Craig Drennen, an assistant professor at Georgia State University encapsulated the benefit of artist residency programs when he said, “residencies place artists in new communal context with new peers and mentors from all over the world.” Art Is a unique agency that is predicated on two factors, the experience of creating the art and the actual finished product which we deem as art. The experience is the operative word here, because it is human nature to learn things through experience. A residency provides just that.
The Hydra Art Project understands this, which is the reason why they have a diverse portfolio of different residencies around the world. They are forward thinking enough to have a residency in an area that has a rich history with artistic expression, the Bronx. To many art aficionados, the Bronx is becoming the next Bushwhick. The countless programs and activities that are in this part of New York is indicative of this revelation. The borough is coming full circle because in its earlier days, art was a huge part of how the disenfranchised expressed themselves. The south Bronx is considered to be the birth place of Hip Hop. Graffiti, emergent art culture, all of these things started there. The hit netflix show, “the get down” highlights this past.
Setting is very important when it comes to a residency. Location often determines the direction of an artist work. In essence, the type of work you want to create can be affected by which residency you take. Setting provides the framework in which we understand our experiences. It is massive and it creates a story. More often than not, an artist work will be more metropolitan if they’re staying in a city as opposed to staying in a suburb.
An artist wants to capture the feel of renaissance Italy? Why not stay in the Lipari islands in the northern coast of Sicily, which is an epicenter of a tumultuous history which includes wars being fought, commodities being created, and is sure to have reverberations of renaissance Italy in its architecture. Hydra Art Project picked this area because of this. History, architecture, food, all of these things are taken into account when Hydra Art Project decides to set up an Art residency.
Each of their programs provides an area that is rich with inspiration that an artist can pull from. A wide selection of different places is what makes Hydra Art Project distinguished from its competitors. They recognize that artistic history is everywhere. An artist interests can be infinite, so Hydra Art Project wants to contain these interests by having a wide range of programs.
While setting plays a huge part in the creation of art, comfort also plays a big role in the actual creation of it, the act of physically producing something, whether that be through paint, sculpture, or photography. Life is busy. It is so busy that it is hard for us to work on our craft. How can you? Not many people have the mental fortitude to produce Shakespearian prose when the dog is barking incessantly or when your beloved new born child is crying. HAP facilities provides maximum comfort with the advantage of being able to bring your own furniture. While their facilities are stellar, that lamp that somebody turns off before they go to sleep can be just the amount of familiarity they need to create the perfect working space. They provide this level of customizability to you because they want you at your most comfortable, so you can create your best work.
Giant pandas, stunning natural landscape, and Tibetan villages draw HAP built its first Asian residency in Chengdu, the biggest and historical city in the Southwest of China. As one of the most multi-ethnic and multicultural city, Chengdu is the perfect location to experience Chinese teahouse and Tibetan culture, learning traditional silk embroidery and handmade bamboo paper. The city is also home to the famous Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a conservation center where artists can view endangered giant pandas in a natural habitat. The well-know Larung Gar Buddhist Academy would add mystery to this once in lifetime experience.
HAP greatest asset is its ability to conform to the artists demands. It is contrastive enough to be different but it is also familiar. The novelty in its residency program locations is a testament to HAP’s willingness to be truly diverse.