The City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division has launched the City's first Artist-in-Residence program. Chosen from a competitive field of staff-generated proposals in the City’s Idea Accelerator initiative, the nine-month pilot program will embed an artist within a City department to help resolve problems, provide innovative or new process improvements, and engage residents around community issues in creative ways. The City’s Watershed Protection Department has been selected as the partner department for the program’s inaugural year.
Artist-in-Residence programs have been implemented in city governments across the United States, from Boston to Los Angeles, and have been successful in supporting local artists and improving local governments and the communities they serve. As out-of-the-box thinkers, artists can offer unique perspectives on civic processes, often resulting in engaging, imaginative interventions that resonate with the community. As part of Austin’s residency program, the selected artist will be asked to develop creative approaches to address issues identified by the participating department.
The Watershed Protection Department is the first to participate in this pilot program. The mission of the Watershed Protection Department is to protect lives, property and the environment of our community by reducing the impact of flood, erosion and water pollution. The department provides a range of community resource and education programs to encourage informed decision-making about flood safety, erosion control and water quality issues The department plans to position the selected artist to work closely with their Watershed Education section to add additional creativity to their multimedia approach to increasing program visibility in communities,. The artist will work with staff from both Watershed Protection and the Cultural Arts Division to formulate goals, deliverables, scope, community involvement, and artistic focus.
The outcome of the residency depends on the artist’s journey in learning about, working alongside, and connecting with the department and the community, but it is hoped that the artist will create an in-depth experience between the artist, the City department, and community; explore pathways for ideas to be more fully exchanged between the community and the City department; foster engagement by community members and the City department in innovative or expanded ways; and find a vehicle for creative expression that adds depth to the artist’s social practice and portfolio. The final project outcome may result in a discrete work of art, enhanced community collaborations, or may take any number of shapes, provided the artist and host department are in agreement.
The 2017 Artist-in-Residence program is scheduled to run from March – November 2017. The selected artist will be provided with a budget of $8,750 for time spent working on the residency, and a maximum of $5,000 for residency-related expenses.
An artist information meeting (attendance optional) will be held on Thursday, January 19, 2017 from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the City Hall Boards and Commissions Room at 301 W. 2nd Street during the open application period to explain the parameters of the project and outline the application procedures. The deadline to apply is Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 5:00 p.m.
For an RFQ with complete program details, click here. Click here to apply.