Call for Arts and Social Justice Fellow

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155 Gibbs Street
Rockville, MD 20850
Friday, November 13, 2020 (All day) to Wednesday, December 23, 2020 (All day)

Types: Art


Deadline: December 23, 2020

With civil unrest rocking the nation, a pandemic that has killed nearly 230,000, more than 40 million unemployed, and progressing climate change, there is a desperate need for active re-imaginings of the future and immediate engagement with the invisibilities of the present. The economic, political, and social inequities rooted in our systems have been exposed. What can we do as artists, curators, and arts organizations to address these challenges and offer expressions of hope, solidarity, and mutual aid? How do we focus our efforts and work together for a sustainable anti-racist future that enlists creativity as an essential civic tool while staying safe and healthy? What can we do now and over the long haul within and between communities to make change?

As part of our efforts to consider these vital questions, VisArts has created a new Arts and Social Justice Fellowship Program for visual activists whose current research, curatorial or visual activist practice, and passion centers on social, racial, economic, and/or environmental justice. The year-long fellowship is an opportunity to explore how thoughtfully curated art, dialogue, communication, and collaborations between artists and communities can productively navigate political flashpoints, chronic systemic inequities, and entrenched perspectives to inspire change towards a more equitable, just, and inclusive society.

VisArts is committed to a sustained exploration of the potential of art to transform individuals and communities and to engage radical imaginations. Since our founding in 1987, we have provided safe and equitable spaces for artists and audiences designed to cultivate trust, empathy, creativity, and diversity. The new Arts and Social Justice Fellowship is designed to facilitate and amplify this essential work.

VisArts seeks a highly motivated, visionary person and/or collaborative team to explore these ideas with us! Applicants do not need to be traditional curators. We are interested in creative activist cultural producers who explore the use of art, creative practice, and curation to catalyze and evoke change.

Fellowship Resources:

·  Stipend of $500/month for the period of January 2021-2022;

·  Opportunities for public programming/workshops/teaching/engagement;

·  Alternative presentation/platform space that may include open space on Gibbs Street, vacant windows in Rockville Town Square, the Rooftop, stairwells, and other inventive spaces as part of VisArts’ In(Site)Art Space initiative;

·  Engagement with community partners, activists, and the public;

·  Collaboration with the 2021 Fleur and Charles Bresler Resident Artists whose social and community-based practices focus on social, racial, economic, and environmental justice;

·  Opportunities for writing and research; and,

·  Support for development of virtual/online and face to face experiences for a wide array of audiences ages and cultural orientations. The fellowship will be conducted both virtually and face to face as needed and in accord with requirements/best practices for health and safety due to the evolving conditions surrounding Covid-19.

Fellow Responsibilities:

·  Review and help select the 2021 Fleur and Charles Bresler Resident Artists whose social and community-based practices focus on social, racial, economic, and environmental justice;

·  Research and develop a written, visual, audio, and/or multi-media essay to contextualize and communicate the 2021 Bresler Resident Artists’ projects;

·  Work in collaboration with the 2021 Bresler Resident Artists and community partners to develop public programming;

·  Moderate a public discussion with the artists;

·  Present a public workshop/talk on the role and potential of an Arts and Social Justice creative activist/curator in arts organizations; and,

·  Explore creative activist/curatorial practice as a productive resource to address diverse communities’ immediate needs.

Application Requirements:

·  Motivation, ideas, and radical imagination: 300 words (required)

Describe your motivations, intentions, and potential as an Arts and Social Justice Fellow at VisArts. You do not have to present a specific proposal, but rather tell us why you are a strong candidate for this opportunity at this time.

How do you propose to connect and collaborate with artists and communities, amplify hidden voices, and inspire change using virtual, socially distanced, and face to face platforms?

Why do you believe that an Arts and Social Justice creative activist/curator is an essential part of any arts organization?

·  Evidence of your commitment and work at the intersection of art and social justice: 300 words (required)

How have you brought artists/communities/and social justice issues together?

As a writer/communicator?

As a curator?

As an activist/organizer?

As an artist?



·  Do you have equity and justice training and if so, where did you receive it?

·  Creative activist/curatorial projects or related experiences: PDF (optional)

·  Websites that feature your work or projects : Two URL links (optional)

·  Social media: hashtags and/or handles (optional)

·  Contact info for two references (required)

·  Resume/CV (optional)

·  Brief bio: 100 words (required)

We strongly encourage Black, Indigenous, and People of Color to apply.

The Arts and Social Justice Fellow and Bresler Resident Artists are encouraged to initiate community outreach with the VisArts and greater Rockville communities including nearby Montgomery College. Rockville is a progressive, diverse city in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

VisArts is located in the center of Rockville, Maryland on Gibbs Street which is named in honor of William B. Gibbs, Jr. whose advocacy of equal pay for African American teachers in Montgomery County led to a precedent setting case with Thurgood Marshall as one of the lead attorneys. Artists and curators are encouraged to engage with local resources including: Gibbs Street and history of William B. Gibbs, Jr., Rockville African-American history and heritage, the City of Rockville, Beall-Dawson House and Museum, Montgomery College Visual and Performing Arts Departments, Montgomery College and local schools, Montgomery County Public Library, Potomac River/Rock Creek watershed, Rock Creek National Park, historic sites, organizations and groups in the DMV, support for virtual/on line experiences for a wide array of audiences ages and cultural orientations within Rockville’s diverse community.

The city of Rockville ranks nationally and state-wide as a leader in environmental sustainability and green power use. It is recognized for its high quality of life, excellent schools, numerous public parks, and well-educated, and culturally diverse population. Rockville offers easy access to public transit to Washington, D.C. via the Red Line Metro, an excellent bus system, bike trails, and parking.

VisArts is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Our mission is to transform individuals and communities through the visual arts. Our vision is a vibrant, diverse community enriched and connected by the visual arts.VisArts presents exhibitions of contemporary emerging and established artists in four galleries, an Emerging Curator Program, a Studio Program, and an Art Education Program making it an active and important presence in the greater metropolitan arts community.

Fleur and Charles Bresler Artist Residency