Community versus Tourism

“Arriving at a residency involves the excitement of first times. A residency always carries the freshness and excitement of walking into a city for the first time.” – Tania Candiani, from Rethinking Residencies

Let’s assume that we all agree that we want our time at an artist residency to light a proverbial firecracker under our creative practices; we want to somehow come out of the experience richer, energized, with a fertile impetus for creative lives. And residencies can have that effect! But not for the same reasons for all, and not in the same magnitude. Here, at ArteSumapaz, we see different factors having different impacts on different artists:

  • Newness of place and culture
  • Community of like-minded people
  • Nature
  • Supportive infrastructure such as studio and meals

For some of us, the last time we had all of our needs anticipated and didn’t understand what everyone was saying was when we were very young children, so that when that environment is recreated it can have a wonderful way of throwing us back into that oneiric creative space of childhood.

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Inaugural Artist Residency Fellowships of the Victoria’s Secret Global Fund

Fundacion ArteSumapaz, in partnership with the Victoria’s Secret Global Fund, announced its 2024 fellows, a cohort of Colombian women artists whose projects encompass a wide range of explorations in the visual arts including painting, sculpture, drawing fabric arts, and other disciplines. The fellowship awards these visionaries twelve transformative one-month residencies, granting them the sanctuary to support their creative process, foster business acumen and carve pathways in leadership and innovation.

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A Small Piece of the More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible

I’m reading Care of the Soul by Thomas Moore from the  extensive Arte Sumapaz library, enjoying the ideas about working with the soul’s shadows; to ask how our shadows might help,  to acknowledge longing, desire, anger, melancholy or numerous aspects of ourselves, in favor of becoming intimate with this facet of our personal diamond.  What does our soul want from us and how can we fully express its longing as much as possible in this incarnation? 

Deciding to explore my true nature has meant dropping most other things I used to know and value – productivity, money, reputation, work, home – to explore a sense of creative freedom. I was a good-enough citizen for so long, holding a house, relationships, work and life together. Then, undoing and dismantling, seeing a picture of what I’d been unconsciously driven by, healing the unconscious and erotic, leaving corporate life to become a sex coach. While that jigsaw may never be complete, it’s good enough for now. 

I lived abroad in my twenties as a teacher and always had a sense I’d do that again in my fifties. Now I’m beginning a future jigsaw, carrying a piece – me – in my hand, wondering who, what or where the four pieces are around me, what frame and picture I might be a part of. It’s daunting and full of potential, leaving the UK in a pandemic to live in other parts of this beautiful world. 

Working with my renaissance-soul creative personality instead of attempting to deny or transcend it, is helpful. Giving in to myself, no longer berating myself for being a dilettante, accepting that multiplicity is enhanced by depth. Dealing with three or four projects is fun, having something of a broad remit for myself here, at peace that only some of the daily fifty ideas before breakfast might be fulfilled in this lifetime. If this sounds like you too you could be at home here amongst the other renaissance souls, polymaths and creative visionaries. 

I can get so in my head with ideas and forget to notice that existence is miraculous. While pondering what to write today in this safe Andes bubble, I hear birdsong from little red or yellow flitting feathers, there’s a hawk above circling the territory, countless butterflies and black and yellow long-bodied wasps in a valley of misty restful green. The internet went down in a storm, so it’s a time to enjoy digging the garden, wellies and shorts on, talking immersive theatre, gender identity and philosophy with the volunteers and artists. It’s good to begin to meet new people again – thoughtful, healing, questioning – I’m in awe of the distance they’ve come, the humility in recognising all was not well, commiting to the journey to wholeness, contributing to being the change.

Reading Joanna Macy, World as Lover, World as Self, I like her insight into three ways we can make a contribution to a greater reset: Shift in Consciousness – self awareness in a personal spiritual revolution, Holding Actions – stopping future destruction with activism and Structural Change – building new models. Being at ArteSumapaz where we are building new models of possibility in living, in art, in community, I feel less helpless and furious. This place holds a high vision, there’s cause for optimism. Awareness and pleasure activism is probably where my re-emerging joyful, practical nature contributes best, I may never get to the barricades. Being at ArteSumapaz, where we have open art crits, share ideas, offer mini-workshops, we see and support each other’s creativity. Sharing my writing from my yet-to-be-published book with the group is a gift of considered feedback. It’s creative refuge in a Colombian paradise. I’ve been happy every day here. Realising it’s been a while since I’ve felt that, I’m in deep appreciation of the space ArteSumapaz holds, to give us glimpses of what might be possible in a new model for future living. 

Crisis and Opportunity

It is no secret to anyone that humanity is in the middle of one of the most acute crises in its history. However, each crisis represents opportunity. And I want to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

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Press Release: A New Art and Culture Foundation Begins in Colombia With Audacious Dreams

Co-founders Ric Dragon, a United States visual artist living in Colombia for the past four years, and Pedro Crump, a Colombian composer and musician, have announced the formation of a non-profit organization dedicated to the support and growth of art and culture in Colombia. The foundation, named ArteSumapaz, is located on a former coffee plantation of 286 acres in San Bernardo, Cundinamarca.

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Tentative Calendar

I’ve received a lot of questions lately about how people can get involved with ArteSumapaz. Right now, we are still in start-up mode, dealing with things like setting up the non-profit foundation, and negotiating the lease contract.

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