AAC Artist Residency Program – “A Vital Stepping Stone”
Each year AAC invites emerging artists from the DC Metro area to participate in an artist residency program. This is one of the most important facets of our mission, because in this way AAC acts as a creative incubator where regional artists can flourish.
In addition to subsidized studio rent and a built-in network of peers and support staff, those selected to participate in this prestigious program also enjoy twenty-four hour studio access and annual opportunities to show their work in AAC’s Wyatt Gallery.
Although welcoming new artists is an exciting way to promote collaboration and experience new works, we always miss our artists (who really become part of the AAC family) when their residencies come to a close.
For Matt, the opportunity to work closely with other artists was one of the major attractions for becoming an AAC resident artist. He said, “I wanted to be around other artists and learn from them, so being in the group studio was a great opportunity for that. I already knew many of the artists that were at AAC, so it was nice to have that support network. The exposure was also good – having open studios during gallery openings was a great opportunity to have people talk to you about your work.”
“…seeing how everyone else at AAC works also influenced how I looked at my own work. For me, AAC was a vital stepping stone.” – Matt Smith
Megan, who participated in the AAC education program as an instructor, enjoyed the intimacy of a close-knit community. She said some of her most memorable experiences at AAC were, “hijinks during open studios, dancing in the Tiffany Gallery, cookouts, birthday parties, and going to each other’s openings.”
Along with the relationships they formed with fellow residents, both artists agreed that professional growth was a strong component of their AAC experience.
“Having access to other artists at different points in their careers is eye opening with regards to work ethic, art practices, and professionalism,” Megan said. She also commented that the feedback and professional critique she received from her peers was “invaluable.”
Matt echoed this response saying, “The work I am making now is so different to what I was doing when I first moved in. It’s been an incredible transformation, and I think part of that has been having a dedicated studio space. I couldn’t keep a saw in my old studio apartment, for example. Having a dedicated space just helped keep the ideas flowing, and I’m sure that seeing how everyone else at AAC works also influenced how I looked at my own work. For me, AAC was a vital stepping stone.”
Both artists are heading out to California to pursue masters degrees. Matt will be attending the University of California at Berkley to study Art Practice, while Megan is moving to Santa Barbara to study Fine Arts. We wish Matt and Megan the best of luck in their move out west, and look forward to introducing incoming artist Macon Reed as well as two additional “yet-to-be selected” applicants.
AAC is creating a new large group studio, approximately 600 square feet, to be shared by two artists. We are accepting studio residency program applications and invite emerging artists to apply now! The deadline for applications is October 1, and the move-in date will follow on November 1.
-Written by Benjamin Kernan, AAC’s Summer Marketing & Development Intern