Burgeoning artists to be invited into new residency at Port Townsend's Centrum
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Centrum Executive Director Rob Birman, left, confers with Martha Worthley, who is in charge of a new residency program for visual artists. — Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Centrum will offer a residency program this fall for visual artists who are at the beginning of their careers.

“We have several programs here but not much in the area of visual arts, so we wanted to change that,” said Rob Birman, the executive director of the arts organization based in Fort Worden State Park.

“And the advent of the PDA gives us the opportunity to do this.”

On May 1, the Fort Worden Lifelong Learning Public Development Authority will take over management of the park's campus programs — with Centrum's festivals and workshops to be the centerpiece of those offerings — while State Parks continues to manage the rest of the park.

The first emerging artists residency, for six young artists, will be from Oct. 4 to Nov. 4.

Each resident will receive a $500 stipend and have individual studio space as well as the opportunity to use the campus' resources such as printmaking studios at Corvidae Press, one of Centrum's longstanding partners.

Housing in Centrum's residency cabins and apartments will be shared, Birman said.

An exhibition and presentation by the artists at the Cotton Building, 607 Water St., is planned during the Nov. 1 Gallery Walk.

“It will give them the opportunity to talk about their work with local patrons,” Birman said.

The annual residency will engage visual artists from the Northwest, including residents of Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.

“Young artists need two things: time to develop ideas and a space where they can develop their own work,” Birman said.

“We will provide them with a month to do this in the context of other artists who are in the same place.”

Eighteen educators from Northwest colleges, universities and art schools have been invited to nominate two to three candidates who may then be invited to apply.

Program manager Martha Worthley said she expected 50 candidates for the residency with the six finalists chosen on the basis of their resumes, artist statements and slides of their work.

From these materials, an independent committee will select the finalists.

The only requirement is that candidates are college graduates of a Bachelor of Arts or Master of Fine Arts program and have been out of school for no more than five years, Worthley said.

Birman said the program initially will follow the invitation format but will allow direct applications in the future.

“We are doing it this way at first because we didn't want to be overwhelmed by applications until we got our bearings,” he said.

“This is part of our new strategic plan to make better use of the facilities during the 'shoulder season,'” he added, referring to the time between summer and spring workshops.

Artists, writers and musicians can pay for Centrum residency without going through an application or invitation process, Birman said.

The tuition is $400 weekly, and residencies are granted on a space-available basis.

For more information, visit www.centrum.org/ear.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or cbermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: February 20. 2014 9:06PM
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