On the Radar: Joan Mitchell Center Artist in Residence Program

The Joan Mitchell Foundation was established in 1993, the year after the death of the artist for whom it is named. As the foundation puts it, its mission is “to fulfill the ambitions of Joan Mitchell to aid and assist contemporary artists and to demonstrate that painting and sculpture are significant cultural necessities.” The foundation does this through a variety of grant and support programs, particularly those focused on painters and sculptors.

Its Joan Mitchell Center Artist in Residence Grant Program is poised to become the star program of this rising foundation. The program wrapped its year-long pilot run in 2013. The artists who participated in that pilot program were invited after becoming familiar entities to the foundation through the nomination and selection process of its Painters and Sculptors Grant Program and its (now inactive) MFA Grant Program.

The Joan Mitchell Center Artist in Residence Grant Program opens its doors full-time in the spring of 2015, upon completion of its permanent work/live artist residence space in New Orleans.

In an interview with the New Orleans Tribune, Gia Hamilton, the director of the Joan Mitchell Center, describes this residency center and program as one that “seeks to serve a diverse group of visual artists from the local, national and international communities.” The foundation, Hamilton continues, is “committed to providing time, space and resources for artists that account for their changing needs as well as develop programming that invite new audiences into the contemporary art community.”

This is an artist residence program that centers itself around a theme, both for the artists spending their year there, as well as for the larger community engaging with them. The 2013-2014 theme was "Rooted." In an interview with the Alliance of Artists Communities, Hamilton stated that the theme for 2015 would be “Hybridity.”

Participation in the 2015-2016 cycle of the Joan Mitchell Center Artist in Residence Program will be by invite only, but the foundation anticipates making its 2017 application an open one, which would be a boon for visual artists. If you have this potential opportunity on your radar, also keep in mind Hamilton's view of the role of the Joan Mitchell Center Artist in Residence Program as it moves forward. To the Alliance of Artists Communities she said:

I am thinking about the term social practice. It is the newest buzzword to describe the way in which performing artists have created work for a very long time, but more specifically I am thinking about how we as stewards at the residency create a platform and systems for social practice artists to connect in the city of New Orleans and everywhere that the Foundation has a presence. I am very interested in how we diversify both the audiences and artists that we host at the Center and how we engage with our local community here. It is a lot of responsibility to be a good neighbor, leader, connector, and conductor of resources.

To the New Orleans Tribune Hamilton also shared:

I hope that there will be a global dialogue about the role of art in our world and how art shapes cities. Hopefully, The Center will serve as a model for artist-support and how employing visual artists actually strengths the local cultural economy of a place and also generates resources for the larger arts community worldwide; I want our local artists to be a part of that equation.