In an increasingly globalized world fraught with social upheaval - from Tunisia to Egypt, from Libya to Syria, from Greece to Wisconsin - artists are eager to not only make art that points to current realities, but to make art that actively connects with real people around the globe, calling attention to timely issues in communities hard hit by economic disparity, environmental disasters, corporate and political abuse, and more. As an organization with a 37-year history of supporting artists’ ideas and privileging artists’ voices, we have listened carefully and, in 2009, launched the Creative Time Global Residency Program, giving artists time and support to investigate a burning question central to their practice, from the loss of natural habitats to rebuilding housing and communities in post-earthquake Haiti.
Offering a unique artist-driven model, free from government limitations or focused projects, our program is the only global residency in the country created for visual artists formatted how visual artists want. Without any prescribed agendas, our Global Residency artists can break from the isolation of their studio and focus on their process, as they have no obligation to produce a concrete project, and are not beholden to any institutional infrastructure or agenda. Artists are able to invest the necessary time to build long-term relationships with people in the communities they visit, leading to a mutual exchange of ideas about the issues that are profoundly affecting their lives.
During the first two years of the Residency, we were thrilled to see our six artists go above and beyond our basic requirements for community engagement - from participating in local political rallies and protests in Rome and jumping into the underground music scene in Chile, to interviewing villagers in Mexico about their memories of lost habitats and working with local Haitians to rebuild housing lost in the earthquake.
Now more than ever, it is vital that we grow this program and put artists at the forefront of critical public dialogue on the world’s most pressing issues. By 2013, we hope to send at least 8 artists to regions throughout the Middle East, Africa, and South America to address burning questions with dozens of partners in communities big and small. Based on past experience, we are confident this process will result in new influential bodies of work that reflects the experiences of a diverse range of people and institutions - from rural communities to major urban centers in far away places, including places of war, conflict, and tragedy. At the same time, Creative Time will have expanded its reach through new partnerships, built authentic connections with and exchanges between US artists and communities across the globe, and exposed an anticipated 300,000 unique viewers to our 8 artists and the process with which they are addressing timely issues.