Image credit: NXTHVN Video Screenshot
February 13, 2022—I am excited to help spread the word that applications are now being accepted for a residential fellowship in New Haven, Connecticut, for emerging artists and curators. The program is sponsored by the phenomenal arts incubator organization, NXTHVN, which was established in 2019 by artist Titus Kaphar; equity investment advisor Jason Price, and artist Jonathan Brand.
Located in the Dixwell Neighborhood—New Haven’s African-American community—NXTHVN (Next Haven) is a professional development and mentorship program that empowers artists and curators through education and collaboration with visiting professionals, scholars, and practitioners, along with local engagement. The founders envision that the participants will emerge from the fellowship with the foundation necessary for making significant contributions to the arts and culture, while helping to foster future generations of artists.
Seven artists and two curators will be chosen to move to New Haven to participate in the 4th Cohort, where they will receive a generous stipend; partially-subsidized housing, and 24-hour access to dedicated work and/or studio space. As part of the program, each of the fellows also spends 13 hours per month mentoring nine New Haven high school students who are participants in NXTHVN’s apprenticeship program.
The fellowship culminates with exhibitions for curatorial fellows, studio fellows and the high school apprentices.
In a video sharing the evolution of the project, Titus Kaphar explains that the fellowship program grew out of his realization that he didn’t have the same background, training and academic support as his fellow students in the MFA program at the Yale School of Art, and he wanted to help fill in the gaps for the artists coming up behind him. He says the fellowship is neither a retreat nor an escape from the problems of the city. Instead, he envisions the participants in the programs as “running towards those things to see what art can help do to change those things; to fix those things.”
Titus found the NXTHVN location while searching for studio space close to home. In conjunction with Jason, who is now chairman of NXTHVN’s board, and Jonathan, the vision for repurposing two abandoned factories in the Dixwell Neighborhood was forged. They were able to find partners who wanted to support their vision, including Deborah Berke, the dean of the Yale School of Architecture, who designed the building. NXTHVN also received funding from the state of Connecticut, the City of New Haven, several foundations, and private donors.
NXTHVN includes a theater, art gallery, and cafe, 14 artist studios, business incubation offices, an artist-in-residency tower, and reception spaces. The founders hope NXTHVN can be the catalyst for the establishment of similar programs in other cities.
I admire Titus for dividing his time between his own work as an artist and nurturing future artists and curators, along with community engagement through NXTHVN. A MacArthur Fellow renowned for his work that challenges racism, Titus’s paintings have been featured on the front cover of Time Magazine following the protests over the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
In addition, Titus’s work has been exhibited at the Studio Museum in Harlem (where he did a residency), and is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art; the Brooklyn Museum, and the Yale University Art Gallery. Most recently, his work was featured at the National Portrait Gallery. Titus also has given a TED talk, which has had close to 2-million views.
As the readers of Arts & Culture Connections know, mentorship and legacy-building are my passion. I am inspired by NXTHVN’s commitment to utilize the arts for social engagement, community revitalization, training, business incubation, as well as its efforts to open doors for emerging artists, curators, and high school students.
The deadline for submitting applications for the NXTHVN Fellowship is Monday, February 21, 2022, and the program is open to applicants of all backgrounds. You can find more details and apply at this link.
As always, I would like to know what you think. I invite you to share your comments and thoughts about mentoring and legacy-building in the arts. What steps are you taking to support future generations of artists?