In a recent post about the Mike Kelly Foundation's interest in funding experimental LA-based artists, we alluded to an invented class of funders known as "Anais Nin" philanthropists. These are funders that are committed to truly experimental, boundary-pushing work.
We're happy to report that just a few days after that post was published, we bring yet more encouraging news for experimental artists everywhere.
The Watermill Center, an interdisciplinary laboratory for the arts and humanities based in Water Mill, NY, announced the establishment of the Inga Maren Otto Fellowship to support an artist in the "development of innovative art forms." Established with a $320,000, four-year grant from philanthropist Inga Maren Otto, the fellowship supports one artist's participation in the Watermill Center’s year-round residency program each year for the next four years. The fellowship’s inaugural artist takes up residence at the Watermill Center in 2016.
Before we take a closer look at the fellowship, let's first examine the fellowship's namesake, Ms. Otto, the third wife of German entrepreneur Werner Otto (1909-2011). Her relationship with the Watermill Center began when she and founder/Artistic Director Robert Wilson met at the Berlin Film Festival’s premiere of Absolute Wilson, a documentary about Wilson directed by Mrs. Otto’s daughter, Katharina Otto-Bernstein, in 2006. In the nearly 10 years that followed, her contributions have helped to support the Watermill Center’s workshops and programming, as well as notable artists such as Shirin Neshat, William Pope.L, and Julian Crouch.
"Maren Otto has been a devoted supporter of The Watermill Center and our mission to support extraordinary emerging artists from across the globe over the last ten years," Wilson noted. "Her support in establishing the Inga Maren Otto Fellowship helps to ensure that some of the most brilliant young artists are afforded the time and space to collaborate and create works that critically investigate, challenge, and extend the existing norms of the visual and performance arts."
To that end, the four-year grant will enable one fellow per year to participate center’s residency program, where, in addition to creating and developing their own experimental work, they will have the opportunity to share their creative processes with the community through open rehearsals, workshops, and artist talks.
The Watermill Center Residency Program began in 2006, when the center officially opened as a year-round facility. Over the course of the program, up to twenty collectives or individual artists take up residence at the center to create collaborative works. By June 2015, the center will have hosted over 100 residency groups.
To learn more about the Watermill Center, click here.