The Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellowship

We believe art is transformative when individuals actively participate in its creation and development. We see artists as weavers of social fabric – connecting disparate ideas, experiences, and perspectives to strengthen a diverse and resilient community, more powerful than the sum of individual parts.

In that spirit, the biennial Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellowship provides visual artists at a critical juncture in their artistic careers the opportunity to enrich their practice, in developing and sharing a socially-engaged, socially-relevant, and participatory public art project within Southeast Philadelphia and Fleisher’s community. The Fellowship is intended to move artists from a conventional public art model of placing static art objects in public spaces to one that emphasizes the ways art and artists can serve as catalysts for social action, problem-solving, and relationship building. The fellowship will provide the fellow with a stipend, living, and work space.

Background

Founded in 1898, Fleisher is located at the geographic center of South Philadelphia’s diverse and vibrant communities, and continues to sustain its founder’s vision of art as the great social equalizer through its mission of providing access to art for all. The neighborhoods to its south, once a draw to immigrating Irish, Italians, Polish, and Armenians, are now home to immigrating Mexican and Southeast Asian families, with significant projected population increases over the next five years.

Fleisher completed a community engagement research initiative to develop strategies to reduce barriers to participation in its arts programming, stay relevant to newly-established communities who bring new forms of cultural heritage, and to uphold the original tenets of our founder’s vision by serving an audience reflective of these neighborhoods. Informed by this research, Fleisher launched new programs to attract new art makers, as well as to more deeply engage current students, and worked to define arts-based community engagement as “a process of working collaboratively with groups of people affiliated by interests in art, culture, and creativity and a collective desire to make our communities better places for all by developing, sharing, and promoting creative resources.”

The Dina Wind Art as Catalyst Fellowship applies this perspective to Fleisher’s exhibition program, by expanding from a traditional gallery-walls presentation of art to a collaborative, people-centered exploration that engages the Southeast Philadelphia community. A successful fellowship experience will result in a deepened creative practice for the artist and create meaningful experiences for Fleisher students, faculty, and neighbors.

Catalyst Fellowship Guidelines

The biennial fellowship would offer a six to nine month live/work residency program for artists interested in developing and mounting a socially-engaged, socially-relevant, and participatory public art project within Southeast Philadelphia and Fleisher’s community.

The fellow should expect to spend as much time building relationships with the local community as they will to realize their project.

Fellows should expect to commit the time and attention to developing and presenting their fellowship. They should expect to spend at least 300 hours over six to nine months working on their fellowship project.

If selected, the fellow should also expect to attend the following:

  • Two half-day planning meetings, prior to the beginning of their residency.

  • A one-day orientation upon arrival.

  • One cultural organizing workshop.

  • Two potluck dinners with community partners, students, and neighbors (or other public engagement opportunity.)

  • Mid-residency check-in meeting with Program Director.

  • Presentation of your residency project plan.

  • Neighborhood tour.

  • Final, public presentation of residency experience.

  • Closing event to give feedback to Fleisher on residency experience.

Catalyst Fellowship Includes:

  • Access to all of Fleisher’s studios and equipment, which include printmaking, darkroom, and sculpture/ceramic studios.

  • Access to all of Fleisher’s educational offerings, including technical courses such as casting, mold-making, printmaking, etc.

  • A storefront gallery space to work in.

  • Access badge to Philadelphia museums.

  • Staff support for translations, documentation, marketing, community engagement, exhibitions, and education.

Who Should Apply?

This program is ideal for creatives who:

  • Intend for their creative practice to address issues of social justice, cultural equity, cooperation, or cultural preservation.

  • Are interested in positive local impact with a demonstrated socially engaged artistic practice.

  • Want to develop their individual creative practices by incorporating tools for social engagement.

  • Want to build community among artists working to create impact with their creative practice.

  • Believe that listening first and doing second is the best strategy for developing community-based art projects.

  • Have willingness to learn, experiment, and recalibrate when needed.

Qualifications

To participate in this program, artists should:

  • Have a strong and demonstrated creative practice.

  • Be interested in or have some experience in socially-engaged art.

  • Have demonstrated their ability to connect their artistic practice to local community topics by having already completed at least one community-based projects.

  • Can commit the time and attention to developing and presenting their fellowship project to the staff and community members of Fleisher Art Memorial and Southeast Philadelphia.

  • Fellows should expect to spend at least 300 hours over six to nine months working on their fellowship project.

  • Be at least 21 years of age and not enrolled in any full-time degree-bearing program during the residency period.

  • Be a US citizen or hold a valid work-permit for the duration of the grant.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply?
You will need to set up an account on Submittable. The application requires: 1) statement of interest, 2) project vision, 3) two professional references, 4) curriculum Vitae, 5) up to 10 images on recent work or projects, 6) $30 application fee.
 
How is the Fellow selected?
A six-person jury reviews the finalists. The jury includes two Fleisher staff members, two community members, and two artists.
 
I make art with a partner/team. Can we apply as a collective?
Yes. Artists may apply as a collective or partnership, but must be willing to share a small studio apartment and the stipend.
 
If selected, may my family join me in Philadelphia?
Artists are welcomed to be accompanied by partners/family members but must be aware that the residential space may be a small studio apartment.
 
How is the stipend paid?
The $11,000 stipend will be paid in installments at the start of each month. Up to $4,000 in materials and project-related expenses will be reimbursed and are conditional on receiving receipts.
 
Is transportation provided?
There is a small stipend available for travel expenses.
 
Why is the fellowship six to nine months in length?
This is for flexibility to accommodate the needs of the fellow. We plan to to schedule the residency between September through June. In the interview process, we will discuss the best schedule for the finalist.

Important Dates (all in EST)

February 3, 2016: application opens.

Noon, February 29,2016: webinar information session.

11:59 p.m. March 31, 2016: application deadline.

April: selection process and phone interviews with finalists.

May: announcement of fellow.

June: visit to Fleisher for community potluck.

August/September: visit to Fleisher to meet all faculty.

September 2016 – June 2017: residency period.

Contact

Artists are encouraged to contact Fleisher with any questions during the application process. For more details please contact exhibitions manager José Ortiz Pagán at jortiz@fleisher.org.

Previous Artists-in-Residence