Emerged: After the Residency | Curated by Bill Griffith
From the curator
Residency programs provide a unique transformative experience, usually outside of an academic setting, often at pivotal times in an artist's career. At their best, these programs support artists with the gift of time and an atmosphere that encourages experimentation, professional and personal growth, lots of questions and sometimes only a few answers. Residencies also play an important role in providing a community of peers for a period of time while continuing to expand the circle of artists, educators, mentors, and collectors outside of that community. In the end, residences are as much about discovering who we are as artists and people as they are about what we make.
Emerged: After the Residency is especially personal and important to me having experienced the "emergence" of over 100 early-career artists through my work as Residency Program Director at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts since 1992. In order to be considered for this exhibition, ceramic artists must have completed a residency program within the past 3 years. I reviewed the artwork of many artists, some of the work I saw in person and some of the work through only images in websites or publications. In making my final selections for Emerged, I chose artists whose work engaged me aesthetically, awed me technically and maintained my curiosity without having to read the titles or artists' statements.
The impressive nature of all of the work that I reviewed is a testament to the residency experience. As Caitlin Strokosch, Executive Director of the Aliiance of Artists Communities, wrote: "There are 500 artists' residencies in the U.S. today and more than 1000 worldwide, and the organizations are as different from each other as you can imagine. And yet each one holds steadfast to a belief in the messy, unpredictable creative process." I believe the impacts "after the residency" often last several years or even a lifetime, well beyond the experience itself. Artists experiment and discover new directions which ignite fresh work resulting in a personal voice and style. The works exhibited here showcase the outcomes of the time and support that residency programs provide.
Thanks to Lillstreet Art Center and Jess Mott Wickstrom, Gallery Director for inviting me to curate an exhibition involving such a talented and diverse, emerged, early-career ceramic artists.
Bill Griffith is a ceramic artist and Program Director at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee.
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