The renowned photographer Carrie Mae Weemscompleted a residency at CSUMB in 2008 joining theAfrican American Legacy Projectin a special series of photography workshops focused on civil rights moments in history.
The residency included the development of a large-scale photography project, public lecture, and community reception. Ms. Weems was able to work with over 30 students from across the campus in a series of studio photography sessions based on a critical moment in civil rights history.
Ms. Weems had students doing research and developing poses for her large format photos. The weeklong undertaking was shot in the Teledramatic Arts and Technology studio with collaboration from VPA faculty. The resulting series Constructing History: Requiem for a Moment was shown in 2009 at the Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco, California and in 2008 at ACA Gallery of Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta, Georgia.
Becoming Visible: Images of Youth, Community, & Hope brought photographer Dawoud Beyto Watsonville Community School students. Bey, a Chicago portraitist acclaimed for his work with urban youth, photographed students in the alternative education program. Although these students came to Watsonville Community School for a variety of reasons (poor attendance, teen pregnancy, legal problems), the reclamation project captures the dreams, hopes, and goals of these youths by pairing their portraits with their own words from interviews with Dr. Amalia Mesa-Bains, Visual & Public Art Institute Director. These pieces will then be placed in public transportation shelters throughout Monterey & Santa Cruz counties, sharing the unique perspective & images of these students with those who otherwise might never have experienced them. An exhibition of the portraits is also scheduled to be in the Watsonville area.
This residency was part of The Reclamation Project: Artists and Community in Partnership, which was funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation and was a specialized grant project that paired practicing artists with community members and organizations to create collaborative public art works that reclaim their environment.
Acts of Reclamation employed prominent visual and performing artists-in-residence to work reciprocally in established community-university partnerships to create new community-based art works that emphasize collaborative narratives, authentic community participation, and an aesthetically relevant and complimentary community-artist connection.
Each artist is invited to visit the California State University Monterey Bay campus in a series of three residencies, one for community collaboration and project design, the second visit for implementation and work, and a third for final realization and community presentation. In addition to the partnerships between artist and community, the collaborative nature of this project is furthered by the liaison with the Visual and Public Art Institute's mist/curriculum and classes. VPA students and courses will be directly linked to assistance and implementation of the artist residencies in the local community.
Guided by the cultural citizenship model, the Reciprocal University for the Arts has specifically designed this project to be responsive to issues articulated by the community and led by visual and performing artists in residence who have a history of working collaboratively with diverse communities on issues of social justice.