In the nearly three years since Crystal & I started China Residencies, we’ve set lots of great things in motion. We covered the globe talking about what we’ve been up to, but until now, we've never taken a moment to stop and count — to count our blessings, our dumplings, and our achievements, and most of all, our thanks to everyone who helped us get to where we are now.
So here's a few numbers:
=================== HELPING ARTISTS ===================
Over 34,000 people visited our website from 166 countries.
- That’s 86% of the globe! Help us get to 100% by telling your friends in Burkina Faso, Greenland, Mali, Paraguay, Uzbekistan & Yemen.
We received 522 project proposals to our 4 open calls.
We sent 7 artists from India, Bulgaria, Taiwan, China & the US
on fully-funded Red Gate residencies in Crystal’s honor.
- Display Distribute + AI + PS + Blood Becomes Water made exceptionally awesome zines.
5 Australian artists returned to China to explore 2nd & 3rd tier cities like Kunming, Xiamen & Chongqing through our Copyright Agency Cultural Fund supported Two To Three 二到三 program：
Ian Bonner, Astra Howard, Jason Hendrik Hansma & Alicia King + Joshua Hoare
We also supported lots of other artists in their residency search and project development, including Avigail Talmor, Fine Fine Small Mountain & ADL; and helped other artists and residencies like Constant Dullaart and 23 Days At Sea in raising funds to develop new projects by backing their Kickstarters.
================== SHARING INFORMATION ==================
We conducted more than 70 site visits across 12 cities over 2 major research trips (and stopped by to say hi to residencies and independent art spaces in Beijing & Shanghai on two other visits.)
We published 45 interviews with artists & residency directors,
and spent hundreds of hours in conversation advising residency staff on sustainability, transparency, and mission building, along with all the boring stuff like budgets, insurance, visas, and contracts.
We took thousands of photographs to document our research, and put lots of them up on Flickr & our new Instagram.
We also threw 3 parties in Brooklyn & Beijing.
Lovely people enjoying mountains of dumplings at our Dumpling Art Party.
We contributed to 3 print publications:
Mapping Residencies #2: Networks, Randian's first print issue & In Transition: The Artistic & Curatorial Residency,
and gave 9 talks, panels & presentations
in Brooklyn, Boston, Providence, London, Birmingham, Amsterdam, Barbados, Melbourne & Hong Kong!
Kira & Crystal giving their very first talk at Residency Unlimited.
================== AN INFINITY OF THANKS ==================
So many people helped us get to where we are today.
First and foremost, all of this started thanks to Crystal, and her brilliant idea to start a network of artist residencies in China back in 2011. We worked together to create this website because we wanted to help artists do cool things in China, but also because we wanted to take our minds off the devastating reality that cancer was determined to make her life a short one.
Crystal was remarkable, and even though it's been over a year and a half since she left us, her generosity, dedication, and amazing spirit will continue to guide everything we do.
We also owe infinite thanks to:
our fantastic interns Cao Yi, Hong Zhang, Julia Malleck, Li Jialong, Zou Xiaotong; and contributing researchers, transcribers, publishers & editors Iona Whittaker, Yang Yiran, Ariel Herman, Sophia Wu, Alexandra Tatarsky; our brilliant web developer Francis Tseng; our generous funders, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, for supporting the Two to Three 二到三 program & the Australian Embassy in Beijing, for underwriting the first of our artist city guides; our amazing friends & colleagues in the artist residency field: the Alliance of Artist Communities, Asialink Arts, Asia Art Archive, Fresh Milk, On The Move, Transartists - Dutch Culture, Transcultural Exchange, Rate My Artist Residency, Rachel Marsden, Res Artis & Residency Unlimited; the 121 backers of our Indiegogo to get all this started, and to the 216 individual donors who helped us out over the past three-ish years; and most of all, to all the artists and the wonderful residency staff who host them for answering all of our questions and letting us share your stories to make all of this possible!
================== MOVING FORWARD ==================
So, what can we do better in 2016?
One of our main goals is to increase transparency in the field of artist residencies, but also in the world in general.
In the interest of full disclosure, here’s where all of our money came from, and what we spent it on:
We can also get better at fundraising, so we’re setting our goal to $20,000 to put towards new initiatives like a residency director exchange, eliminating unpaid internships, and increasing the stipend for the artists selected for the Crystal Ruth Bell Residency. If you can help out, please consider making a tax-deductible donation via Paypal, bitcoin or check!
Nearly half of the entire budget that goes towards funded artist residencies and research is spent on airfares, so we’re also immensely grateful for air mile donations. Last year, we saved upwards of $7,000 by using generously donated air miles to cover travel costs. Please get in touch if you're a frequent flyer with miles to spare.
You can also buy one of our 30 remaining tote bags while supplies last :)
We're excited to take on a busy 2016, filled with ambitious new plans to send more artists to China; strengthen intercultural ties between the world's disparate regions; create more resources; and of course, make more dumplings to ring in the new year.
Here’s to the next three and beyond!