ProWax Journal 2: Artists and Community

Artists & Community

By Milisa Galazzi

As a regular feature in the ProWax Journal, this month’s Artists & Community is a short conversation about Artist Residencies between artists Milisa Galazzi (MG) and Krista Svalbonas (KS).

MG: Can you tell me a little about the art residencies you have attended?

KS: I have attended Vermont Studio Center (VSC) and Cooper Union. At VSC I was one of 50 residents in a community that was comprised of both artists and writers. At Cooper Union I was only one of four other residents. Both were month-long residencies. Looking forward to many more, hopefully!

Svalbonas' studio at Vermont Studio Center

Svalbonas’ studio at Vermont Studio Center

MG: What was the most powerful/longest lasting aspect of your artist residency experience?

KS: VSC and Cooper Union were very different experiences and they both had wonderful lasting effects. At Vermont Studio Center the program really focused on exchange. We all lived together, ate together, worked and played together. I made some wonderful friendships and connections at that residency along with finishing a body of work. At Cooper, living space and food was not provided and we each carved out certain hours in our schedules for work so the residency was much more quiet and less about artist-to-artist interactions. From that residency, I was able to finish a body of work as well. The culminating group show gave me my first opportunity to work off the panel and onto the wall, which I have been doing ever since.

MG: With 20/20 hindsight and a magic paintbrush, if you could now change one thing about your artist residency experience, what would you now change?

KS: Thankfully there is nothing I’d change about either residency. They each gave me what I was looking for at the time and the much-needed fuel I wanted to grow as an artist.

MG: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about attending, in the process of applying to, or is imminently beginning an artist residency?

KS: Do your research and know yourself. There are so many residency programs all over the world and each one is unique. Know what you want as an artist and understand who you are. Do you simply need time away from daily activity to do your work? Is a rural environment the right fit for you? An urban environment? Or perhaps a residency in the Arctic Circle? What is it that fuels you as an artist and what do you expect from a residency? Many programs offer professional development or exhibition opportunities; others simply offer solitude and space while others offer community. Not every residency fits every artist.

MG: What else would you like to say on the topic of artist communities?

KS: Do a residency! I can’t state enough how beneficial a program like this is, not only for forging connections with others but also for finding a deeper understanding of yourself and your work. A residency provides a unique space for self-discovery, free from your daily routine and void of any pressure you may feel in your life. It’s a wonderfully freeing environment.

Milisa Galazzi is best known for her large scale installations, works on paper, and conceptual paintings. Her work highlights human relationships punctuated by physical distance or separation by time and she is represented by ERNDEN Fine Art Gallery. Galazzi holds an MA with Honors from the Rhode Island School of Design were she extensively researched community-based art education settings. Her research is published by Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Project Zero Press, 1999. In addition, Galazzi holds a BA from Brown University where she studied Studio Art with minors in Women’s Studies and Cultural Anthropology – all of which directly informs the content of her art making. Galazzi works full time in her studio in Providence, Rhode Island, and on Cape Cod in the summer months.

Online artist residency information:

1. The Alliance for Artist Communities: Residency Directory

2. Two Coats of Paint: “Artists’ Residencies- Upcoming deadlines” by Sharon Butler (Sep 2013)  

3. Hyperallergic: Surveying Arts Residencies Today (3 Part Series) by An Xiao (Apr 2012)

“Part 1: Surveying Arts Residencies- Do They Still Matter?”

Part 2: Surveying Arts Residencies- How Residencies Can Help

Part 3: Surveying Arts Residencies- How to Make it Happen

4. Blouin Art Info: “A Guide to 20 Top Artist Residencies and Retreats Across the United States” by Alanna Martinez, Chloe Wyma (Mar 2012)

5. Blouin Art Info: “A Guide to 20 Adventurous, Offbeat, Or Otherwise Outrageous Artist Residencies” by Alanna Martinez, Chloe Wyma (Mar 2012)

Galazzi is an artist living and working in Providence and on Cape Cod in the summer. Her graduate degree is from Rhode Island School of Design where she especially focused on her lifelong interest – art and community. Her website is www.milisagalazzi.com and she is represented by ERNDEN Fine Art Gallery in Provincetown, Mass.

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