Goodbye from Alvaro de Salvo (Res Artis Communication Manager)

Alvaro de Salvo about his work as a Communication Manager at Res Artis and the residency field.

I remember it like it was yesterday when I started to work for the beautiful field of artist residencies, almost ten years ago. It was December 2004 and the weather was awfully hot in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I was sharing a coffee with Alicia Candiani, founder and director of Proyecto ´ace, when she asked me a question that would change my life forever. “Would you help me to start an artist residency in Buenos Aires and be its administrative coordinator?”, she said. At the time, I was nearing completion of my Business Administration studies and was looking forward to getting more work experience. I had no idea what an artist residency was, but it sounded innovative and cool, and immediately caught my attention. “OK” I replied , “but I´ll only work for you for ONE year. Once I get my degree I will move on”. History tells that I ended up staying at Proyecto 'ace for eight, with the last two years working for Res Artis. The best thing is, I’ve loved every tiny moment of it.

Despite the already well-known odds of the international cultural sector (financial uncertainty, lack of resources, long work hours etc.) it is in this field that I met the most interesting characters of all: Artists. I believe they are the ones that help us answer the difficult questions in life. What would the world be without visual or performing arts? Artist residencies provide the conditions to bring together artists and all manner of creative people and encourage mutual understanding worldwide. And that is why I’ve decided to commit my time to it.

During 2012, life took me to live in the Netherlands. And with it, I had the possibility to work for the oldest and largest artist residencies network: Res Artis. This is an organization that I have loved since 2006, and I must say, that I am now reluctant to say goodbye. However, it has come the right time to do so. I’d like to use this opportunity to extensively thank the Board of Directors and my dear colleagues Mark and Lillian, from whom I’ve learnt a lot from.  These two years together have been a hell of a roller-coaster. It is through Res Artis that I saw the bigger picture and understood the importance of being connected (despite distance), and the power of networks to help us reach further objectives, have a louder voice and make a bigger impact.

Artist residencies matter. A lot.

They contribute to creating a better world and although many tangible outcomes might be unseen for many outside the field, it is the small details that matter and the positive side effects, sometimes difficult to measure.  In a time where globalization allows artists mobility more than even before, it is no surprise that artist residencies are finally in the picture. Arts Residencies are a concept that evolved more than 100 years ago and there are now more than 1500 creative hubs all around the world serving thousands of artists in residence every day, and Res Artis has been bringing them altogether in the virtual world, but also through face to face meetings since 1993.

What will I be doing next?

For a long time I have wanted to work in the technological sector involved to social causes. Feeling that my contribution to the artist residency field was done, I am now stepping into bigger shoes: the international development aid field. As of October 2014, I´ll be working for Akvo.org as their new Communications Executive in Amsterdam.  Akvo is a non-profit based in the Netherlands who builds open source internet and mobile software which is designed to support international development partnership networks and make cooperation and aid activity more effective and transparent.  I am very excited about the opportunity to be part of an organization with such technological and social drive.

Encounter the world in residencies

For those planning to do a residency for the first time. Just go for it. You´ll never regret it. Many times I´ve seen people´s life change after these types of experiences. If you are planning to do your first artist in residence experience, browse over the Res Artis database or the Facebook fan page. The network has built up over 500 members as I leave the organisation. If you are in your first steps of building an artist residency, connect with Res Artis. You´ll fast-track the learning curve of experience tremendously. We are soon to launch the Res Artis Residency Handbook and different workshops under the ResSupport program, so stay tuned.

Thank you and we will keep in touch

More than a goodbye, this is a “Till later”. Some way or another, I´ll keep connected to the artist residency field. If you want to keep in touch or drop a line lets connect via LinkedIn.

For now, I am eternally grateful to Proyecto ‘ace and to Res Artis, its members and the thousands of artists and colleagues with whom we’ve shared so many and wonderful experiences, in order to make this a thriving field. I believe we have done a lot for it and I am sure it will continue flourishing.

Goodbye from Alvaro de Salvo (Res Artis Communication Manager)

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