Friday June 23, 2017 | by Lindsay Hargrave

CALL FOR ENTRIES: A new residency allows artists time to research at Corning’s Rakow Library

The Corning Museum of Glass announced a new artist residency program, only this one won’t take place in their studio, but instead in their library. The David Whitehouse Artist Residency for Research will offer one artist up to three weeks in The Corning Museum's Rakow Library, which they are free to peruse (along with the museum’s permanent collection) in any sort of research effort to expand their knowledge of glass technique and history. This residency is similar to the Rakow Grant, which the Corning Museum offers to scholars to conduct research, but the Rakow is reserved for scholars alone and does not necessarily have to take place on site. The Whitehouse residency, on the other hand, is exclusively for artists, is completely onsite, and can last from one to three weeks. The deadline to apply is August 31, 2017.

The Corning’s other artist residencies, which last for a month, are focused on work in the Studio. Amy Schwartz, the director of the Studio and all residency programs, said in a phone interview with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, “We do have a really wonderful residency program where artists come to the Studio and create their work. But some artists don’t need the Studio. They have their own studio or they just want to think about things and they want to research things, they want to talk to people, they want to look at things. And so it just seemed like, yeah, why don’t we create something like a Rakow grant but for artists?”

Schwartz said that this residency was mainly created for artists who may want to apply for a Rakow Grant, but would be unlikely to be accepted because they aren't scholars. “The artists say 'I wanna be in Corning. I wanna be in the library, I wanna talk to people, and so I want to apply for this grant.’ And I always kinda say to them ‘You know, it’s for scholars, and it’s unlikely that you’re gonna get it.’ And they are still really interested,” Schwartz said.

Given the expansiveness of the library’s collection, it is truly an informational paradise for glass makers, collectors and historians. From books to trade catalogs to works on paper, the Rakow library presents the history of glass from antiquity up until the present for artists to explore and use to inform their own work. Schwartz called it an “international repository for all materials on glass” and “a dream for an artist.”

The residency is named for David Whitehouse, the former executive director at Corning who died in 2013. Whitehouse was a scholar of ancient glass as well as an archeologist who wrote hundreds of papers, books and presentations, and curated exhibitions at the Corning on Islamic and ancient Roman glass. “David Whitehouse was a really big supporter of the library and of the studio, and especially of artists who wanted to use the library or glass history to inform their work. So we thought it would be a nice thing to keep his legacy going and have artists do research, which was something he loved to do, and he loved to talk to artists about their research and helped guide them in their research,” Schwartz said.

Even an artist creating the most avant-garde of contemporary work can find some sort of influence from drawing upon the past, and can benefit from the wealth of knowledge contained in the collections of the most comprehensive library dedicated to glass alone. David Whitehouse knew this to be true. “Nothing’s really new, and a lot of things build on the past,” Schwartz said. “I think a lot of artists are informed by what came before them, and this just enhances it.”

The application for the Whitehouse Residency are somewhat similar to that for the month-long artist residency, requiring a resume and images of past work. The selection will be made by a combination of library, curatorial and studio staff. The deadline to submit an application and be considered for the residency in 2017 is August 31.

The application can be found here.

Glass: The UrbanGlass Quarterly, a glossy art magazine published four times a year by UrbanGlass has provided a critical context to the most important artwork being done in the medium of glass for more than 40 years.