Museum of Contemporary Native Arts Offers Social Engagement Residency Program

MoCNACall4artSANTA FE — The Museum of Contemporary Native Arts (MoCNA) is accepting applications for its Social Engagement Art Residency through the Artist Leadership Program for Museums and Cultural Institutions supported by the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian Institution.

About the Residency 

MoCNA will facilitate a residency program in Santa Fe that will offer four Native artists the opportunity to access the MoCNA collection and create a socially engaged art piece with the support of the museum, the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) and the Santa Fe community at-large for 10 days. MoCNA will pair two contemporary Native artists to support a wider dialogue. As a result, the artists will engage in the flexibility to brainstorm and work together during the creative process. However, this pairing would still represent a two-person showing of works created, rather than a collaborative final artwork.  Residents will also participate in a variety of public programming and community engagement.

MoCNA’s residency includes technical and entrepreneurial professional development, and a 400-square-foot working studio in the museum proper. The purpose of this strategy is to enable contemporary Native artists to negotiate and position community-driven Indigenous narratives within the public sphere. Artists also will spend time in the MoCNA’s National Collection of Contemporary Native Art to aid in the creative process by drawing from one of the largest collections of contemporary Native art in the world.

During the visit, it is our intent that the artists will connect and contextualize ideas through examining discourse from our collection. By hosting the residency for Native artists, fostering partnerships with cultural and educational organizations, and integrating community engagement, MoCNA seeks to transform Santa Fe into a hub for positive social change that reflects the needs of the community and artists.

Like-minded institutions and social networks already being nurtured by MoCNA, including organizations, Native and non-Native artists that live and work in the cultural hub of Santa Fe, would work together in ultimately creating a socially engaged art piece. Residents will also be provided access and exposure to other local museums collections.
The final piece could cover various media and wide range of project methods that engage the community or specific facet of the community in a strategic manner that produces both artful and social outcomes to address issues under the rubric of sustainability, which is a high priority issue for IAIA (e.g., water, land use, transportation, globalism and language).
While the outcomes of social practice art could result in video installations, sound installations, photography, prints or murals, which function perfectly within a museum or gallery context, sometimes the results are also realized in the relationships themselves, in shifts of community power, community-driven strategies and social infrastructures that resolve pre-existing conflicts, traumas or social injustices. The Native art collective, Postcommodity, is an example of Indigenous social practicing artists. Their project, one of three installations called It Wasn’t the Dream of Golden Cities, was organized and exhibited by MoCNA, created in response to Santa Fe’s 400-year anniversary.
The museum will document the process and final art pieces, which will be shown in the MoCNA Artist Studio during SWAIA Indian Market. Ultimately, these projects could or should find unorthodox places for exhibition.

Social Engagement 

Social practice art has been positioned by significant contemporary art institutions like MOMA/PS1, Whitney Museum, Queens Museum of Art, The Hammer, LAMoCA and the ASU Art Museum as a means of expanding the reach of museums beyond their respective walls and into specific communities. In this regard, the social art practitioner purposefully builds a dialogical bridge between the museum and community leading to greater, long-term community relevancy and participation. It’s important to note that social practice art is particularly relevant to Indigenous art practices because it relies upon relationships, respect, protocols and reciprocity, while working toward insights into community self-determination, and community-driven processes that define the sovereignty of context.
Social practice art is an interdisciplinary means of contemporary art production that utilizes social space, social relationships and specific communities of interest as mediums to recover knowledge and re-define notions of power and agency pertaining to a broad spectrum of social, cultural, psychological, political and economic issues within a particular place or geography.

How to Apply

MoCNA seeks discourse-driven Native artists for the program. The creativity of this program will diversify, strengthen and advance knowledge and expertise in the Native arts field. Ultimately, MoCNA can be a catalyst for artists to create community dialogues and creating dynamic experiences. Our goal is to realize projects with the artists that recognize and support contemporary Indigenous discourse and celebrate and engage the vibrant community that MoCNA and Santa Fe community have to offer.

Please submit a proposal that outlines and identifies a social engagement art piece. Key items include: budget, logistics, a focus community of interest, potential collaborators, goals for the relationships built, and imagined outcomes. A CV, five images of work samples and a letter of recommendation are also required. Proposals and other supporting information can be submitted online here.


Travel, lodging and per diem expenses would be paid for participating artists. An honorarium of $1,500 would be offered to each participating artists, with $1,000 given for project costs. Additional funding may be provided for projects based on availability.


  • Deadline for applications – April 25, 2014
  • Announcement of residency – week of May 5th, 2014
  • First set of two artists arrive/work in Santa Fe – June 20-30, 2014
  • Second set of two artists arrive/work in Santa Fe – August 5-14, 2014

For more information

Andrea R. Hanley, Museum Membership & Program Manager


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