This evening, the MAC and the Writer's Garret launch an exciting new series of panel discussions called Spin Off. Over the course of the next few months, topics like "What the #$%& do you do With an Art Degree?," "The Anxiety of Influence," and "Graphic Text" will all be covered, but tonight's focus hits closer to home.
"Residency Programs" are the evening's buzzwords and they'll be discussed by novelists Matt Bondurant and Ben Fountain, former CentralTrak artist-in-residence and working visual artist Gabriel Dawe, and two critics-in-residence of the Core Program of the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Sally Frater and Philip Kelleher. Moderating the panel will be Lisa Taylor, DADA's Executive Director, board member of the Video Association of Dallas, and a gal who's known around town as a champion of all forms of arts and culture, via both her consulting company Taylor Made Press, and through her sheer enthusiasm regarding the arts community.
A blush-response to whether or not to approach and accept a residency seems like an easy "Yes, please!" So we caught up with Ms. Taylor and asked her why the arrangement might not be for everyone at every time. "Some people can't handle a residency," warned Taylor. "It can be an isolating kind of an idea."
Taylor has noticed the diversity of programs throughout the country and understands that each situation must cater to the spirit of the person under contract. She believes artists should educate themselves. For example, Taylor spent several years working with La Reunion, that lovely acreage where artists explore creativity within a natural landscape. Should it ever become a designated artist-in-residency, you could see how that experience would differ from a college-based program like CentralTrak. Remote dwellings. Isolation. The long walks and bus rides into the city -- but with it would come the peace that nature grants. It's a world and lifestyle away from CentralTrak or the Ross Akard space at the Fairmont, Dallas' only two official in-residencies.
"As far as CentralTrak, that's more of an academic reality," Taylor explained. "You live in an urban building downtown with access to the community. However in a more rural environment, you also wouldn't have professors making you talk to their studios. It's important to consider whether you're ready to be so isolated or so social."
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If you have your own questions about residency programs, or just want to listen as a few bright minds share ideas on the topic, join Spin Off tonight at the MAC. It runs from 6 to 7 p.m. and is completely free and open to the public.