One artist, one writer, one home

The Daily Pennsylvanian
July 31, 2008

A one-of-a-kind art residency program is coming to campus this fall.

The Fine Arts Department in the School of Design and Kelly Writers House are collaborating to offer an artist and a writer shared living space and individual studios for the upcoming academic year through the ArtsEdge residency project.

The goal of the project is to "encourage a collaboration between the artist and writer and keep artists in Philadelphia," explained Writers House program coordinator Erin Gautsche. Both residents will be encouraged to complete a project that helps the community.

The program is open to any bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. graduates - although undergraduate fine arts program director Julie Schneider said that they wanted to "stay close to home" - and may include teaching jobs in the spring if the applicants are qualified.

The writer and artist will each pay $500 a month, which covers rent, utilities and individual studio space. "It's a great deal," said Gautsche, who said she expects the selection process to be competitive.

Residency programs are popular with many universities, but Penn currently does not have any artists in residence.

"It has always been a wish in the Arts Department to have artists in residency," explained Schneider.

The collaboration between artist and writer that ArtsEdge offers is certainly unique. Schneider said she doesn't know of any other program like it.

Having an artist in residence is especially beneficial for students because they are able not only to visit the studio of a working artist, but also to maintain a relationship with that artist because of the artist's location near campus, said Schneider. "The artists will be able to give lectures about their work or do a workshop."

Recent College graduate Irene Yoo, who studied fine arts, called the program "genius."

"Penn art and literary students could really benefit from having ArtsEdge residents in their midst," she said "It's not often that students can meet and relate to practicing artists and writers."

Program applicant and current exhibitions coordinator for the Fine Arts Department Pernot Hudson also said he sees the ArtsEdge project as a great opportunity. "I haven't been able to complete the projects that I have in mind yet, which is a lot to do with the space I have." Hudson said the residency would give him time to focus on working, rather than on finding a place to work.

Applications for the ArtsEdge project are due Aug. 8, and the projected move-in date is Oct. 1.