by Kelly Seiz
Over the past 16 years, almost 100 photographers of color have taken part in summer residencies at the Center for Photography in Woodstock (CPW). At the completion of the program, residents donate at least one piece to CPW’s permanent collection, creating a sort of timeline that follows the development of photography and how race relations have influenced photographers over the past decade and a half.
The program was designed as a sanctum for photographers: a place to sleep, learn, and create without worrying about finances, supplies, or living accommodations. Every year, CPW offers seven residencies for artists and one “critical studies residency” for a curator or critic of color.
Residents are given stipends for food and travel, full access to CPW’s facilities (including a darkroom, a library, and a “digital kitchen” with 27 inch iMac computers and state of the art hardware, software, and printers), as well as the opportunity for an exhibition.
A total of 20 artists will feature their work in the upcoming exhibit at the Hotchkiss School’s Tremaine Gallery, Race, Love, and Labor: New Work from the Center for Photography at Woodstock’s Artist-in-Residency Program, including four of the CPW residents. The exhibit runs from through March 3. There will be a “gallery talk” with CPW Executive Director Arial Shanberg on Thursday, February 12 at 6:30pm, followed by a reception.
Sarah Lewis, the exhibit’s guest curator, brings the exhibit from SUNY New Paltz’s Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art to the Hotchkiss School along with an impressive reputation.
Sarah Lewis became a Du Bois Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African American Studies for her research regarding international race formation. She is in the process of earning her doctorate from Yale. She’s been a curator at several prestigious institutions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the Tate Modern in London. She’s been published in the New Yorker, the New York Times, and publications put out by the Smithsonian and Rizzoli. She served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee.
Her experience studying global racial development and navigating some of the world’s most elite artistic institutions make her the perfect guest curator for the CPW exhibit.
“A reflective look at the CPW collection shows how photography, working with a vast range of aesthetics, plays a critical role in the labor of becoming and the work it entails—on the land and within our inner worlds,” Lewis said. “They function, as Frederick Douglass once reminded us, as images that both record what is and conjure a sense of what could be.”
The exhibit features other mediums besides photography, including video and books from CPW’s permanent collection. A fully illustrated, 66-page catalogue of the exhibit, including a curatorial statement by Lewis, is published by the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art.