I had the pleasure of being Curator of the Artist in Research (AIR) residency program at the Berwick Research Institute in Boston from 2006 until 2009. I worked very closely with every resident artist to understand their art-making process and to become their research partner, sounding board, and moral support. It was my job to aggregate the intellectual resources of Boston, make them accessible to the residents’ needs, push experimentation, and facilitate a measurable amount of progress with each project. It was the best job I’ve ever had and it is my intention to find my way back to it again.
The Berwick Research Institute was a 501c3 non-profit art organization that was founded in 2001 and came to an end in 2011. It was composed of individual artists, writers, musicians, and cultural workers. In 2003, the Berwick founded the Artist in Research residency program to provide emerging artists with time, space, community, and critical feedback to make and present their work.
The AIR Program was not a residency that provided artists with nature, solitude, and open space. On the contrary, the program was very much a research and development laboratory moving at a fast pace and focused on facilitating dialogue and experimentation. Our artists needed to be ready for creative exchange with leaders in their field of research as well as peers working in a wide range of media. Regularly scheduled critiques, public events, open studios, and our web forum provided residents with opportunities for critical feedback from curators, artists, scholars, and members of the public. Artists in Research focused their efforts on vigorous exploration and the processes of innovative art-making without pressure for a finished product.
Here is a great piece in Big Red and Shiny, an online art journal based in Boston, profiling the AIR Program and an interview with myself and Rosie Branson Gill, my Co-Curator at the time. They also interviewed Kelly Sherman, Véronique d’Entremont, and Liz Nofziger during their residencies.
Below are links to websites (when available) of the artists I had the pleasure of working with. I call myself lucky.