Diversity Project

Res Artis is aiming at global and cultural diversity in its membership. Res Artis has made a major commitment to diversifying its membership in Africa, Asia, and South America during 2004-2006. To assist in this effort, the Ford Foundation has given financial support to a planning and implementation process which will significantly expand the scope and leadership structure of our organization. This is an exciting development for the Res Artis association.

In 2006, through a partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities in the US, Res Artis has received significant support from the Ford Foundation in support of its programs and diversification efforts in 2006-2007. Activities surrounding the regional meetings in Dakar, Senegal and Mexico City, Mexico, along with efforts to further connect Res Artis with multi-cultural organizations in the United States will be supported by this grant.

Description of the project

While the majority of Res Artis member organizations are located in the industrialized world, these organizations all provide residencies to artists from the developing world. A brief survey of a sample of member organizations that provide residencies to individual artists in New Delhi, London, Amsterdam, New York and Umbertide, Italy show an average of 25% of all residencies are awarded to artists from outside the "center" (Europe/North America), indicative of the effort that all of these organizations are making in diversifying their residency programs. An example of how Res Artis member organization's foster global relationships can be seen in the experience of the Rijksakadamie in Amsterdam. Of the 218 artists in residence in their program between 2001-2004, 37% were from Africa, Asia and South America. The Rijksakadamie artist residencies also spawned seven new artists initiatives, known as the RAIN network, based in Argentina, Mexico, Mali, South Africa, India, Indonesia and the Netherlands. As this example shows, many artists first learn of residency opportunities through Res Artis member organizations, and then are able to expand their connections and cultural bridge-building, eventually becoming Res Artis member organizations on their own.

Res Artis is looking to similarly expand this kind of diversity to its own membership and Board structure. A key question which Res Artis has discussed at length is how can people of color, who are often marginalized, become connected to the Res Artis network in substantive ways which include not only membership but leadership and mentoring roles? This diversification will be accomplished by developing outreach and networking to reach artists and arts-serving organizations all over the world, with a particular focus on regions where such organizations have not had access to the economic means to join Res Artis or to participate in Res Artis annual meetings. This effort will also include diversifying Res Artis membership in the U.S. amongst multi-cultural arts groups. Res Artis has successfully developed some of the organizational capacity to make this goal a reality. The proposed project will further develop the organization's capacity, which will enable diverse groups from the global South to become full members in the Res Artis organization.