More and more art residencies are opening in Russia, offering opportunities for both Russian and international artists. Take a look at eight residencies located across the country, from above the Arctic Circle to the Far Eastern port of Vladivostok.
In February, the Garage Museum for Contemporary Art launched an art residency in a post-constructivist pavilion in Moscow’s famous VDNKh park. For six months a year, 14 working spaces will operate for Moscow-based artists, and four additional spaces will be available for artists from other regions of Russia. From 2020, the program will be extended to include artists from abroad, as well as Russian and international curators.
Vyksa art residency was launched in 2017 by OMK-Uchastie Charity Fund, the body behind the Art Ovrag Festival of Urban Culture in Vyksa, a town in central Russia. The residency hosts artists from different genres throughout the entire year. In 2019, the theme is “Russian Field of Experiments,” a homage to the eponymous seminal album by Soviet/Russian punk band Grazhdanskaya Oborona. The selection favors artists suggesting interactions with the local context and community. Residents are offered accommodation in a mansion with a garden for three to eight weeks and are allowed to bring family and guests. In addition to the grant itself, transportation and materials are also covered. In exchange, residents hold lectures and workshops, and donate a chosen artwork to the foundation, which is exhibited in the Vyksa Museum.
St. Petersburg Art Residency (SPAR)
The St. Petersburg Art Residency (SPAR) was founded in 2012 in the Pushkinskaya-10 art center in the very heart of St. Petersburg. Located in a building’s courtyard, the art center is a world all its own – featuring graffiti on its façades, drawings on its walls, cozy galleries, a café, and a sound museum. Free exhibitions and performances take place regularly.
The story of the art space at Pushkinskaya 10 began in 1989, when squatters moved into the unoccupied building. It soon became home to big names in Soviet underground culture, including musicians Boris Grebenshikov and Vyacheslav Butusov. It now hosts an art center and a residency that offers artists accommodation as well as working and exhibition space. At the end of their tenures, residents present their finished works. Pushkinskaya 10 selects applications of various themes, which are not necessarily connected to the local context.
This is the northernmost art residency in Russia, located in Nikel, Murmansk region, close to the Norwegian border and above the Arctic Circle. Artists come here twice a year for two weeks, for sessions titled “Polar Day” and “Polar Night.” Residents are provided with accommodation, meals, transfers, and materials, and are also offered working spaces. In return, the artists organize events in the Vtoraya Shkola center, which hosts the residency. The objective is to develop the local cultural scene, so the selection favors projects related to Nikel’s environment and collaborations with local organizations. The idea is to revitalize local public spaces and introduce new public artworks and infrastructure.
Zarya art residency was established in 2014 in Vladivostok’s Zarya Center for Contemporary Art, which was curated by Strelka Institute alumna Ekaterina Krylova. Artists here are provided with hillside accommodation and working spaces for up to two months. In return, they deliver a lecture and submit an artwork to the Zarya Center. The residency favors projects which are in touch with the local context.
The National Centre for Contemporary Arts residency’s main advantage is its location. It is situated in Kronstadt, a port city on an island in the Gulf of Finland, west of St. Petersburg. Kronstadt’s city center is a UNESCO World Heritage site. A park, museum, historic wharfs, sail lofts, and Kronstadt Naval Cathedral are all found nearby. The residency hosts up to two people simultaneously (each for up to two months) and accepts artists working within any medium: photography, graphics, sculpture, video art, installations, archive research, etc. Accommodation and transfers are covered, as well as visa invitations for international artists.
Guslitsa estate is located in the middle of a pine forest in Ilyinsky Pogost village, Moscow region, in a late 19th century building which was formerly used as a textile factory. Artists, musicians, writers, artisans, architects, and tech experts come here. Collaboration, economic efficiency, and sustainability are cornerstones of Guslitsa’s ideology. Multiple exhibitions, concerts, workshops, and other events take place here, with a major focus placed on ecological context. Notably, Guslitsa operates with zero staff, running solely on the efforts of volunteers and residents. Artists are offered working spaces and assistance with the implementation of their projects, competition participation, and artwork sales. The estate currently hosts 60 artists.
The residence was established by the Cultural Initiatives Center at the “Artкommunalka. Erofeev and Others” museum. The museum is located in Kolomna, southwest of Moscow, and is dedicated to Soviet communal living and dissident culture. Its building used to host Ogonyok grocery store, where the famed Russian writer Venedikt Erofeev worked as a wine section laborer. Artkomunnalka opened on December 11, 2011, on the anniversary of the notorious Manege Affair of 1962, when Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev chided an avant-garde exhibition being held in the Moscow Manege.
The Artkommunalka residency supports radical contemporary art, and one of its main goals is to engage the local community in the art process. The museum and the area where the residency is located are connected through a passageway hidden in a closet. Residents who are artists and writers are hosted throughout the entire year. Artworks are exhibited not just at the end of the residency, but throughout the residents’ tenures.