The Friends of the Mercer Public Library sponsor an Artist in Residence (AIR) program at the Mercer Library. Artists of all ages and stages of their professional or hobbyist art career are invited to apply to be an Artist in Residence.
The goals of the Mercer Public Library Artist in Residence program are:
- To support local artists and creators by providing a stipend, a venue for exhibits, and additional visibility in the community
- To provide engaging art exhibits for library visitors
- To provide more art and creativity programming for adults and children at the library
- To connect with area artists and arts organizations and support the local creative community
- November 1, 2023: Applications available – APPLY HERE
- November 30, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. CST: Application deadline
- Week of December 4, 2023: Applications reviewed
- Mid-December 2023: Successful applicants notified
- January 1, 2024: Q1 Artist in Residence period begins
- April 1, 2024: Q2 Artist in Residence period begins
- July 1, 2024: Q3 Artist in Residence period begins
- October 1, 2024: Q4 Artist in Residence period begins
Guidelines for the Artist in Residence Program
Artists selected as MPL Artists in Residence will be expected to:
- Commit to the AIR program for a period of three months.
- Provide art for exhibit in the main library window area, the Friends of the Library Room, and the Reading Room display case. The AIR shall install and maintain the exhibit throughout their residency period. The AIR is not expected to fill all available exhibit spaces but should provide enough pieces for a thoughtful and engaging display.
- Items on display during the AIR exhibit may be marked as available for sale. The library will refer any interested parties to the artist, who will handle any sales directly. The library will not be involved in the sale of any pieces. Any sold items should remain on display at the library throughout the residency period or be replaced by another work when necessary.
- Attend an opening reception for their residency and exhibit.
- Provide at least two public workshops or presentations during their residency period. These workshops will be developed and presented by the artist, with approval and assistance by the library director.
- Consider providing at least one “open studio” session at the library, where the artist demonstrates to the public their artistic medium and methods.
The Mercer Public Library and the Friends of the Mercer Public Library will:
- Provide a stipend of $1000 to each artist selected for a quarterly residency.
- Provide additional funds for program materials of up to $250 per residency, or as approved by the Friends of the Mercer Public Library.
- Host an opening reception with refreshments.
- Promote the AIR exhibit, reception, workshops, and any other AIR programming through local media and the library’s usual promotion and marketing channels.
- Note: The Artist in Residence is not an employee of the Mercer Public Library or the Town of Mercer and is not eligible for any benefits or compensation other than the agreed upon stipend.
AIR Application process
The MPL Artist in Residence program is open to all artists and creators, professional and amateur. Preference will be given to artists working in a 2D or 3D medium such as painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, collage, digital art, book arts, ceramics, fabric or fiber arts, etc. Mixed media and interdisciplinary artists are welcome to apply! APPLY HERE
Those applying to be considered for a residency will be asked to provide information about themselves and their work, including:
- A statement of interest in the program
- An Artists’ Statement
- A brief biography with an optional resume or curriculum vitae
- Representative samples of their work in the form of digital photos
- Program proposals for at least two public workshops, including budget estimates for supplies and materials
Those selected as Artists in Residence will be asked to provide:
- Digital copies of select works to be used when promoting AIR events
- Links to any websites or social media pages they use for promoting their work, so that the library can tag posts and event co-hosts
- Descriptions of their workshops and assistance with marketing events
- A W-9 form for tax purposes
Applications will be judged by a panel of library staff members and members of the Friends of the Library. The criteria used to evaluate applications will include, in no particular order:
- The quality of work presented by the artist: skill, creativity, innovation, and an ability to reflect on the world around us or introduce new ideas
- Availability and suitability of work for display in the library
- The quality of the artists’ proposals for public instruction and meaningful library patron engagement
- Experience with teaching/instructing a variety of ages in an informal setting
- Availability for the desired time periods
The Mercer Library has a rail system from Walker Art Display and a variety of attachments for the system. Our exhibit space includes two large walls at the back of the main library, a wall in the Friends of the Library meeting room, a locked display cabinet in the Reading Room, and two additional small walls in the main library stacks. For 3D pieces such as sculptures, artists may choose to exhibit pieces in unsecured spaces in the main library. Interested artists are welcome to view the available exhibit space and art hanging system available. Visit the library during our normal hours or call the library director to make an appointment.
Writing an Artist Statement
An Artist Statement is a concise description of your work in your own words. It should be written in the first person and explain your overall approach as an artist. Your Artist Statement will probably be 150 to 200 words, although shorter is fine. If you’ve never written an Artist Statement, this guide from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago may be helpful. The Creative Independent also has a helpful article that can guide you through writing an Artist Statement. Another good resource is the ArtDex Complete Guide to Writing an Artist Statement.
Writing an Artist Bio
An Artist Bio is different from an Artist Statement in that it talks more about your life, your accomplishments, and the significant events that led to your art career. It can be written in the third person and will include basic biographical information such as where you were born and where you now live. LightSpaceTime has a useful article on How to Write a Good and Effective Artist Biography. Your Artist Bio doesn’t need to be long: 100 to 150 words is plenty.
Assistance with the application process
Applications for Artist in Residence will be collected using a Google form. This format is not intended to discourage anyone from applying. Artists who are unfamiliar with using Google forms or have any difficulty using the form are strongly encouraged to contact the library for assistance. Seeking assistance with the application process will in no way affect the review of your application. Call library director Teresa Schmidt at 715-476-2366 for more information.