Guest post from Alliance staffer Danniel Swatosh, Manager of Design & Production

In October 2011, the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers launched the Atelier, our first Artists in Residency program, and it’s been a privilege to develop and administer it. The purpose of this program is to support the promising careers of recent alumni of the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Over the course of three months, this year’s residents—past Awards winners Winston Chmielinski, Valerie Crosswhite, Justin Nissley, Sasha Shaw and Rachel Shim—created new works of art in a storefront at One New York Plaza. The artists received studio space donated by arts>Brookfield, along with a monthly stipend and general supplies.

One impressive angle of the residency was its placement in a glass-walled storefront. This offered an unexpected benefit, which was the incredible interaction between the viewers and the artists throughout the process of the artists making their work. Many viewers who may not have previously known an artist or hadn’t ever seen an artist at work could watch this intimate practice through the glass. This experience also reinforced the connection of the artist to their art, and perhaps humanized the process and the product for the viewers.

For the Alliance, this residency was a learning experience as much as it was for the artists. We created a program that consists of five core activities: Visiting Critics, Professional Development Classes, Field Trips, Salons and Open Studios. Through these activities we were able to learn a lot about the artists and their particular needs. The most important thing they need is continuous support from a person or an organization with a true desire for them to succeed. It’s been a pleasure to play this formative role so early on in the promising careers of these artists.

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