When someone first asked me if I knew what Mana was, I had to be honest and say that I had no clue, and after being an artist-in-residence for almost a year I’m still not quite sure. Past experiences in residencies proved to be clear-cut, delineated, and predictable, but Mana’s identity is a little more difficult to pin down.
While studio space is something that will always be one of the most necessary ingredients for artists in the NYC area, there are other factors that I personally consider just as important and integral to successful residency programs and arts institutions. Personally, I consider financial support and payment from arts institutions as the number one thing that I need to realize new work, participate in exhibitions, give artist talks, and provide studio visits. Another integral ingredient to successful residencies and arts institutions is their competency acting as nodes between artists, curators, and their local communities.
It’s getting harder and harder to find that trifecta of financial support, studio space, and community all in a single residency program; but at the same time there are also more and more new residency opportunities popping up over the globe and giving artists a chance to find what they need to make their work. To me, Mana has been one of those new spaces.