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Commentary: Artist in residency programs at local arts organizations provide good opportunities for artists and patrons


I have been talking to many people in the arts about their specific programs and quite a few bring up their artist in residency programs.

Grant Benoist, Director of Education at Craft Alliance, talked about the special residency program at his arts institution. He said, "Craft Alliance invites two artists engaging with craft to participate in an eleven month program that begins in September 2023 and ends in July 2024.The benefits of this program include:

  • Artists share a 350 square foot private studio and have access to Craft Alliance's six main studio areas outside of classes
  • A monthly materials stipend and professional development reimbursement fund
  • Tuition waivers for workshops per session
  • Teaching and other professional development opportunities
  • The residency culminates in a 2 person exhibition in Craft Alliance’s Staenberg Gallery with a catalogue

Larry Morris, Director of the Kranzberg Artist in Residency says, "Over the last few years, the Kranzberg Artist in Residency program has morphed from a music focused residency to a multi-disciplinary arts residency currently supporting top-notch artists from all walks of life. Based in the Grand Center Arts District in St. Louis with access to amenities within the foundation footprint, our artists in residency can utilize resources started within our pillars to complete a final project, create endlessly during their tenure, at no infrastructural costs and they have access to the greater St. Louis arts community.

There are 15 artist residencies including visual artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers. A few examples of these bright, young residents are Felia Davenport whose show "Torn Mixology" was recently displayed at the Gallery at the Kranzberg which was a mixed media exhibition that explored the journey of identifying as a multi-racial female. B.J. Parker's, "In Search: (Re)Building Myth" was a body of oil paintings, drawings and sculptures that explores the search for meaning in a fractured existential landscape which just closed at the Kranzberg. Other examples are Lizzie Peterson’s writer's collaboration with the St. Louis Poetry Center and the magazine, "Outside Lit" and Prince Lyon's film, "We Are All Pretty Broken."

Besides the creative advisor role of Keyon Harrold at Jazz St. Louis, the organization has week long residencies in which professional jazz artists and educators are brought to St. Louis. During the week the artists are brought together to travel throughout the metro area conducting master classes with middle and high school musicians, performing for large groups of elementary students and presenting concerts in the community. All residency weeks culminate with two nights of performances by the residency artists, with free tickets provided to students and teachers who participated in the program.

Tia Fuller (saxophone), Mimi Jones (bass) and Matt Wilson (drums) recently put on a concert. And the Jazz at Lincoln Center residency included Tanya Darby and Alphonso Home (trumpets), Isaiah Thompson (piano) and Sara Jacovino (trombone). What incredible talent.

The World Chess Hall of Fame has had an artist in residency program since 2022. St. Louis's own incomparable Brian Owens was a perfect fit for this role and became the first director. Owens says he hopes to cement a more in-depth series of concerts that have been going on since 2014. His musical programming would interweave with the exhibitions at the museum. Owens sees himself more as the Creative in Residence as he hopes to open up more possibilities beyond just scheduling concerts with more creation of scores or soundtracks for the exhibitions. Owens dreams that the chess campus will be a place for emerging talent, whether they are chess players or not, to be inspired by the programming there as well as provide a place or destination for young creatives to come together and ideate in a way similar to the Harlem Renaissance.

Once again, St. Louis is showing it is willing to keep ramping up its educational and creative programs in all the arts.

Nancy Kranzberg has been involved in the arts community for more than forty years on numerous arts related boards.

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