Part of the allure of the artist residency rests in the opportunity to claim space — an increasingly tenuous resource in art creation. With museums shuttered and physical gatherings halted, programs have turned to digital solutions.
One such transition can be seen at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), where digital commissions have been doled out to local artists. Taking shape as a new “Community in Residence” program, the virtual project turns over the museum’s homepage to six creative collectives to create work in response to the prompt: “What does it mean to work collaboratively in the time of social distancing?”
Retaining control over the site for one week, the artists will create “digital murals,” along with additional resources to shed light on their practice. The program will also feature a “virtual engagement” on the SFMOMA YouTube channel, where the events will stream at 6pm PDT every Thursday for the duration of the residencies.
“Now, more than ever, it is crucial for the museum to continue to support local creatives and explore the ways that art can bring us together during challenging times,” Chad Coerver, chief education and community engagement officer at SFMOMA, said. “The history of artmaking during past pandemics shows that artists will be vital contributors to the process of imagining our collective future in the wake of the coronavirus. We are excited to see what the collectives create.”
The program launched with the West Oakland-based CTRL+SHFT Collective on May 18. The site holds a short introduction from the cohort, a family-friendly art activity titled “Recipes for Collective Care,” a Q&A with the members and an “exhibition.” In photos embedded on the homepage, the cohort declares that they are “musicians, activists, educators, performers, artists, filmmakers and cultural workers.”