18 Dec Update 18th Street Art Center: Call to Dream – Sam Francis Fellowship
In October 2020, 18th Street Art Center and the Sam Francis Foundation were thrilled to announce Call to Dream: The Sam Francis Fellowship, an ongoing artist residency exchange between Los Angeles and three other cities foundational to the artist Sam Francis’s development: Tokyo, Mexico City, and Paris. As an artist residency program based in Santa Monica for over 30 years, 18th Street Arts Center will organize the exchanges between Los Angeles-based artists and artists with partner residency programs in each of these three cities, with the goal of fostering cultural relationships between our cities and nurturing an international cohort of artists. 18th Street Arts Center and Sam Francis Foundation are thrilled to embark on this journey together, exploring cultural ambassadorship, and fostering a collaborative international artist network that will bring powerful artistic minds and research together to shift our paradigms around intractable global issues.
Sam Francis Foundation Director Debra Burchett-Lere describes how such international exchanges were foundational not only to Sam Francis’s artistic practice, but also influenced his view of the artist’s role in society:
“The importance of exploring new environs expanded Francis’s understanding of the world and directly affected his oeuvre by exposure to new artistic materials he discovered while painting in different studios around the world. Francis often wrote about the important role of the artist in society. How artists guide us to contemplate who we are, what we believe in, and how we got here. Traveling and working in new environments around the world enhances one’s ability to be in touch with our humanity and participate in a larger dialogue.”
18th Street Arts Center Executive Director Jan Williamson expresses how fulfilling it is to be working with the Sam Francis Foundation on this initiative:
“This residency exchange is incredibly forward thinking and inspiring in its goals to cultivate artists as ambassadors, and facilitate cultural exchange around the world. It takes an artist foundation like Sam Francis Foundation to really understand the value of cultural exchange through artists – in bringing unity, building bigger world views, and creating deeper levels of understanding.”
The first residency exchange will kick off in 2022 with a focus on Paris, and the artist selection process will be conducted through a series of nominations, with a panel of experts making the final decision. 18th Street will be creating a close partnership with a compatible residency program in Paris to structure this exchange and provide a continuity of excellent support to the selected artist fellows. More information on the residency exchange and structure as it evolves can be found on https://18thstreet.org/samfrancisfellowship.