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Art of the Call Podcast: Recology Artist in Residence Program in San Francisco California with Deborah Munk
Here's another Art of the Call video podcast where we ask directors, artists and curators to talk about the call for entry process.


For us it's so scheduled - every June July of every year we accept applications

We do it the old fashioned way: we make fliers, we send them to every gallery

For us it needs to be really clear what the artist should expect from us and what we expect from them

The instructions on what you need to submit need to be really clear

So if you want 6 images, what size are the images, can you send any size, who can apply, what kind of artists


It's pretty important in San Francisco, the artists that are here right now, both applied 3 times - 3 years in a row before they were accepted

A hundred applications every year for six slots

We're not getting thousands of applications but 100 is pretty good

What's in it for the artists?

It is such a great experience for the artists, I've been here for 12 years and I've seen so many artists and how this experience transforms their work and also their idea of what it means to be an artist and what it means to be human right now

We all consume a lot and our mission is to promote the conservation of natural resources and teach kids about recycling and compost

We had one artist in particular who made very colorful sculptures out of materials that he bought from the $.99 store - he bought everything and spent lots of money and bought this stuff that is made someplace else and he came here and he found literally everything that he bought at the stores in the dump - so he promised that he would never buy materials again and I think he's stuck to his promise

They get a residency, they get an exhibition, a solo show, they get a stipend, they get a 2200 ft. studio that's theirs to use, they get a ton of administrative support and they have a lot of fun

Emerging vs professional artists

One of the questions we ask is how many exhibitions you've had

We want to get an idea of where they've exhibited or if they have experience exhibiting - that may or may not affect if they're chosen but we like to have an idea so we prefer midcareer, emerging midcareer and professional - we have another program for students from universities

We expect a lot from the professional artist: they have to greet tours, we meet about 5000 people a year so that they have to be here during the day, we have to see their work, they have to be available for media etc.

For student artists it's more flexible because they're so busy with school so we don't want to put a lot on them

Selection process

It's the crazy time of our schedule - every August 31st is the deadline so in our mail slot we'll get 80% of the applications arriving on the last day

We still do it the old-fashioned way: we accept paper applications, we're not setup for online submissions - we hope to in the next two years

During the summer months we do an administrative review, so we're looking at them, we're organizing them to present to our selection committee

We have a 10 person selection committee that meets in October to review the hundred applications - There's three arts professionals, 2 people that are environmentalists who work at the Department of the Environment and work with kids, three past artists

What we do is project images on the walls so the selection committee can see them and we give them a number from 0 to 5 - we go through all 100 and we input all this into a database and it's like clockwork - the top 20 are there the strongest artists, it's a real simple method but it works

Then we talk in depth about these top 20 artists and then we have 8 people come in for interviews

The board is very diverse and I do that for reason because I really want to get a lot of different perspectives and they have very different ideas of what type of artists should be here so there is a lot of arm wrestling, a lot of conversation about who's important and I respect all of their opinions but I think we have to compromise so if one of the arts professionals says this guy he's great, he's conceptual - the other folks might not get or understand it - well, you know you can have your sculptor if we get conceptual artists - it's kind of a balance


We have openings every four months: it's in May, September and January

We have Friday night for four hours and Saturday afternoon

We just started artist talks on Tuesday - we're going to have open hours and then artist talks at 7

We want to have fun, we want to promote the program, we want to promote the artists we want to promote recycling and resource conservation

We want to support arts community, we want to support the greater Bay Area community - San Francisco are our customers - we want them to come out and see what we are doing, have fun, enjoy a barbecue with us - they're fun, really great

The best part is that we have a giveaway pile so the artists are collecting materials for 4 months and whatever they don't use they put in a big pile and it's free for everyone - so a lot of times people show up at 5, they walk right past the art, right past the food, go to the giveaway pile, get other stuff and then come back and enjoy the art.

posted on Feb 20, 2013 • permanent link

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