你们好吗？How are you doing?
It’s been a challenging year. As always, we're here for you in any and all ways we can be, and as cultural workers, artists, and generally nice people, we hope you’re feeling as determined as we are to stand by the founding mission Crystal and I wrote back in 2013:
“We believe diplomacy shouldn’t just be left up to politicians. Artists are cultural and social changemakers, and, in a world where people sometimes forget to listen to and learn from one another, we are passionate about creating opportunities for artists to bring a broader cultural understanding into their work and communities.”
Thanks to your continued support, we surpassed the goals set in our first ever triennial(-ish) report last year. In 2016, we dedicated ourselves more deeply to our local community here in New York City, came up with new ways to support artists virtually and IRL, and grew to thrive as a nonprofit organization with the additional of twelve wonderful board members. It’s the time of year to count our blessings, our dumplings, and our achievements, and most of all, our share our deepest gratitude to everyone who helped us get to where we are now.
So here's a few numbers:
================= HELPING ARTISTS =================
Over 78,000 people visited our website from nearly every single country on the planet!
We launched #slowtrain residencies to encourage creative people to travel by train in China. Fei Liu and Francis Tseng tested things out during our annual research trip, followed by the ambitious journeys of Roopa Vasudevan from Moscow to Beijing, then by Annie Ling & Eugene Gladun’s trek from Xi’an to Kashgar.
This year, we also started a fiscal sponsorship program to take younger organizations and collectives. We’re so proud to welcome Wing On Wo’s The W.O.W Project, BUFU, and Yellow Jackets Collective under our wings to support the transformational activism and radical community work they carry out each day.
We also joined forces with The W.O.W Project to create the 店面 Residency, where Melissa Liu will encourage intergenerational dialogue in Asian-American families in New York’s Chinatown by crafting handmade 红包 and collecting short-form oral histories responses through a series of community workshops in the weeks leading up to the Lunar New Year.
We’re eager to share everything these brilliant young people are up to in the coming year!
============= SUPPORTING RESIDENCIES =============
Our annual research trip in March, April and May spanned 12 cities: Hong Kong, Wuzhen, Hangzhou, Wuhan, Nanjing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Kunming, Chongqing, Shanghai, Xiamen, and Beijing.
We had a blast taking part in the 2nd edition of Independent Art Spaces Beijing in August, reviving Crystal’s beloved 三轮车 and food exchange practice around the theme of “Be Water". Thank you to everyone who contributed recipes, lent their kitchens, and exchanged trinkets, wisdom, and artworks for popsicles!
We published 45 interviews with artists & residency directors, created new resources to teach everyone about the delightfully intricate features of WeChat, and initiated our very first Residency Knowledge Exchange thanks to TransNational Dialogues, where we travelled with Hu Xinru, a young residency coordinator, on her first trip outside of China to visit residencies across the UK.
As we continue to amass knowledge on the best ways to start and run international residency programs, we’ve also launched an official partnership program to better assist and advise residency staff in creating open calls, devising application procedures and composing selection committees, along with all the less exciting nitty-gritty of budgets, insurance, visas, VPNs, and contracts. We also started hosting Residency Director Appreciation Parties in Beijing and Shanghai, because running residencies is no walk in the park! We hope artists will continue the tradition and remember to thank their hardworking hosts who work tirelessly to facilitate, coordinate, and administer these amazing programs.
Knowledge is only truly valuable when shared, of course. In our continued quest to make the creative sector more resilient, transparent, and accessible, we’re honored to be a part of the NEW INC, the New Museum’s incubator for art, technology & design, where China Residencies, Residency Unlimited, and Rate My Artist Residency are building a new tool called RES to help people all over the world have an easier way to access creative opportunities.
And of course, we still love dumplings.
~~~ mark your calendars for our next Dumpling Art Party on February 12th at Wing On Wo! ~~
=========== AN EXPANDING INFINITY OF THANKS ===========
As time goes on, many of you out there might not know that all of this started thanks to an incredibly wonderful person named Crystal. In 2011, she had idea to start a network of artist residencies in China. That same year, she was diagnosed with cancer, and she and I set to work to create this website, not only because we wanted to help artists do cool things in China, but also because we wanted to take our minds off the devastating reality that melanoma is almost certainly fatal if not detected early enough.
Crystal presenting China Residencies in Melbourne in 2014
We also owe infinite thanks to:
Our fantastic board members Jay Brown, Joanne Wei-ching Chen, Christina Yuen Zi Chung, Samantha Culp, Daniel Szehin Ho, Emma Karasz, Melissa Karmen Lee, Ming Lin, Thea Mai Baumann, Rachel Marsden, An Xiao Mina, and Adam Short; our contributing researcher Fei Liu, our interns, summer contributors, and volunteers Sam Gong, Willem Molesworth, Lauren Cronk, and Josue David Chavez; our web developer Francis Tseng; our generous funders, the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund, the Australian Embassy in Beijing, and Transnational Dialogues.
We couldn't do this without all the generous individuals who donated to help us continue to exist, and most of all, without all the creative people who find this website useful and the wonderful residencies who host and nurture creativity by helping to bring individuals' ideas into existence.
================== WHAT’S NEXT ? ==================
We have lots to look forward to in 2017, including our first ever gathering of residency directors in June at Lijiang Studio!
We like being an open book and do everything we can to increase transparency in the field of artist residencies, but also in the world in general. In the interest of full disclosure, here’s where all of our money came from in 2016, and what we spent it on:
Remember how last year we promised we would get better at fundraising? Well we did! Thanks all of you, we surpassed our goal of $20,000 to put towards new initiatives. We launched our residency knowledge exchange, eliminated unpaid internships, and increased the stipend for the artists selected for the Crystal Ruth Bell Residency, just like we set out to do. In 2017, we’re going to raise the bar and aim to raise $40,000 for our first residency director gathering, to creating a series of videos about China’s many different creative scenes, as well as to lay a solid foundation for the years ahead. If you can help out, please consider making a tax-deductible donation via Paypal, bitcoin or check!
Nearly half of the entire budget that goes towards funded artist residencies and research is spent on airfares, so we’re also immensely grateful for air mile donations. Last year, we saved upwards of $5,000 by using generously donated air miles to cover travel costs. Please get in touch if you're a frequent flyer with miles to spare.
We're dedicated to filling this coming year with strong support for our collectives & fiscally sponsored initiatives, greater transcultural understanding within and between communities, more public resources; and of course, lots and lots of dumplings to ring in the new year.
Co-Founder & Executive Director