Who We Are Is Contingent on What We Remember: A Conversation with Lucia Warck-Meister
Argentinian-born artist Lucia Warck-Meister shares her vision as the Director of Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos, a Bronx-Based Gallery affiliated with Bronx Council on the Arts, and upcoming opportunities.
Founded as one of the first alternative gallery spaces in The Bronx, Longwood Arts Project and Gallery @ Hostos is now a flagship program of the Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), a Cultural Partner of NYFA’s Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program. We spoke with Argentina-born Lucia Warck-Meister (IAP Mentee 2008), Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Director and a multidisciplinary Latinx artist, about the artist support that she provides and tips on applying for opportunities.
New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA): As an artist, you are interested in exploring the relationship between memory and identity. Tell us more about what you are working on and how your immigrant identity shapes your work, if at all?
Lucia Warck-Meister (LW): For some years now, I have been working on women’s role in Latin America’s independence. Women who fought for freedom, the federalization of countries, and the rights of native people. But history has made them invisible. Only a few names remain. Bringing back these names is to name us all. Who we are greatly depends on how we remember and record the past to create collective narratives. Through memory, I explore ideas of identity, historical narrative, storytelling, and de-colonialism.
Who we are greatly depends on how we remember and record the past to create collective narratives.Lucia Warck-Meister
My installation Piel de Tigre speaks about the complexity of how we self-identify. The installation covers the wall like skin, but in patches, incomplete. The whole may not equal the sum of its parts just as pieces of stories remain like memories under the skin. The piece is now on view, after an extension, until the end of October at The Clemente Cultural Center.
My work La Capitana, included in the Katonah Museum Biennial, was about an Afro-Argentinian camp follower-turned-soldier who had been enslaved, subjected to abuse, and marginalized. I built her portrait by crafting in porcelain numerous braids, coils, and magnolias. Braids are a symbol of identity and resistance in Latin America. The tradition of braiding is passed from mothers to daughters, opening a space for storytelling.
I strongly believe in the importance of building community, and I greatly benefitted from the NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program years ago as it was a very supportive environment. In this line of thought, I curated the exhibition El Camino de las Trenzas / The Path of Braids at The Clemente. This exhibition showcased six Latina artists who immigrated to New York. The artworks spoke about unrooting, resilience, and the importance of community building.
As an Argentinian born-Latinx artist living in NYC, it is my role to raise awareness about present and past communities disregarded in the historical narrative.
NYFA: In addition to your own art practice, you support other artists by providing professional development classes to artists internationally. Can you share some advice on how to boost one’s materials for open calls, grants, and artist residencies?
LW: A few years ago, I created an online platform to share tools and professional development advice with other artists. It started with Argentinian-based artists but rapidly opened up to international artists, mostly from Latin America. After the pandemic it took the name of The Art Lab (@theartlab_lwm).
I always recommend that artists select opportunities that align with their work and interests. This straightforward first step saves time, money, and frustration.
I always recommend that artists select opportunities that align with their work and interests. This straightforward first step saves time, money, and frustration.Lucia Warck-Meister
Then, follow the guidelines, as each open call or grant has different requirements. Go to the organization’s web page and research who they are and what kind of art and artists they support. Write your ideas clearly and concisely. Panelists want to see how the big topics you’re writing about apply to your work. Tie the general to the particular that makes your artwork unique.
Artists residencies are a great way to live and work outside our comfort zone. They provide a unique environment, space, and time to reflect, research, or produce new work. However, not all residencies are made equal. It’s important to know what they offer. Some residencies supply studios, housing, stipends, and cover travel expenses. Others don’t. Take into consideration the length of the residency as it varies from one to the other. Artists should consider how they would benefit from the residency at a specific point in their careers. Choosing the right one and conveying to the panelists a clear idea of how the artist will use their time at the residency increases the chances of being selected.
Artists should consider how they would benefit from the residency at a specific point in their careers. Choosing the right one and conveying to the panelists a clear idea of how the artist will use their time at the residency increases the chances of being selected.Lucia Warck-Meister
NYFA: Can you talk about your connection to The Bronx and your vision as the Director of Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos? What are some upcoming opportunities?
As an immigrant and someone of Latin American heritage, I feel very connected to the Bronx. Its diverse population brings together different communities that have found their place to settle, flourish, and grow here.
Our mission at the BCA is to strengthen a very diverse cultural ecosystem by nurturing its artists and arts organizations and by serving the field at large and the public through programs that build connections, provide resources, and advocate for equitable practices. BCA offers a variety of grants to emerging and mid-career Bronx artists of all disciplines, and small arts organizations for the production of new work that will have a meaningful impact on an artist’s career or an organization’s development.
BCA offers a variety of grants to emerging and mid-career Bronx artists of all disciplines, and small arts organizations for the production of new work that will have a meaningful impact on an artist’s career or an organization’s development.Lucia Warck-Meister
As part of BCA programs, Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos provides a magnificent exhibition space—more than 2028 square feet!—which is also a meeting place to exchange ideas among visual artists and the community. The exhibitions provide a diverse range of educational programs that offer a unique opportunity to engage with contemporary art expressions. Our Youth Engagement Program offers hands-on workshops that provide experiences and activities in connection to the gallery exhibitions. Activities are free, age-appropriate, and created by professional teaching artists to foster critical thinking.
We currently have an Open Call 2025 for curators and artists, on public policies, racial inequity, environmental justice, and wellness. Click here for more details on the open call.
My vision as director of the gallery is that our space becomes a hub in the Bronx that registers and manifests the most urgent conversations in our society through the artists’ work. Artists are frontrunners in sensing social, political, and cultural changes and lead awareness on the most pressing issues. I envision this place to be a space that supports and gives voice and agency to underrepresented communities.
Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Open Call 2025 will be available here after September 26 and will open until November 30, 2023.
NYFA’s Immigrant Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program for Visual and Multidisciplinary Artists 2024 open call is open until Friday, October 6.
About Lucia Warck-Meister
Lucia Warck-Meister holds an MFA degree from UNA University Buenos Aires. Her works have been exhibited at events and venues including the Palm Beach International Biennial, FL; International Sculpture Exhibition, Bellevue, WA; Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; Museum of the Americas, Washington, DC; Miura Museum of Art, Matsuyama City, Japan; Briggens Museum, Bergen, Norway; DUMBO Arts Festival, New York, NY; Deutsche Bank Foundation, New York, NY; NYLAAT New York Latin American Triennial, New York, NY; Paul Robeson Galleries Rutgers University, Newark, NJ; Art Under Glass, Macy’s New York, Windows Project, New York, NY; Piedmont Biennial, Torino, Italy; The Clemente Cultural Center, New York, NY; Casa America, Madrid, Spain; Buenos Aires Museum of Contemporary Art, MAR, Buenos Aires; and Recoleta Cultural Center, Buenos Aires.
She is the recipient of the following awards: National Endowment for the Arts Grant Buenos Aires; SACO6 Award Antofagasta, Chile; Ibermuseum Prize; Pollock-Krasner Fellowship, New York; First Prize at the Biennial of Sculpture in Public Spaces, Palm Beach, Florida; MTA Arts For Transit, Finalist for 231st Street Station – Broadway Line, Bronx, NY; Public Art Program/Summit, City Hall, NJ; Artist’s Fellowship, Inc. New York, NY; Creativity Award-National Endowment for the Arts, Argentina; and the Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, Buenos Aires.
Warck-Meister has been an artist-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome, Italy; Oolite, Miami; Governors Island Transborder Art Residency; School of Visual Arts: Public Art Residency, NY; NYFA Immigrant Artist program, NY; Sculpture Space, Utica, NY; CAMAC, Marnay-sur-Seine, France; and ISLA, Antofagasta, Chile.
Her work is included in collections such as The Bass Museum of Art, Miami, FL; Marvin and Ruth Collection, Miami, FL; The Taplin Collection, The Sagamore Hotel Video Lounge, Miami, FL; Royal Caribbean Art Foundation, Miami, FL; Museo Extremadura e Iberoamericano de Arte Contemporaneo (MEIAC), Badajoz, Spain; Diego Rivera Mural Museum, DF, Mexico; Deutsche Bank Art Foundation; Amalia Lacroze de Fortabat, Buenos Aires; Telefonica of Argentina Foundation. Her work is also part of private collections in Argentina, the United States, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, France, and Japan.
–Ya Yun Teng, Program Officer, Immigrant Artist Resource Center (NYC)
This post is part of the ConEdison Immigrant Artist Program Newsletter #164. Subscribe to this free monthly e-mail for artist’s features, opportunities, and events. Learn more about NYFA Immigrant Artist Mentoring Program.