S&R Foundation to Offer Free Studio Space for Emerging D.C. Artists

March 18, 2016
The Washington Post

Recognizing the District’s need for studio space for artists, the S&R Foundation is offering local artists six months of free space in the Fillmore School in Georgetown.

The Washington non-profit organization, which bought the building last June, will accept up to 10 “emerging” artists for its Studios Program.

S&R is seeking artists who are engaged with social issues and/or seek to inspire social change through their art. Eligible disciplines include visual, performing and culinary arts and fashion. Applicants must be District residents and at least 21 years old. Those who are accepted must participate in an exhibition at the end of the six-month program.

The program will provide free space in the historic school house on 35th Street from May 9 through Nov. 6. The application deadline is April 6. Applications will be available on the foundation’s website Friday.

“We felt the urgency of the climate. We want to fill the gap as soon as possible,” S&R Foundation COO Kate Goodall said, noting the shortage of studios in the city. “There’s almost no free space and very little affordable space in the city. Granted 10 studios is not many, but we would like to add value in the city where its needed.”

The program comes a month after news that Union Arts, an artists and nonprofit collective in NE, will become a boutique hotel. The developer is working with CulturalDC to incorporate eight studios for up to 20 artists in the new project.

The foundation defines emerging artist in two ways. They are individuals of promising artistic development who “may have received notable critical recognition but have not yet earned an extensive record of professional achievement.” Alternatively, they may be artists who “have transitioned from academia” who would benefit from free space, according to the foundation.

Goodall said the program is the first step in what the foundation hopes will be a “robust” program for civic minded artists. It has had success with a residency program for social entrepreneurs, she said, and the plan is to replicate that for the arts. “We need to learn exactly what artists need and how the space might function,” she said. “We want to be smart about it.”

S&R bought the Fillmore last spring from George Washington University, which had acquired it in the court-approved breakup of the Corcoran Gallery of Art. In that deal, the university took over the Corcoran’s school and two buildings while the National Gallery of Art took custody of the Corcoran art collection.