Wesleyan University Is Launching a Residency for Artists Affected by the 2017 Hurricanes

The residency is for artists impacted by hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria.

Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts. Courtesy of Wesleyan University.
Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts. Courtesy of Wesleyan University.

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has wrought unprecedented devastation in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. For artists in those regions who have been impacted by Harvey, Irma, or Maria, Wesleyan University is offering a small measure of relief. Next spring, the Connecticut university will host an artists’ residency program specifically for those affected by the hurricanes.

The residency is being offered by the university’s Center for the Arts, in collaboration with its College of the Environment. As reported by Glasstire, the university is looking for artists whose work deals with issues of climate change, such as displacement, our species’ changing relationship to water, and the social and environmental impact of hurricanes.

“Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts has a history of interdisciplinary programs, integrating the arts across campus,” said the center’s director, Sarah Curran, in an email to artnet News. “After seeing the scope of impact of this year’s hurricane season, we thought this was a way that we could be both responsive to the needs of artists in those areas, while also deepening the conversation on campus about the impact of climate change on the human environment.”

Interested artists from the affected regions are asked to submit a proposal responding to three questions: “How can the arts address and respond to the environmental and humanitarian crises wrought by climate change? How do we redefine humankind’s evolving relationship to nature, specifically to water? What role might the arts play in rebuilding after storms?”

Hurricane Irma. Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Hurricane Irma. Courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

With severe flooding and other damage caused by the three massive storms, some artists have lost their homes and studios. If selected, the artist or collective will spend one to two weeks at the Wesleyan campus next April. The residency comes with a $10,000 artist fee as well as $5,000 for travel and art supplies. The program is open to artists of all disciplines, including music, dance, theater, and the visual arts.

“The arts allow us to explore issues in ways no other medium does,” added Curran. “In these times of rebuilding after crisis, the arts can play a critical role in community building, envisioning, and imagining how we rebuild, and what we want to become.”

Founded in 1973, Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts includes a theater, two concert halls, a cinema, studios, and a contemporary art gallery. The application for the residency can be found here.


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