ST. ROCH COMMUNITY CHURCH ARTIST-IN-RESIDENCE
Why have a residency for artists at a church?
St. Roch Community Church believes that the process of creating reflects what we believe to be true about the Creator. Thus, the arts, among other “makings” and “doings” of human hands, are a practice and working out of what we believe or do not believe about God and the world. For such a practice to thrive and grow, nourishment from a variety of sources is needed.
The residency at SRCC exists in order to nurture early to mid-career artists by providing the time, space, and fellowship needed for an excellent practice. Meeting the basic needs of an artist frees him/her to have the capacity to invest significantly in the work of their hands. The end result of a residency, we believe, is the enrichment of the artist and his/her work for the purpose of honoring God – the source of creative efforts – and neighbors – those who interact with what is made.
Why have a residency at St. Roch Community Church?
New Orleans has a history rich in cultural formation. The St. Roch neighborhood is home to a growing number of artists. At St. Roch Community Church, the service of the arts is a response, not only to who God is and what he has made, but to the place where he has planted the church. Additionally, by living and working in an economically and culturally diverse area, the artist gains invaluable riches from the year spent alongside its residents.
What are the parameters of the residency?
Applying artists should demonstrate through their application an authentic commitment to the arts and a willingness to bring their practice into the context of the neighborhood and church community in which they will reside. The residency is nine-months to a year long, with living and studio space provided. A modest monthly stipend for groceries and art materials is included. Work made during the residency culminates in an exhibition or performance at the end of the year, typically held in May. The artist is invited to interact in a variety of capacities in the life of the church body, such as a weekly project during the after-school program, participation in Salon Nights, or other manifestations as relationships are built. There are many options for involvement in the life of the church and neighborhood.
What has been the impact thus far?
Stephen Crotts, our first artist in residence, is an illustrator who used the year to develop relationships with neighborhood residents through a series of portraits. He also completed design work for a diverse clientele. Stephen returned to Rock Hill, SC, where he has been involved with the Friday Arts Project at Winthrop University and works for the local Heritage museum as a designer. His family attends Hill City Church and is deeply involved in the life of their neighborhood, where they host an annual party for Mardi Gras!
Our second resident, Daniel Kelly, created a body of paintings based on local architecture that he employed in application to graduate schools. He was accepted at a number of schools, but decided to further his work and relationships with neighborhood residents by staying in New Orleans and graduating from UNO’s three year MFA program. Recently, Daniel and his family moved to North Carolina in order to expand a small company which makes hand-built, high-quality furniture.
Anne Nelson, our third artist in residence, is a painter from Minneapolis. She developed a strong portfolio over the course of nine months that she used to gain acceptance to Tulane University’s MFA program. After graduating in 2013, she has taught painting, drawing and foundations courses at universities in New Orleans and Minnesota. She is represented by Cole Pratt Gallery in uptown New Orleans, and is a founding member of Staple Goods Gallery and Collective in the St. Claude Arts District.
Abdi Farah, resident in 2012-13, is an artist who grew up in Baltimore. He came to St. Roch via Brooklyn, New York, where he spent time making a solo exhibition for the Brooklyn Museum as a prize for winning Bravo’s first season of Work of Art: The Next Great Artist reality television series. Abdi’s work has centered on the complexities of identity; during his residency he partnered with a local high school to examine youth football and the culture surrounding the sport.
In 2013, Ashley Teamer, a New Orleans native, became our fifth artist in residence. Her work has garnered strong professional opportunities and a substantial network of support in the city. Following the residency she was accepted to the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture for the summer of 2014. She is a member of Press Street/Antenna Gallery in the St Claude Arts District, and works with Big Class, an arts-based afterschool program.
For 2015-2016, we are delighted to be hosting two residents concurrently. This is the first time the residency has supported two artists. Kateri Tolo, originally from Minnesota, most recently of Jackson Mississippi, and Ernest Littles, a New Orleans native, will be diligently working towards an exhibition in May or June of 2016. Stay up to date with their progress and exhibition information on the Residency’s Facebook page!
What is the trajectory of the residency?
SRCC hopes to continue to offer both believing and non-believing artists the space, support and community to create work alongside one another. The arts offer a unique, critical zone where meaningful dialogue occurs naturally and organically, where life and work is shared. Growth in the quantity of residents at any given time and access to a permanent studio space also enhances our capacity to offer more varied and demanding programs, workshops, and events for the neighborhood to participate in and benefit from.
Questions? Contact A.I.R. coordinator Aaron Collier at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ernest Joshua Littles, current A.I.R.
Kateri Tolo, current A.I.R.
Ashley Teamer, A.I.R. 2013-14
Stephen Crotts, A.I.R. 2008-2009