In response to the pandemic’s devastating impact on artists in Cincinnati, the Contemporary Arts Center and Wave Pool have launched a micro-residency program that extends both creative opportunity and economic support to regional artists. The Cincinnati Artist Relief Assistance Fund (CARAF) provides $500 grants to artists in our community working in any field, including performing arts, along with day-long residencies at a partner location.
Spearheaded by the CAC’s senior curator Amara Antilla and performing arts director Drew Klein, together with Cal Cullen, executive director of Wave Pool, the initiative first came together in April to explore collaboration in support of regional artists. Witnessing the toll the pandemic was taking on artists and arts workers, the organizations began seeking funding partners. To get off the ground immediately, CAC curators directed $7,500 to the initiative. Important additional contributions would soon follow from The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./US Bank Foundation, ArtsWave, and the Johnson Foundation.
Since the fund’s public announcement on June 16th, CARAF has provided grants to 84 regional artists, the majority of which were given to artists of color in our community. Curators also worked to provide multiple residency locations to support the artists’ range of artistic practices, giving grantees access to the CAC Black Box, Wave Pool Gallery, Poetrycycle (artist/poet Elese Daniels’ roving poetry bicycle), FRINGE pop-up bookshop in Camp Washington, and Black Coffee.
As of July 9th, the CAC Black Box has committed to supporting 20 micro-residencies, running to December 11th. The different ways in which the Black Box will house micro-residencies demonstrates a radical spectrum of ideas, with proposals ranging from the development of a painter’s community impact project that fuses live painting and discussions on race, to planning for an exhibition on appropriation, and to the filming of a yoga class for Black and POC practitioners sheltering in place.