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Artists took notes and listened intently while on a special after-hours tour at The DoSeum Tuesday evening. The DoSeum is joining fellow children’s museums in major cities like Boston, Denver, and Pittsburgh in launching its artist-in-residence program. The museum invited local, regional, and national professional artists to vie for the chance to have their work featured in San Antonio’s state-of-the-art children’s museum.
Up to two artists will be selected each year to create socially engaging, original art for families and visitors of The DoSeum, thus supporting the museum’s mission to create lifelong learners. The art created in the residency program should also demonstrate the connections science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have with art in ways that invite museum visitors to interact with the work.
Applications are due Aug. 12, 2016. To be eligible, artists must have completed all studies and have experience creating participatory works of art.
The selection committee, all members of the San Antonio arts community, will choose up to five semi-finalists by Aug. 23, who will then be asked to submit proposals. The semi-finalists will receive a stipend to produce a detailed proposal for final consideration. The DoSeum will announce the finalists on Oct. 17.
The chosen artists will create contemporary works of art over a three month period, then showcase their work at The DoSeum from January to March. As a museum focused on integrating STEM with literacy, and now art, the artist-in-residence program will be another way for The DoSeum to support local artists while exposing children to art in the community.
The City’s Department for Culture and Creative Development will provide partial support for the program.
For many children, exposure to art at The DoSeum could be a first. For some, it might be the only experience with art in a museum setting.
“I like to think we’re a ‘feeder’ museum, perhaps even the first museum experience for families,” said Orlando Graves Bolaños, the museum’s art education manager. “We hope children will be exposed to art and go on to experience it and interact with art even as they get older.”
Families and visitors will be able to engage with the artist(s) in residence through art talks throughout the term of their residency. Artists are encouraged to think creatively when submitting ideas for a new art installation, or even to adapt and improve upon an existing exhibit at The DoSeum.
“The artist-in-residence program will offer kids who visit The DoSeum an opportunity to engage with art in an interactive way,” Bolaños said. “Through socially engaged art, kids are being exposed to art in a new way, and art is being more intimately integrated into the community.”
Artist Chris Sauter took the informational tour Tuesday evening. He told the Rivard Report he was curious about The DoSeum’s residency program.
“In my own work, I’m more interested in science, and I thought it’d be an interesting opportunity to explore aspects of science in artwork created for a broader population,” Sauter said.
According to Bolaños, Sauter may be on the right track.
“We need to have our children practice STEM skills,” Bolaños said. “This art residency gives us another accessible avenue to do just that – provide opportunities for our visitors to apply these skills.”
With more than 540,000 visitors to The DoSeum from June 2015 to June 2016, there are plenty of opportunities for socially engaging artwork to impress visitors.
Top image: The main entrance at The DoSeum. Photo by Scott Ball.