Truth & Reconciliation Residency: 2018-2019 Theme

Cover art by Carolina Rubio MacWright​, Michelle Angela Ortiz, Cannupahanska Luger​, and Postcommodity​



From September 2018 through August 2019, SFAI will bring together 70 artists, creative practitioners, content experts, and innovative thinkers from all over the world to explore how uncovering and acknowledging the truth can be used as a means of reconciliation.

SFAI believes that the process of truth-seeking and reconciliation are deeply creative acts that can bring individuals, communities, and nations together and heal our divisions to build a better world. In the open call for applications for the Truth & Reconciliation Thematic Residency, we seek creative projects, conversations, and processes by which the investigation of truth and steps toward meaningful reconciliation can occur. We also seek to broaden the residency experience and increase collective knowledge by bringing together in community at SFAI artists from all disciplines alongside other innovators in disciplines such as architecture, planning, policy, education, science, health, law, and activism.



Through our Truth & Reconciliation Theme, we ask:

–How can artistic expression help to counter the often dehumanizing effects of our intensifying societal polarization by confronting misleading or deceptive rhetoric with truthfulness and compassion?

–How can a creative and humane investigation of truth among individuals, communities, and nations engender desire for healing, reconciliation, and how can new narratives respond to traumatic events and culturally sanctioned injustices?

–How can art and community action bring into view a more comprehensive and critical understanding of truth amidst the proliferation of online, and often unchecked, communication platforms and algorithmic manipulation of information streams?



SFAI believes truth in service of reconciliation can be a powerful way to better understand the histories of colonization, imperialism, global capitalism, and racism, and can help to heal the personal, cultural, and national traumas enmeshed in these histories.


In the global context, perhaps the most familiar example of Truth and Reconciliation is South Africa’s process of healing after generations of apartheid. Other international examples include Canada’s process to reconcile with the generational trauma caused by the residential school system for Aboriginal children, and the work of international courts to address the crimes of brutal regimes in places like Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Columbia, Peru, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Congo, Sierra Leone, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Fiji, and East Timor.


At the national level, the United States government has engaged in outright genocide and oppression of various non-European cultures beginning with the enslavement of African peoples and forced resettlement and assimilation policies toward Native Americans. The United States has not initiated a national level Truth & Reconciliation commission; however, there are regional, community initiated commissions such as the Greensboro, North Carolina process to “constructively engage the confusion, division and bitter feelings“ that the Greensboro Massacre of 1979 engendered in the community. More recently, in 2016, the Kellogg Foundation launched “Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation,” a national process that will engage 14 select communities across the country to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism and “jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism.”


In Santa Fe, throughout New Mexico, and in the greater Southwest region there have been several waves of colonization of indigenous lands and peoples by other nations including Spain, Mexico, and the United States. There are many sides to this complex history, which is further complicated by laws, policies, monuments, and sanctioned traditions that have served to frame particular narratives and allocate power and resources in ways which further divide people and communities.


Memorials, museums, news media, technology, and social media all play a significant role in helping to construct or reinforce our community narratives as they all have the potential to either reveal or obstruct the truth, to bring together or to further divide individuals and communities. Through the 2018-19 theme, we ask SFAI residents to lead the way to honoring the truth and reconciling for the future through their creativity, courage, and artistic expression.



Now in it’s fifth year, SFAI’s international thematic residency program is a truly unique opportunity, and Truth & Reconciliation will be the second thematic year that we proudly offer this program free of charge to all awarded applicants.

To assist in this year’s selection process, we have assembled an incredible team of esteemed professionals in the arts, culture, history, radical pedagogy and creative activism. Learn more about them below.

Balitrónica Gómez
Core Troupe Member / Radical Pedagogue, La Pocha Nostra Living Art Laboratory

Cynthia E. Smith
Curator of Socially Responsible Design, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum 

Ginger Dunnill
Founder & Producer, Broken Boxes Podcast, Artist, Independent Curator

Khristaan D. Villela, Ph.D.
Director, Museum of International Folk Art

Kymberly Pinder, Ph.D.
Dean, College of Fine Arts, University of New Mexico

Lara M. Evans, Ph.D.
Cherokee, Associate Academic Dean, Institute of American Indian Arts

Will Wilson
Diné, Photography Program Head, School of Arts, Design and Media Arts, Santa Fe Community College



Our sponsored, international, thematic residency program is open to all artistic disciplines (visual arts, writing, performance, new media, etc.) and other creative practices including, but not limited to, curation, design, architecture, education, humanities, social sciences, law, medicine, and science. We strongly encourage applicants with interdisciplinary and non-traditional creative practices. SFAI welcomes local, national, and international applicants. We accept applications from individuals, collaborations (2 people), and collectives (3 to 12 people). SFAI offers a semi-structured residency program so that residents can initiate, continue, and/or complete creative work that expands and enriches their professional practice. We provide a level of access to and support from staff and community partners, and nurture critical engagement with the annual theme. However, residents are expected to be largely self-directed.

Applications for the international thematic residency program are only accepted online through our SlideRoom portal. SFAI does not accept residency applications by email, post, or fax.



SFAI offers, at no cost to residents, a furnished private room and bath; communal kitchen, dining room, lounge and laundry facilities; semi-private studio, common work spaces gallery/event space and art library; wireless internet, breakfast foods and bicycles. SFAI does not have specialized facilities, but provides basic tools and a membership to MAKE Santa Fe. All materials, equipment, travel and other expenses are residents’ responsibilities. We require a $150 refundable security deposit.

For details about our sponsored, international, thematic residency program, please visit our website residency information page, our FAQ page, and our facilities page. For information about the Family Residency Initiative, click below.




SFAI’s distinctive, award-winning facility is a nearly 17,000 square foot complex designed by renowned Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta, and includes:

• institutional offices

• exhibition and event spaces

• contemporary art library / conference room

• interior courtyard

• kitchen, dining room, and lounge



• 12 fully-furnished, private living quarters with a bath, linens, desk, and exterior patio

• 12 semi-private sky-lit studios

• interior and exterior communal work spaces

• wet room with slop sink and basic tools

• communal kitchen stocked with dishes, utensils, and cooking supplies; ample food storage; and breakfast foods, including, bread, eggs, cereal, oatmeal, coffee, and tea

• free laundry facilities

• wireless internet throughout the building

The overall physical layout of the residency space encourages daily interaction and fosters collaboration among residents.



SFAI’s facility meets all ADA requirements. Because SFAI is is one level without stairs or barriers, there is complete accessibility to all studios, living quarters, exhibition and event spaces, and our offices. SFAI also has two resident rooms each equipped with a roll-in bathroom designed specifically for easy wheelchair access, enlarged living space, and an additional bed for a personal care attendant.



With “Equal Justice” in Fall of 2017, we awarded residencies to artists and creatives of all disciplines, free of charge to them.  With “Truth & Reconciliation,” we will do the same, and we need your help to do so!

Our initiative to sponsor residency fees is a direct response to a global rise in intolerance and division. We know you believe in the power of creativity, and we need your support to re-imagine a more equitable world.


Today is the day to show your commitment to creativity & social justice! Sponsor an artist and support this critical work here.

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