The Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Artist in Residence program, established “to support photography-based artists of color, and to expand the dialogue around diversity, race, identity and social justice,” turns 20 this year.
“It’s a little hard to believe that 128 artists have now come through the program,” said CPW Executive Director Hannah Frieser in an interview all about what 2019 holds for the Tinker Street-based institution, which opens a new exhibit that celebrates aging, entitled Here Today, this weekend. “The deadline for applications for this year’s AIR just passed, but I have to note that there were 177 applications for 9 spots, as compared to 60 applying for eight spots only four years ago.”
Frieser pointed out that the expansion in interest is the result of CPW’s new emphasis on getting word out about itself, online, through social media, and at many of the photo world’s key networking and exhibition events. She added that the gift of a local home for an AIR residence has also helped, including the addition of a new slot, and CPW’s ability now to extend residencies when needed…a boon for the creative process residents enjoy as key to the program.
How would this landmark be celebrated? Frieser noted a small presentation being planned for a regional conference this fall, and another presentation involving past residents in Cleveland next month. Details are also being worked out for an exhibition, as well as other ways to connect all who’ve been through the program since 1999.
“Speaking of this year’s highlights, we’re also returning our wonderful long weekend of portfolio reviews to Woodstock this year, May 17 through 19, with involvement for all our artists in residence,” Frieser continued. “Exhibition-wise, we’ll follow Here Today, which highlights four artists and will have its reception at the closing on April 13, with an AIR show, Photography Now next holiday season, and our focus on Konrad Cramer for the joint Woodstock Collects exhibits being put on to celebrate the centennial of the artists association in September.”
Other shows are being worked on, including digitizing of CPW’s entire collection of photos, which now include a gift of over 300 prints by the late Bruce Davidson, which will also be getting its own show “this year or next.”
In regards to CPW’s old standard fare of workshops and lectures, Frieser said the institution has started a new Professional Practices Artists Network, which will feature webinars and various “networking opportunities” as a means of “helping artists boost their careers with support structures.”
“We’re looking to supply the missing pieces,” the CPW director said. “We’ll also be offering how-to workshops on things such as the design of professional promo pieces for one’s work, pricing, and so forth.”
On a home front, Frieser said that the upstairs offices at CPW will be reopening their digital lab with state arts council-funded new computers and large format scanners. There will also be new activities, including some pegged just for teens, on the Center’s large porch facing Tinker Street.
“We’re talking to artists about doing pop up shows there,” she said. “It’s a great space… we’re expecting a lot more people coming to Woodstock this year and we want to remind people that we were an artists colony before we became a music place.”
She said it’s all part and parcel with a growing national outreach, fueled online, and enhanced regional impact, focused on CPW’s Woodstock home.
How is Frieser doing three years on the job at this point?
“I’m still loving that I’m living in Woodstock; this is an exciting community to be part of,” she said. “And here at CPW we are able to make big ideas come true, especially as we work our way from program to program with a fantastic, committed board and great staff. This is going to be a great year.”
Here Today opens February 23
Here Today, the new Center for Photography at Woodstock exhibition opening on Saturday, February 23 and closing with an April 13 artists reception, addresses the many issues surrounding mortality that are affecting so many of us these days.
“Loss comes to us all. Unable to prepare adequately, many of us spend all too much time fretting about what is to come. Diverging from the preemptive emotional shutdown, the artists in Here Today encourage us to keep our eyes and hearts on the present, and to celebrate what we have in the young and the old, the tangible and intangible,” CPW Executive Director Hannah Frieser has written of the new show of four photographers’ work. “This celebration is at once liberating and soul soothing. Age is just one of the many factors in our life’s journey, interwoven with rich experiences, friendships, fears and courage. Life is a sacred gift, not to be minimized in importance even as it slows down to a different pace.”
The show features work by Judi Bommarito of Detroit, KayLynn Deveney of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Lydia Goldblatt of London, and Jane Paradise of Provincetown. All are well published, heavily collected, and deeply focused on aging and portraiture.
CPW is located at 59 Tinker Street in Woodstock. For further information call 679-9957 or visit www.cpw.org.