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Engaging Artists is a residency program for artists seeking to develop their socially-engaged practice through volunteer opportunities with community organizations.


As the goal of the 4 month residency is to prepare artists for long-term activist work, ideal candidates must live in New York City and have an interest in or dedication to housing advocacy, homeless services, and/or anti-displacement efforts in their respective communities. This residency program is provided free of cost to artists. The artists receive a free professional development program, free studio space for three months, a chance to apply for a grant only available to the residents, and a final presentation / art show of work inspired by the program. The 2015 cohort's final exhibition was at the Queens Museum. 

Preference is given to long-term New York City artists; artists of color; individuals from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, those who have been excluded from the resources of the art world because of cultural, racial, and linguistic heritage and/or identity; do not have formal artistic training; or their creative practices have been historically underrepresented from mainstream exhibitions.

We welcome applications from artists of all disciplines, including but not limited to: visual artists, graphic designers, architects, writers, performers, dancers, filmmakers, and musicians.


Professional Development:

Participants have access to 3 professional arts & activism-focused guest lectures related to housing rights, policy and history. Additionally, the Engaging Artist Residency includes 3 hands-on professional development workshops with leaders in both arts and housing sectors on how to apply one’s skills as an artist to the collective pursuit of housing justice.

Topics may include: Artists’ roles in advocacy movements; the history of housing rights in NYC; the ins and outs of urban zoning policy and its effect on New York City residents; among others.

Past guest speakers have included: Andres Serrano, Pablo Helguera, Caroline Woolard, Hunter Reynolds, Leaders from Picture the Homeless and Breaking Ground, and James Macklin, Director of Outreach at The Bowery Mission,among many more.


Volunteering and the ‘Artists-in-Residence’ Model:

The Engaging Artists (-in-Residence) Program is premised on the belief that art and artists play an integral role in empowering social justice movements by creatively illuminating social issues, engaging new audiences in activism, and catalyzing new public discourse about advocacy missions from multiple perspectives.

Engaging Artists enables artists to deepen their understanding of socially engaged art through direct action including volunteering, outreach initiatives, and public art projects. More Art will assist artists in establishing pivotal partnerships at social justice and housing advocacy, policy, and preservation organizations in their home neighborhoods.

Each participant will be required to volunteer at least 30 hours at these organizations, getting hands-on with the day-to-day work of activism, even though it may not directly involve the arts. Artists will also have the chance to propose their own volunteer project, if they so choose.

Selected artists must attend the full speaker program, professional development workshops, and studio meetings (see timeline and sample week schedule below).The full program is provided free of cost to artists. Failure to complete the volunteering, attend three housing rights meetings and/or events, or miss more than one residency meeting will risk eligibility for the grant and the exhibition. (Extenuating circumstances considered.)

Partner Organizations Include:


Picture the Homeless
Eviction Intervention Services
Breaking Ground
Movement for Justice in El Barrio
United States Department for Arts & Culture
Chinatown Tenants Union
New York Cares
Bridge Street Development Corp.
GOLES – Good Old Lower East Side
Families United for Racial and Economic Equality
Queens Neighborhoods United
Neighbors Together


Shared Studio Space, Final Group Exhibition, and Grant Opportunities:

Along with professional development, the residency program includes a collaborative workspace as well as exhibition and grant opportunities only available to Engaging Artists Residents.

Free of charge for participants, the Engaging Artists Studio Space is conveniently located in Bushwick, Brooklyn and will be accessible for at least twelve hours a day (from June 1st to August 31st, 2016.)

Engaging Artists culminates in a curated exhibition and opportunity to apply for More Art’s Public Art Seed Grant that enables recipients to expand upon a public art project conceived of within the Residency. In 2015 the Engaging Artists Exhibition was held at the Queens Museum. In 2015, the Public Art Seed Grant was awarded to Soi Park, whose work, Funeral Portrait Service, will be exhibited at the Seward Park New York Public Library Branch as well as in several public parks around the city.



Discover more:

2017 Engaging Artists Fellowship Program

2016 Engaging Artists Residency Program Outline

2015 Engaging Artists exhibition at Queen Museum

2015 Engaging Artist Residency: Aging + Immigration

2014 Engaging Artist Residency: Homelessness