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 allows more people from different parts of West Africa and the world to come to this inspiring location. It is not limited to artists from abroad as we often host local and Senegalese artists. 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.
Who can apply?
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.
Residencies last 4 to 8 weeks with the specific duration determined on a case-by-case basis. There will be two artists in residence at a time between the months of July and April. The residency is closed during May and June.
After being selected for Thread, artists discuss with the residency programmer the plan 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. A lot of time can be used as studio time, and it is not obligatory to work in a way that engages directly with the local population.
We are currently accepting applications for residencies occurring in 2020 and beyond.
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)
Thread does not cover the following expenses:
Travel to Senegal is not covered but we will send you an acceptance letter that you can use for travel grant applications, 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 look for artists from any stage of their practice who have an openness to discovering the connections between us, rather than insisting on our differences.