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THERE ARE BLACK PEOPLE IN THE FUTURE ARTWORK – IN – RESIDENCE – PITTSBURGH, PA
The Office of Public Art is pleased to announce the launch of artist Alisha Wormsley’s “There Are Black People in the Future” as an artwork-in-residence in the East End of Pittsburgh. Through the residency, Wormsley, with support from artist Jon Rubin, will engage community members in East Liberty, Bloomfield, Garfield, Larimer, and Homewood to help envision the next manifestation of “There Are Black People in the Future”, an ongoing body of work that Wormsley began developing in 2012.
The artwork-in-residence will include workshops and community conversations to engage the Pittsburgh community in dialogue about the work’s meaning and intentions. In addition, artists, teachers, and community members are invited to submit proposals on how they might explore the relevance of Wormsley’s text in their own communities. If selected, each awardee will receive an honorarium of $1,200 to implement their proposal.
Alisha Wormsley, in collaboration with the Office of Public Art (OPA), is seeking proposals from artists, teachers, and community members to engage with There Are Black People In The Future, an Artwork-in-Residence. Individuals and teams who live and/or work in East Liberty, Bloomfield, Garfield, Larimer, and Homewood are invited to submit proposals that explore the relevance of Wormsley’s text, There Are Black People In The Future, in their own communities. Each awardee will receive an honorarium of $1,200 to implement their identified proposal, with additional funds available on a case by case basis for materials and related expenses.
This residency is proposed in response to the events of April 2018, during which Wormsley’s text was removed without her consent from the billboard on which it was displayed. The text was the latest iteration of artist Jon Rubin’s The Last Billboard project, housed on a 36-foot-long billboard on a building at the corner of Highland Avenue and Baum Boulevard in East Liberty. Citing tenant and developer concerns, the building’s landlord removed Wormsley’s text. This residency will focus on the predominantly Black and African-American neighborhoods proximal to the artwork’s former location that have been most directly affected by the rapid transformation of East Liberty and the social, cultural, and physical displacement that community members have experienced.
Shocked by the failure to engage the community in the decision-making process, Wormsley and Rubin held an open gathering at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater on April 18, 2018. Wormsley was saddened by reports from community members who felt their voices were being ignored as East Liberty rapidly developed and gentrified. “I realized how much of a privilege it is to simply decide what you want,” says Wormsley. “I want to give that to this community. They didn’t ask for the text. But they protested its removal and many have asked for the text to return in another form. I hope through this residency the community has time to process and share their feelings on the work.”
The Artwork-in-Residence will unfold over the course of nine months:
In January 2019, artists, teachers, and community members are invited to apply to participate in the residency. Wormsley, Rubin, and OPA will host an information session to introduce the opportunity, the call for applications, and field questions.
In February 2019, ten applicants will be awarded microgrants of $1,200 each to implement their proposals, with additional funds available on a case by case basis for materials and related expenses. They will be provided with a “toolkit,” designed by Wormsley and Rubin, that includes curriculums showing how the text might be engaged by a variety of groups.
Between February and August 2019, participants will implement their proposals. During this time, Wormsley and Rubin will host a workshop for awardees and several community meetings with invited speakers, guests, and stakeholders. These gatherings will provide a platform for conversation on the meaning of the text and the issues behind its removal. Documentation of projects will be gathered by filmmaker Chris Ivey and Wormsley’s project team. Participants will also be asked to document their work through social media, photography, and/or video.
In Fall 2019, Wormsley and Rubin will host a final community gathering that will present and discuss the participants’ project outcomes.
Data will be collected from participants and attendees from the community through surveys from Wormsley’s team. This process will inform the direction of Wormsley’s There Are Black People In The Future artwork as she considers possibilities for a future installation.
B. Residency Goals
Through this residency, Wormsley intends to create a precedent for listening to members of the community. This collaborative effort will explore how artists and residents can collectively catalyze conversations that promote positive change in social and civic spaces. The Artwork-in Residence will support the community in a process that will help decide if the text should have a temporary or ongoing presence in the East End. In addition, programmatic support and professional development opportunities will be provided for artists and design professionals who may be unfamiliar with working with communities in the public realm, thereby preparing them for key roles in civic development. Finally, Wormsley and Rubin hope to build capacity among landlords and developers for engaging artists in the development of current and future spaces in both public and private realms.
C. Residency Structure
This residency is being led by Alisha Wormsley with support from Jon Rubin and the Office of Public Art.
We are seeking artists, teachers, and community members who live and/or work in East Liberty, Bloomfield, Garfield, Larimer, and Homewood to submit proposals on how they might explore the relevance of Wormsley’s text, “There Are Black People In The Future,” in their own communities.
E. Budget and Contract Information
Each of the ten accepted awardees will receive an honorarium of $1,200 to implement their proposals to engage in the Artwork-In-Residence program. Additional money is available on a case by case basis for materials and related expenses. The selected awardees will enter into a contract with OPA. This program is generously supported by The Heinz Endowments.
Please note that both individuals and organizations may apply to the call. Each awardee will be required to provide a W9 to the Office of Public Art for tax purposes.
F. Residency Timeline
January 17, 2019 Information Session, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – East Liberty, 5:30 – 6:30pm
February 11, 2019 Deadline for application
February 25, 2019 Participants announced
March – August 2019 Implementation & Documentation
March 7, 2019 Participant Workshop
April 2019 (tbd) Panel Discussion for Participants & Public
June 2019 (tbd) Stakeholder Convening for Participants & Public
Fall 2019 (tbd) Participant Closing Event
The deadline for submissions is Monday, February 11, 2019 at 11:59pm. Late submissions will not be accepted.
I. Community Information Sessions
OPA is hosting an information session with Alisha Wormsley and Jon Rubin about the opportunity. We will review the residency goals and the application process. RSVPs are not required. Attendance is not required to submit an application.
Thursday, January 17 from 5:30 – 6:30pm
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh – East Liberty
130 S. Whitfield St.
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
If you have questions about this call for participants, please contact Divya Rao Heffley at 412- 391-2060 x 250 or via email at email@example.com.
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