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Metropolitan Museum Creates Residency Program for Artists Committed to Social Change

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has launched a collaborative residency program for New York artists committed to social change as part of an initiative, dubbed the Civic Practice Partnership, that aims to provide support to artists across the five boroughs.

The inaugural participants in the yearlong residency are choreographer and performance artist Rashida Bumbray and multimedia visual artist Miguel Luciano. They will work with the Met to develop collaborations between the museum and their geographic communities: Bedford-Stuyvesant in Brooklyn and East Harlem in Manhattan, respectively.

In addition to the residency, the initiative will invite a group of individuals who work in cultural fields—including artists, musicians, and writers, all of whom are socially mindful in their practice—to partake in a five-month experiential learning program that will organize seminars on community and social engagement. Selected through an open application process, they will receive a stipend for their participation, which will include working closely with Bumbray and Luciano, as well as the museum’s staff. More details regarding how to apply can be found on the museum’s website.

“Both the Civic Practice Partnership and Seminar programs engage with artists and individuals who think creatively, critically, and beyond the traditional boundaries of their artistic practice,” said Daniel H. Weiss, president and CEO of the Met. “This initiative is part of our ongoing efforts to deepen The Met’s engagement with communities throughout New York City.” It is backed by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust and is part of the institution’s unprecedented $6 million citywide program, which was established in 2017 to support twenty-one cultural institutions.

Bumbray currently works as the senior program manager at the Open Society Foundations, where she leads the Arts Exchange, its global arts for social justice initiative. Previously, she was guest curator of Creative Time’s public art exhibition “Funk, God, Jazz, and Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn” in 2014 and associate curator at the Kitchen. Luciano is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts and Yale University School of Art. He also serves on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Citizens Advisory Committee for the Cultural Plan of New York City. His work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, El Museo del Barrio, the Newark Museum, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

“The most promising aspect of this opportunity is the focus on neighborhoods and communities as centers of cultural production,” said Luciano. “I'm currently developing work that focuses on the activist history of the Puerto Rican community in East Harlem and am interested in exploring the role that art and culture have played in social movements during times of crisis, from the post-civil rights era to the post-hurricane Maria present.”