Apply Now | Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Social Practice

Apply Now | Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Social Practice

This professional development program is for New York City-area immigrant and 1st-generation artists working in all forms of socially-engaged art.

Through the support of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA) is pleased to announce a second round of the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Social Practice, a professional development program for immigrant and 1st-generation artists working in all forms of socially engaged art. This includes, but is not limited to, public and community engagement and advocacy around issues of environment and climate change, immigration, race, gender, and social justice.

Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Social Practice, an outgrowth and expansion of NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program, will provide guidance through experienced mentors, who, with NYFA’s support, will provide a platform for articulating current issues and concerns that are impacting our society and seeking ways to create catalysts for change through their artistic practice. Four mentors will work closely with a group of 3-4 artists selected through an open application process, meeting with their assigned group as part of regular group meetings over a six-month period to foster a unique peer community with opportunities for collaboration. These meetings will connect artists with experts in the field, civic leaders, advocacy groups, and grassroots community organizers in addition to providing access to organizations serving other sectors including social services, healthcare, housing, education, and language access in New York City.

Our mentors are Jeff Kasper, Clarinda Mac Low, Ronny Quevedo, and Monika Würher (bios below), four artists who work directly with the community through their artistic practice or professional organization they represent. Between them, they comprise many of the core areas from advocacy, activism, environmental and climate concerns, issues of race and gender, and community and public engagement.

This program would benefit immigrant or 1st-generation artists looking to activate and engage with communities in the city, who have projects in development or wish to develop a project with the support of the program. Additionally, the selected artists will benefit from focused guidance from a mentor, access to connections in different sectors, and feedback from a community of peers who share the immigrant experience. The program will also provide artists with the opportunity to connect with Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Social Practice alumni.

The program includes support from cultural partners Culture Push, known for their Fellowship for Utopian Practice, a process-based program aimed at artists and other creative people who are seeking to test new ideas through civic engagement, More Art who foster collaborations between artists and communities to create thought-provoking public art and educational programs that inspire broad discourse regarding social and cultural issues, and Open Source Gallery, an arts-based non-profit organization inspired by the open source movement, who provides a forum where art intersects with the community and the world at large.

Artists working or developing projects engaging with immigrant communities and/or advocacy are encouraged to apply. Artists from underrepresented populations or communities are encouraged to apply.


In my fifteen years working as a lecturer and educator at the Education Department of five major art museums in New York City, I have never experienced the level of commitment and exceptional delivery of content as that of the staff and my mentor, whose comments and sincere feedback (not only with regards to our socially engaged projects but also with our personal lives) gave me strength and encouraged me to continue working hard, and improve slowly but steady. – Gema Alava, Multidisciplinary Artist (IAP ‘16 Social Practice)

Info Session and Meet the Mentors:
Monday, November 20, 6 PM – 7:30 PM
New York Foundation for the Arts, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn, NY 11201

This event will feature artist presentations from our Mentors and will give attendees the opportunity to gain insights into their practice and relationship to the field. NYFA Staff will provide an orientation to the program and application process. Please RSVP here to attend.

Recommended attendance for interested applicants

Program Details


  • Immigrant defined as born outside of the United States (Those born in United States territories (i.e. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) may apply)
  • 1st-generation defined as having parent(s) born outside of the United States. Those with parent(s) born in United States territories i.e. Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, may also apply.   

Program Dates: 2018
Group Meetings:
Wednesday, January 17, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Monday, January 29, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Monday, February 12, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Monday, March 19, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Monday, May 14, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Monday, June 18, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

Location: New York Foundation for the Arts, 20 Jay Street, Suite 740, Brooklyn, NY 11201*

*All meetings held at NYFA unless otherwise notified; NYFA offices are accessible

Attendance is mandatory at all sessions so please check your calendar before applying

Application Guidelines: For the application we ask you provide

  • Your long-term goals, ongoing project(s), or project(s) in development
  • A short description of how participating in this program would benefit your artistic practice
  • Identify at least two Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program mentors who connect with your artistic vision (full bios below)
  • A narrative bio of your professional career
  • A link to your website or online presence
  • Work samples with descriptions

Application Deadline: Wednesday, November 29, 2017, 11:59 PM EST

To Apply: Applicants can apply via Submittable.

Notifications: On or before December 18, 2017

Questions: Contact the learning team at [email protected]

Mentor Bios

Jeff Kasper (Queens, New York) is an artist, educator, and arts organizer with a research and engagement-centered practice. Built on his interest in how space, management, and communication inform the construction of identity and perception, his current multi-form body of work investigates the scripting and surveillance of masculinities manifest in intimate encounters between men. He received his MFA degree in Art & Social Practice from Queens College CUNY and is currently a recipient of a 2017/18 SHIFT Residency at Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.

Kasper has been invited to lecture at the MoMA Department of Education, School of Visual Arts, School at the Art Institute of Chicago, CUNY, and The New School. His work has been featured at the 26th International Graphic Design Biennial Brno, Czech Republic; The James Gallery; Okno Gallery, Russia; Art in Odd Places; Bronx River Art Center; Artspace, New Haven; Queens Museum; and International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture at the University of Giessen, among others.

His experience as an arts organizer leading collective art projects over the past 10 years has involved co-producing initiatives that structure collaboration between artists, neighbors, policy-makers, scientists, grassroots organizations, and other non-art experts to create public art and educational spaces that address topics such as environmental sustainability, aging, immigration, and affordable housing, to name a few. Kasper is currently the director of engagement at More Art, where he co-directs the Engaging Artists Fellowship. He also contributes to the development of the Social Practice Queens MFA degree program at Queens College CUNY.

Clarinda Mac Low was brought up in the avant-garde arts scene that flourished in New York City during the 1960s and ‘70s. She began performing with her father Jackson Mac Low and with Meredith Monk at the age of 5. Mac Low started out working in dance and molecular biology in the late 1980s and now works in performance and installation, creating participatory installations and events that investigate social constructs and corporeal experience. Mac Low is co-founder and executive director of Culture Push, an experimental organization that links artistic practice and civic engagement, and co-curator of Works on Water, a triennial that supports art that works on, in or with water and waterways.

Recent work and ongoing projects include: “Incredible Witness,” a series of game-based participatory events looking at the sensory origins of empathy; “Free the Orphans,” a project that seeks to “free” copyright orphans (creative work with unknown copyright holders), investigating the spiritual and intellectual implications of intellectual property in a digital age; “The Year of Dance”, an anthropology of the New York City dance world that that examines how bonds form in art-making to create unconventional family and kinship structures; TRYST, performance interventions in urban space; “Cyborg Nation,” public conversation on the technological body and intimacy; and “Salvage/Salvation,” a collaborative installation and performance project that explores the philosophical, emotional, and material implications of re-use, discard, decay and abundance. 

 She has been a MacDowell Fellow (2000, 2016), participated in the Society for Cultural Exchange in Pittsburgh (2007), and has been a guest at Yaddo and Mount Tremper Arts (2012). She received a BAX Award (2004), a Foundation for Contemporary Arts grant (2007), and a Franklin Furnace Fund for Performant Art grant (2010). Mac Low holds a BA, double major in Dance and Molecular Biology, from Wesleyan University and an MFA degree in Digital and Interdisciplinary Arts Practice from CCNY-CUNY.

Ronny Quevedo’s artistic practice is an examination of the vernacular languages and aesthetic forms generated by displacement, migration, and resilience. Inspired by his own family history and migration, Quevedo skillfully transcribes graphics of locality, community, and remembered environments into his work. Quevedo’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at The Drawing Center; the Queens Museum; The Bronx Museum of the Arts; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Emerson Gallery (Germany), among others. He is a recipient of the A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art and Queens Museum/Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artists and has participated in residencies at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council; Kala Art Institute; the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Project Row Houses; Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture; and Lower East Side Printshop. Quevedo received his MFA degree from the Yale School of Art in 2013 and BFA degree from The Cooper Union in 2003. 

Monika Würher is an Austrian artist, curator and executive director of Open Source Gallery. After studying in Milan, Würher returned to her native country, Austria, where she studied with Michelangelo Pistoletto and completed her Masters of Arts degree program at the Academy of Fine Arts. Working with Michelangelo Pistoletto introduced her to “progetto arte,” a socially-engaged art project that travelled around the world including the Museo Pecci in Florence and Documenta X in Kassel. She is interested in making art a hyper-vivid expression of daily life, and challenging art world conventions by playing with its clichés. Würher moved to New York in 1999 and founded Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn, NY in 2007. Open Source Gallery is an arts-based non-profit organization inspired by the open-source movement. In the spirit of this free exchange of knowledge, Open Source Gallery provides a forum where art intersects with the community and the world at large.

This program is made possible with the generous support of The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation. Our thanks to our cultural partners Culture Push, More Art and Open Source Gallery for their additional support.

Click here for more information on the Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. And don’t forget to sign up for the monthly Con Edison IAP Newsletter to receive opportunities and events as well as artist features directly to your inbox.

Image: Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program: Visual and Multidisciplinary Arts, October 2017, Photo Credit: Amy Aronoff for NYFA

Amy Aronoff
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