I am excited and nervous about being given the opportunity to be an Resident in Residence at the McColl Center for Art and Innovation. McColl Center for Art + Innovation’s Resident Residency is an artist residency for five Charlotte-based artists who are addressing themes impacting their communities through social practice art. The intent of this residency is to build the creative practices, leadership, and power of artists in Charlotte by providing them with resources, time, and money to do so. During the prototype of this project, each of the following artists is awarded a six-week residency at McColl Center during the fall of 2019. Each artist Charlotte-based artist is building power in their community.
The five artists are provided access to the McColl Center studios and mentoring by the Residency curator, Janelle Dunlap for 6 weeks. Our residency show will be January 10th.
I started the residency with a tour of the McColl center facilities on October 26th. I met three of the other artists at that time. We were shown our shared studio room and all of the possible equipment and labs at the McColl- woodworking, photography, printmaking, lounge, welding, and more. On Oct 29th, I settled in to a half day in our shared studio space and met with Janelle about my project.
In my visual art work, am working on topics of holy, saints, power, displacement, eviction, home, ordinary, and sacred. In my artist facilitation and organizing work, I am working on topics of social impact, measurement, equity, ownership, co-ownership, making connections across difference, and rehearsing new pathways. In the public events I am leading or co-leading, I am focusing on topics of: living alternatively to the dominate narrative of death culture and extraction, uplifting the holiness (set apart) of ordinary people, telling stories of grief and joy through visual arts, cultivating community for the common good, and Community Accountability, and Transformative Justice.
I'm two weeks in to my residency and I'm feeling anxious. I want to prove myself. I want something to show of my time. And also there's so little time. School has been out 3 1/2 days of my residency so far and it will be out another 2 before this residency is over. I am a parent and also the director of a youth leadership program, so school being out during a residency is really hard to juggle. Also, since this residency was a prototype, some of the pieces didn't come together until late in the process, so I wasn't able to totally wipe out my work schedule for the residency, as I would have liked to do. I'm crossing my fingers that my work will be "enough" for others...and also I wish that I had "enough" time for myself to really immerse and play. I hope, in the next few weeks, to be able to do a bit more of that.
Here's what I've done so far:
- Dreamed about if I had a huge timeline and budget, what would I work on.
- Whittled down the big dream into something I think is possible for 6 weeks.
- Art project prototype and sketching.
- Instagram experiment with using stories to collect data and feedback.
- Preaching on embodying an alternative to Empire Death Culture and the Extraction Economy at Sardis Baptist.
-Planned a Workshop on Using Artistic Experiences to create solutions around the concept of Increasing Renters' Equity at QC Family Tree and beyond. This small group, invitation only, workshop takes place on Nov 14th at the McColl.
-Thinking through and working on a framework for measuring social impact as an artist.
- A trip to New Orleans for the Face to Face Executive Committee meeting of Alternative ROOTS where I gave a summary of the Just Practice: Community Accountability workshop I attended (see 5 blogs of summary on that, if you like) and participated in the business of the Executive Committee.
- Exploration of "What makes something holy or set apart, aesthetically?" & What makes something, aesthetically, build power?" Including trips to three cathedrals and one art museum in New Orleans. I took pictures of these things and will share them soon.
- Neighborhood walk abouts and collection of supplies/resources for visual art
- Research of homes and ownership of recently evicted families
- Saints lanterns art installation & singing at Riff of Love concert at W/ Collective National Gathering and panel contributor to theology and place discussion.
- Facilitatating a multigenerational QC Family Tree retreat, partnering with BeLoved Community in Asheville, on topics of home, community accountability, liberation, and harm reduction.