Thread: Artist Residency & Cultural Center
Thread is a socio-cultural center and residency program launched by the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation to allow local and international artists to live and work in Sinthian, a rural village in Tambacounda, the southeastern region of Senegal. It houses two artists’ dwellings, as well as ample indoor and outdoor studio space.
Thread's role as a socio-cultural center in Sinthian is most pronounced in its function as an agricultural hub. We provide training, fertile land, and a meeting place for the local and regional community to increase their economic stability. The roof collects and retains rainwater, creating a viable source for the majority of these new agricultural projects during the eight-month dry season.
The residency program facilitates the traveling to and inhabiting of the remote destination of Sinthian in order to allow more people from different parts of West Africa and the world to come to this inspiring location. The residency is not limited to artists from abroad as it often hosts local and Senegalese artists. Too, we are interested in artists with a flexible but deep interest in the locality; not those with a casual or condescending curiosity of the "other." The residencies are an opportunity to create cultural bridges.
The residencies are awarded to dancers, painters, writers, choreographers, architects, designers, sculptors, photographers, musicians and others who will be able to focus on their own work while at other times interacting with the local community and opening doors to a population that has little exposure to ulterior perspectives and forms of creativity not local to Sinthian.
After being selected for the residency, artists discuss with the director of Thread and with its onsite manager, the program for their four to eight week stay. Each residency will be formulated around each artist’s needs, and the extent to which he or she hopes to engage with the people of Sinthian and Tambacounda.We are currently accepting applications for residencies occurring after October, 2017.
You can learn much more about our project, program, and residency criteria at our website.
Thread invites artists and writers of any medium or style. Residencies last at least 4 weeks with the specific duration determined on a case-by-case basis. There will be two to four artists in residence at a time between the months of August and May; the residency is closed during June and July.
Thread covers the following expenses for all resident artists:
- Food and Board
- All travel within Senegal (from arrival to departure).
- A modest materials budget (further funding can be discussed with the Director)
Travel to Senegal can be arranged with the help of Thread’s team. Whether this means our sponsorship of travel grants, or other third-party funding.
It has always been our belief that the residency should be available to artists of any medium, and any attitude towards the role that art can or should play in people's lives. People often assume that all artists coming to Thread will have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. This is not the case. The residency is a sponsorship of artists to spend time in Sinthian, not to create a certain kind of project or have a certain kind of impact. That said, we believe it is necessary for all residents to have a flexible artistic process that can reply and adapt to the unique creative environment at Thread and an openness to engaging in some way with the Sinthian community, whether that be through their artwork, their workshops, or a form of interaction we haven't thought of yet. There are ongoing workshops at Thread that artists will feel free to engage in, and our General Manager is on hand to help execute any workshops or projects designed by visiting artists that involve the Sinthian community.
What counts here—first and last—is not so-called knowledge
of so-called facts, but vision—seeing.
Seeing here implies Schauen (as in Weltanschauung) and is coupled with fantasy, with imagination.
- Josef Albers, Interaction of Color
This residency enables artists to spend time in Sinthian for reasons of their own choosing, in regard both to their own work and their engagement with the local community. We are looking above all for enthusiastic artists open to new ideas and perspectives; they need not have a highly specific project in mind that involves the community there. Time at Thread is available to artists of any medium, nationality, or ethnicity, with far-ranging attitudes towards the role that art can or should play in the world. The primary requisite, rather, is the openness implicit in Josef Albers’s statement above where Albers specifies that “Schauen” (to see) is the specific seeing that incorporates a deep consideration of the world;” “Weltanschauung” or “world view”.
We have left the programming of Thread open so that it can be adapted to needs as they arise. We have learned from the first year of residencies that as Thhread exists as a cultural bridge creating opportunities for artists an dccommunity members allike to have new experiences and witness new perspectives, artists who are open to that have had the most fulfilling time.
We look for artists from any stage of their career who have an abiding faith in the power, the uncanny magic, of art. And those who have, if not a conviction, an openness to discovering the connections between us, rather than insisting that our differences make bridges between us impossible.
There is one application cycle per year. We try our best to accommodate the scheduling preferences of accepted artists.