Habitat for Artists Residency at WAAM

I was recently awarded a residency at the Woodstock Artists Association and Museum as part of their Habitat For Artists (HFA) program – a chance for artists to work with the public and experiment with a new idea or further develop a project.

My goal was to flip the narrative of exhibition curation, placing the power of choice in the hands of the viewers that might feel inimidated or even alienated by art. Heck, many museums and galleries often show work that is so ‘out there,’ one feels that a PhD is needed in order to understand it. The fact is, artists need viewers to engage on a deeper level, but sometimes the institutional systems muddle things along the way. My experiment was to see if I could help bridge that gap.

To keep the process as approachable as possible, I randomly selected 60 prints from my instagram feed and printed them (actually, CPW did – thank you Michael!!! Also, thank you Ben for helping me with set up – you guys rock!). Granted, I am working from my own images so there is some unavoidable input by nature of how I see the world. Willing participants perused said bin of prints and made a selection of what moved them, to “exhibit” on the #HFA shed. Conversations ranged from what they find meaningful in art, to composition of images, art in general, landscapes, politics, you name it. At the end of our interaction, I made a portrait of them along with their selection.

This was a fun concept to explore. Most of my weekend’s participants happened to be artists that loved the process and sequencing. Others seemed to have a connection to art and I’m not sure if that’s just because Woodstock is a very artsy town to begin with, or if we just needed different signage (“Don’t Get Art? This is for you!”); perhaps this is what makes me want to try this again. Being able to understand what moves someone and makes them tick is an always-present curiosity for me.

And bonus – I have new work that might just end up in an upcoming exhibition!


Upcoming HFA projects:

July 21-22: Get on the Bus with Roger Lazoff
July 25-27: Mileage Allowance with Barbara Loisch
July 28: Yoga & Photography, with Juan Giraldo


Photo of Miriam Romais by © Levi Shagalow