Anchorage Museum Virtual Artist Residencies
Story by: Francesca Du Brock
Through the generous support of The CIRI Foundation, the Anchorage Museum was able to provide Virtual Artist Residencies to four Indigenous artists during the summer and fall of 2020. Facing the expanding crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic, this project gave Museum curatorial staff the invaluable opportunity to work closely, one-on-one with artists and support their working process, rather than focusing on traditional exhibition models that emphasize product over process. We worked with the following artists, click through their names to read their features on the Anchorage Museum blog.
Each residency started in the same fashion, with an interview conducted by the Anchorage Museum Chief Curator, which was developed into a profile published on the Museum blog. These profiles provide audiences with an introduction to the artist, their background, and key motivating factors and themes in their artwork. Artists provided images and feedback on the text. Then, depending on the level of comfort with digital media, artists shared different aspects of their process a minimum of three times throughout the month – through photos and written narration, videos published on the Anchorage Museum Instagram and Facebook pages, as well as live-streamed studio demos hosted on the Anchorage Museum Facebook live page. Artists worked across a variety of media, including printmaking, carving, photography, textile, and sculpture. Examples of process sharing included etching a copper plate; casting a stainless-steel mask; cyanotype printing on fabric, and hand-crimping kammak soles.
Audience engagement with this content was tremendous. Posts featuring artist work racked up hundreds of likes and many comments on social media. Livestreams were well-attended. Artists cited positive experiences in these residencies including: professional development through working with Museum staff; financial support for materials during the pandemic; exposure to new audiences; opportunities to organize personal archives; practice talking about their work; and opportunities to learn more about the Museum collection.