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A Proposed Project: New Residency Formats

The P.A.R. in PAR-Projects stands for Professional Artistic Research, so with each collaboration and each challenge we do our best to not just go with the easy answer (or someone else's solution) before taking time to consider multiple options, related to what we're trying to accomplish.

Another aspect of our research is the kind found in a university setting. It can be challenge-based, project-based, or based in the simple desire to seek knowledge. We don't take deep dives like this at a specific pace, but we do enjoy sharing the work when it's complete.

The remainder of this post is by Gabrielle Roach, our 2017 fellow. Her assignment was to observe the creative and/or community dynamics of Cincinnati, reflect on the work PAR-Projects does,  then create a meaningful piece of writing. 

We believe she did a great job, and plan to pursue her proposal at some point down the line.

And simply for clarity "Makers Mobile," which she refers to from time to time, is the name of our first, mobile, shipping container-based art space, which is now a permanent fixture at PAR-Projects.

Please enjoy.


Makers Mobile Residency Program

Research Descriptions

     Rirkrit Tirvanija is a contemporary installation artist.  Tirvanija’s art focuses on social interaction with many of his installations centering on food, music and community engagement.  In 1992, Tiravanija created an exhibition entitled Untitled (Free) at 303 Gallery in New York in which the artist converted the gallery into a kitchen where he served rice and Thai curry for free.  The reception of this piece was very positive and it remains a landmark piece of conceptual art as well as one of Tirvanija’s crowning achievements.  

     “The artist invites the visitor to interact with contemporary art in a more sociable way, and blurs the distance between artist and viewer. You aren’t looking at the art, but are part of it—and are, in fact, making the art as you eat curry and talk with friends or new acquaintances.”

     William La Chance is a contemporary American artist.  Based in St. Louis, La Chance merges painting and installation to create unique, site specific works of art.  Inspired by scale, much like traditional painting master’s including Michelangelo, as well as taking from the tradition of color field painting, La Chance uses art to bring light to areas that have been forgotten.  In partnership with Project Blackboard, La Chance transformed a basketball court in Kinlock Park – an area of St. Louis that has been deeply impacted by poverty and corruption.   Since the work’s completion, the area has seen increased revitalization efforts and what’s more, the court is open for play.  La Chance envisions the courts as canvases for “creative expression in order to strengthen communities and inspire multi-generational play.”


     This program is intended to serve as a short-term residency of sorts.  While most residencies aim to provide artists with time and space to produce work, one of the main goals of this program is to introduce non-artists as well as early career artists to non-traditional mediums and exhibition spaces.  

     In the academic setting, most visual art programs focus on formal/technical training as well as conceptual and theoretical development.  However, professional practices are not always highlighted and many students do not receive instruction on how to plan or execute large scale projects such as exhibitions.  Real world opportunities for artists may be limited to the university setting or even non-existent in the larger community, depending upon the artist’s location.  These opportunities for hands-on learning range from exhibiting work, to planning group or solo exhibitions, packing work or preparing work to be exhibited, writing proposals for projects, shows or grants, interacting with professionals including gallery directors, collectors, and other artists, networking with professionals in the field or venturing into avenues of non-traditional art making.  Furthermore, from an art historical standpoint, modern and contemporary art education may not be emphasized in a curriculum, putting students at a disadvantage regarding how they view or understand contemporary practices and media.  This program aims to supplement these experiences and provide the opportunity to gain practical knowledge and experience for practicing artists or those interested in launching their artistic careers.  

     From a logistics standpoint, the residency would consist of various parts, including a lecture series, site visits to familiarize participants with Makers Mobile, PAR-HQ, and the installation process. It would also grant participants access to mentors, to assist in producing and editing proposals for a juried competition.  While this program would include two competitive categories:  one for youth artists (ages 15 to 20) and an adult category for those 21 years and older, both groups would participate in the entirety of the program.  The lecture series, conducted by local artists and educators, would be broken into three parts covering installation and community art, non-traditional materials, and professional practices.  To gain experience working in a gallery or installing a show, participants of the program would also be invited to PAR- during the installation of a Nook exhibition, as this process cannot be fully understood until it is undertaken by the artist.  While proper prior planning can alleviate some hang-ups, each installation is unique and comes with its own set of challenges, especially the ability to work under pressure, with a hard deadline.  

     After these informational sessions, participants will then begin composing their written proposals.  PAR- will host a day (on site) during which program participants will have the opportunity to have their proposals critiqued and evaluated by mentors, program lecturers, and other volunteers.  Proposals will then be submitted, juried and the winner of each category announced.  PAR- will seek out sponsorships and other fundraising opportunities to cover materials costs for each winning artist’s installation.     


     In envisioning this project, I was interested in utilizing the language and spirit of artists like Tirvanija and La Chance.  However, I was intent on creating a program that was unique to PAR-Projects, its mission, and its goals.  PAR- stands for Professional Artistic Research; and as a multifaceted organization, PAR seeks to broaden community access to fine art while also providing nonstandard art education opportunities.  In 2017, PAR formally launched its educational programming which focuses on applied arts training.  Future goals include expanding our educational courses as our site continues to develop as well as continuing our fine arts exhibition programming.  With these things in mind, I began to see validity in developing a new program that blended art education, art making and the exhibition of fine art. 

     One of the major goals of this program is to provide a non-academic opportunity for conceptual artistic development and hands-on learning.  As stated above, the skills that are necessary for planning, organizing and managing large scale projects such as exhibitions are not necessarily skills strengthened in the classroom.  These aspects of project management will be emphasized in the residency program, providing participants with exposure to new experiences as well as the opportunity to hone their artistic abilities and processes.  

     As we continue to invest in the community, I believe the community will invest in us.  This program not only provides free educational opportunities for the community but also demonstrates PAR-’s dedication to advancing the artistic and career development of those who live in Northside, Cincinnati and the tri-state area.  Furthermore, this program is of benefit to PAR- as it creates a network of artists to draw upon for future projects such as the Northside Summer Market.    

Example Calendar

**January – March: 
Residency program prep (obtaining funding/sponsors, securing lecturers/mentors/volunteers, program promotions)

Saturday March 10th      First lecture
Saturday March 24th      Second lecture
Saturday April 7th           Third lecture
April 16th – 21st               Nook installation visit 
Saturday May 12th          Mentor Day at PAR-HQ      
Monday May 21st            Submission deadline      
Monday June 4th             Announcements

Saturday June 16th – Saturday July 14th      Installation of youth category (2 week exhibition) + de-install
Saturday July 21st – Saturday August 18th     Installation of adult category (2 week exhibition) + de-install

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Proposal by:
Gabrielle Roach for Professional Artistic Research Projects


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