Call to Artists: MAH Art Works Residency

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Date: February 07, 2016 — February 22, 2016
Categories: Opportunities
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A summer residency where artists engage museum visitors in their work and transform the museum into functioning artist’s studios.

Artists studios within the MAH Solari Gallery

Art by Ian Everard. Photo by r.r. jones.

During Summer 2016 artists will transform the Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History’s (MAH) Solari Gallery into a series of artist’s studios. In each studio, museum visitors will meet artists and participate in art works in progress. All artists will be expected to engage visitors as part of their work and are invited to engage the theme of building stronger communities and neighborhoods.

Program Description

The Art Works exhibition at the MAH is a four-to-twelve week residency program in which artists engage the public within the museum’s gallery, spending a substantial amount of time creating work within the studio gallery. Artists will work with museum staff to create a studio environment within the space, speak with museum visitors about their work, exhibit works, offer gallery talks, and participate in hands-on activities with the public.

The Residency

Minimum residency is 4 weeks and the maximum is 16 weeks. The full exhibition will be June 1st to September 25th, 2016 with artists rotating throughout.

The residency includes

  • a $500 per month stipend (commensurate with length of your residency)
  • a public studio space within the Solari Gallery, and
  • a unique opportunity to bring public interaction into your work.

Housing is not provided.

Criteria and Considerations

The following considerations will influence who the museum selects for residencies:

  • Visual, sound, participatory, and social practice artists
  • A proposal including strategies for visitor participation
  • Work that engages the theme of building stronger communities and neighborhoods
  • History of and interest in artistic collaboration
  • A mix of artists from within and outside Santa Cruz County
  • Artists of color, female, queer, and trans artists are encouraged to apply
  • To thoroughly reflect and engage our diverse community, we particularly want to encourage Latino, Chicano, migrant and Spanish-speaking artists


The goal of the program is to give visitors an opportunity to interact with artists and for artists to engage visitors. Artists will be expected to work in the studio during museum events and as much as possible during museum open hours.

Applicants must be able to work in their studio a minimum of 20 hours per week. Artists are expected to utilize the studio as fully as they can. We understand that artists have commitments and responsibilities, and we are trying to create a space that allows artists to do their work. We want artists in the studio who will turn the gallery into a lively, engaged, and well-used creative place, particularly around events and busy times.

The Art Works artist residency is a place for artists to work and engage actively with the public. While there may be open hours with fewer visitors, it will not be an environment that provides quiet studio time. The residency is designed to be interactive. The space will provide an opportunity for artists to get high exposure to museum visitors and to engage in dialogue with visitors.

Additional expectations:

  • Studios will be open during museum hours
  • All materials will be responsibility of the artists, though a call-out to our visitors to bring common materials can be arranged
  • Artists will participate in the MAH’s 1st and 3rd Friday events, and offer one artist talk or workshop during a museum event each month they are a resident
  • Neither housing nor food is provided, though we may attempt to help artists find housing.

Artists are encouraged to exhibit completed works in the gallery, as well as exhibit a growing body of work completed during the residency.

Gallery hosts will be provided during select hours to help you interact with visitors and to help contextualize your work to visitors.

Museum staff will work with artists to make the studio space as suitable for your work as possible. Artists will be provided an orientation to museum resources, upcoming events, and tips on interacting with the public.

Applying to the Program

Artists are encouraged to apply for a one to four month residency. To apply to be an Artist-in-Residence, please visit and be prepared to provide:

  • A detailed proposal of plans for a residency and description of process including a description of how you will include visitors in your work.
  • Resume, including education background, teaching experience, awards, gallery showings and/or exhibitions, etc.
  • Photographs or digital images of work

Applications are due by midnight PST Monday February 22, 2016 for consideration for the summer program. Applications received by Monday February 8, 2016 are eligible for early consideration. Artists under consideration will be selected for an interview during the week of March 7th. All artists will be notified of the results of the selection in the second week of March.

If you have questions about the MAH Art Works Program, please email


The Santa Cruz MAH Art Works Program has no relation to the similarly named program at the National Endowment for the Arts.

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