerships with cultural and educational organizations, and integrating social entrepreneurial and education initiatives, SFAI aspires to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change that reflects the greatest needs of our times. 

Themes, Issues and Disciplines
SFAI implements yearlong thematic programming that addresses pertinent questions facing diverse regional and global communities. The theme is carried throughout SFAI’s programs – from the residency to exhibitions, lectures, and other community programming. The 2016-2017 theme is Water Rights; past themes have included Immigration/Emigration and Food Justice. Throughout the duration, SFAI and its community partners will explore several questions: How do we describe and define the contested space around water? If water use is often parallel to culture, how can cultural activities result in greater models of equity in our water systems? How can diverse practices, from poetic to practical to political, create greater access to these and other parallel resources? 

Project Planning
SFAI aspires to cultivate creative practices, engage with diverse communities, and address some of the most pressing social issues of our time. Residents are introduced to community partners based on the scope of their projects and identified needs within the region. Some artists work with students, others create public programs that SFAI hosts, while others create entirely new projects based on the research and resources they encounter while in Santa Fe. 

Support Provided
SFAI offers housing, studio space, and access to a wealth of community resources. Residents are asked to contribute $1000/month, but scholarships are available. 

Selection Process & Criteria
SFAI provides residencies for creative practitioners from all over the world through an open application process. The competitive selection for residencies at SFAI is primarily based on the applicant’s ability to creatively and critically engage with the theme of the residency season for which they are applying. The selection focuses on the professional experience of the artist, the quality of their past work, and their potential to sustain a productive residency at SFAI. The selection committee is comprised of successful artists, gallery owners, art instructors, writers, and other creative professionals from Santa Fe and the surrounding areas.

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