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Art Residency in Salvador « MAD Blog
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Art Residency in Salvador

I was fortunate enough to spend a few summer months at the at MAD the Open Studios program in 2010 .

My posting today features a recent residency that took place from October 24 to December 14, 2011 at the Instituto Sacatar Foundation in Salvador Brazil . My project included teaching the local people stained glass production. I also installed the first permanent art, two windows on the grounds of Sacatar. (see photos) Here I’ll describe my concept and how it was transformed during the residency.

First I must say Instituto Sacatar is the closest to paradise I have ever been in my life. Not just the setting which is stellar, but the staff, artist living and work space and food. But here I would like to explain what personally I learned during this residencies. I have a solid list of past residencies to compare, including Museum of Arts and Design (New York) Open Studio Program, a Research Residency at Sydney College for the Arts, another residency at Sanskriti Kendra in Delhi, India, Kiln forming residency at North Lands Creative Glass in Scotland, and an upcoming Lo Studio dei Nipoti Resident Artists Project in Monasterace, Calabria, Italy. If any readers here have questions feel free to e-mail me directly and I will be glad to answer.

Enough about me.

The concept for this residency was to meet locals and teach them beginners stained glass, produce an object to sell. In turn they would make money and make a better living. Most importantly I wanted them to continue creating after I left. I feel most artist do their business and leave. I consciously wanted to leave something behind that would directly help these people in the future, plus it would force me meet loads of people of many ages, spend time with them and help. I loved this aspect, and was extremely excited before teaching all of my classes. Okay, enough of my Mother Teresa syndrome, I also felt that “community involvement” would get me chosen. Duh. And it worked.

The object for these people to make in my workshop was an elaborate stained glass cross. When I arrived I showed the administrators my samples and they suggested more saleable items like candle holders and stained glass boxes would sell. Honestly my heart sank just a wee amount, but I realized they truly knew the local market. I scrapped the cross idea. In New York these may sell, but in Salvador, not. The administrators helped find students and a location for the class during my 2 months. I taught over 15 classes to more than 12 students. My three core students included the owner of a glass store, a metal worker, and a craft artist. During this time I was working on a more elaborate permanent installation, a set of stained glass windows. (see photos)

A couple of special moments that resulted from my time at Sacatar. Communication. I have seen this happen in classes I teach, but because of the language barrier sometime it was easier to have one student explain the process to another. They also discussed what they wanted to make and where to buy materials. It is always exciting to see communication between my students.

The work they produces was simple at first, but the speed in which they learned the technique was impressive.

Personally I enjoyed time outside of the class. Visiting the students in their homes, plus exploring the city of Salvador on my own was quite thrilling.

One student had four glass orders when I left.

A couple of difficulties that we worked around included the lack of supplies. Some major materials needed to make stained glass simply didn’t exist in Brazil. Glass, solder, copper foil. I brought a suitcase of these with me and sold them to the students at the end of the class at a highly discounted price. I asked them to research where to buy these items in town and online for future projects.

Another difficulties I faced included adjusting to “Salvador time”. People generally are late for appointments. I totally expected this, it reminded me of my time at the residency I did in India. Not a big problem, once they arrived the time spent together was very enjoyable. Overall it was a very successful residency I would do again in a heart beat.

More information on the Instituto Sacatar Residency see: www.sacatar.org

 

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