Social Engagement Art Residency

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA)

IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA)

In 2014, the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) created a 10-day Social Engagement Art Residency program which has been in existence for the past four years. MoCNA’s Social Engagement Art Residency was funded by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) through the Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Institutions up until 2017. This partnership offered us the flexibility to mold a program based on Native artist social engagement and impact that met the objectives of the Smithsonian while supporting MoCNA’s goals in terms of activating contemporary Native artist leadership, capacity and community building and the Native American Fine Art Movement. The museum serves as a catalyst for artists to generate community dialogue and dynamic experiences. The MoCNA Social Engagement Residency realizes socially engaged art projects that celebrate and engage the vibrant community that IAIA, MoCNA, and Santa Fe offers. The Museum looks to enable contemporary Native artists to negotiate and position community driven Indigenous narratives within the public sphere. Currently we have been able to continue this work, by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts who have been funding the residency starting in 2017–2019.

MoCNA is a catalyst for artists to generate community dialogue and dynamic experiences. The MoCNA Social Engagement Residency realizes socially engaged art projects that celebrate and engage the vibrant community that IAIA, MoCNA, and the Santa Fe community have to offer for ten days.

About the Residency

MoCNA facilitates a residency program in Santa Fe that will offer four Native artists the opportunity to access the MoCNA collection and create a socially engaged art piece with the support of the museum, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA), and the Santa Fe community at-large for 10 days. MoCNA will pair two contemporary Native artists to support a wider dialogue. As a result, the artists will engage in the flexibility to brainstorm and work together during the creative process. However, this pairing would still represent a two-person showing of works created, rather than a collaborative final artwork. Residents will also participate in a variety of public programming and community engagement.

MoCNA’s residency includes a 400-square-foot working studio in the museum proper and technical support by the way of a consultant. The purpose of this strategy is to enable contemporary Native artists to negotiate and position community-driven Indigenous narratives within the public sphere. Artists also will spend time in the MoCNA’s National Collection of Contemporary Native Art to aid in the creative process by drawing from one of the largest collections of contemporary Native art in the world. They will also have the opportunity to engage three other collections while in Santa Fe.

During the visit, it is our intent that the artists will connect and contextualize ideas through examining discourse from our collection. By hosting the residency for Native artists, fostering partnerships with cultural and educational organizations, and integrating community engagement, MoCNA seeks to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change that reflects the needs of the community and artists. Like-minded institutions and social networks already being nurtured by MoCNA, including organizations, Native and non-Native artists that live and work in the cultural hub of Santa Fe, would work together in ultimately creating a socially engaged art piece. Residents will also be provided access and exposure to other local museums collections.

The final piece could cover various media and wide range of project methods that engage the community or specific facet of the community in a strategic manner that produces both artful and social outcomes to address issues under the rubric of sustainability, which is a high priority issue for IAIA (e.g., water, land use, transportation, globalism and language).

While the outcomes of social practice art could result in video installations, sound installations, photography, prints or murals, which function perfectly within a museum or gallery context, sometimes the results are also realized in the relationships themselves, in shifts of community power, community-driven strategies and social infrastructures that resolve pre-existing conflicts, traumas or social injustices. The museum will document the process.

Social Engagement

Social practice art has been positioned by significant contemporary art institutions like MOMA/PS1, Whitney Museum, Queens Museum of Art, The Hammer, LAMoCA and the ASU Art Museum as a means of expanding the reach of museums beyond their respective walls and into specific communities. In this regard, the social art practitioner purposefully builds a dialogical bridge between the museum and community leading to greater, long-term community relevancy and participation. It’s important to note that social practice art is particularly relevant to Indigenous art practices because it relies upon relationships, respect, protocols and reciprocity, while working toward insights into community self-determination, and community-driven processes that define the sovereignty of context.

Social practice art is an interdisciplinary means of contemporary art production that utilizes social space, social relationships and specific communities of interest as mediums to recover knowledge and re-define notions of power and agency pertaining to a broad spectrum of social, cultural, psychological, political and economic issues within a particular place or geography.

What we are looking for?

MoCNA seeks discourse-driven Native artists for the program. The creativity of this program will diversify, strengthen and advance knowledge and expertise in the Native arts field. Ultimately, MoCNA can be a catalyst for artists to create community dialogues and creating dynamic experiences. Our goal is to realize projects with the artists that recognize and support contemporary Indigenous discourse and celebrate and engage the vibrant community that MoCNA and Santa Fe community have to offer.

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