The application deadline for Fall 2018-Summer 2019 Session projects has been extended until Wednesday, March 7th at 11:59pm EST. 

ABOUT RECESS: Recess is an artists’ workspace that is open to the public. Recess facilitates everyday interactions between artists and audiences in order to promote the productive space of the working artist as a site of valuable visual and intellectual interaction. Our endeavors promote critical exposure for the artists we support while fostering an inclusive environment in which artists and the public can engage in a meaningful exchange of art and ideas.

ABOUT SESSION: Artists are given flexible storefront space and resources to realize ambitious projects, with Recess remaining open to the public at every stage of the project’s development. Though similar to a residency program, Session goes beyond the traditional structure to facilitate interactions between artists and audiences throughout the creative process. We encourage artists to engage with their audience in a manner specific to their creative goals, while using Recess as a studio, exhibition space, stage, and/or experimental platform to generate new work.

Session artists receive an unrestricted honorarium of $1,500 as well as a project stipend based on the material needs of their Session. Artists have access to their space 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for the full duration of their Session and are expected to work on a daily basis or the equivalent of at least 20 hours per week. Session artists will also receive individualized support from Recess staff as well as visits from members of Recess’s Advisory Board, which is comprised of leading gallerists, editors, artists, curators, and academics.

In conversation with Recess staff, artists designate their own work hours, which must overlap with at least 12 of Recess’s 30 public hours each week. Working during public hours allows Session artists to connect with visitors through visual, aural, and/or performance-based material or activity. If the artist chooses to work in part when the space is closed to the public, his/her presence must be implied during open hours by the presence of site-specific work in process.

THE SPACE: Recess’s Session program is located at 46 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn. The 1,760 square-foot space features high ceilings and a glass storefront window that opens to our Recess resource room and also visibly links artists to the street, the neighborhood, and the public. In addition, this space offers wifi, a kitchenette, tools, AV equipment, basic woodshop equipment, storage for project materials, and access to Assembly artist apprentices. Photos and a floor plan of the new space can be found here. Public hours in Brooklyn are Tuesday–Saturday, 12-6pm; Thursday, 2-8pm.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Recess will only consider complete proposals submitted in the correct format; please read submission guidelines carefully. Session artists will be selected based on the conceptual rigor and artistic quality of their proposal and their potential to work productively within the unique program environment. Successful applicants will articulate a particular need to work in a manner that expands beyond traditional studio methods and gallery exhibition formats.

Proposals will be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:

  1. Quality of the proposed project – assessed based on submitted project proposal
  2. Need to work in Recess’s non-traditional studio/exhibition space – assessed based on project proposal and samples of past work
  3. Project feasibility – assessed based on project proposal and proposed budget
  4. Artistic merit and professional record – assessed based on CV and the samples of past work

SELECTION PROCESS: In an effort to decentralize visual authority while maintaining a level of critical coherence, a panel consisting of former Session artists, leaders from the contemporary arts community, curators, and arts practitioners with programming experience review Recess’s applications. Visit the Artist Review Panel page for a listing of this year’s panelists. Panelists first review project proposals and then look at samples of past work. If panelists judge these primary application materials to be of the highest quality, then they review all other supplemental material. A small portion of successful applicants will be selected for interviews to discuss their proposal in detail.

Applicants must submit an application via the Submittable website (you must create an account if you do not already have one).
The application requires the following items saved as individual files named with your first initial, last name, and description. Ex: jsmith_proposal, jsmith_budget, etc.

  1. Project Proposal: Your proposal, including all text and up to 4 renderings or images of proposed installation (optional but encouraged), should be less than 1000 words and should not exceed two pages of 12-point, single-spaced type. Please save your proposal as a .doc or .pdf file. Your proposal should include and/or address:
    • General project information (materials, scale, conceptual and technical goals, etc.)
    • A visual description of WHAT OUR SPACE WILL LOOK LIKE throughout your Session. What, physically, will be in the space? How will it evolve during your Session? Renderings are helpful, but not required
    • Specific interest in Session at Recess
    • Desired Length of Session (generally, Sessions are 2 months long. If you require a different length, please explain)
    • Proposed means of public engagement
  2. Proposed Budget: Estimated total and annotated list of possible expenditures (these need not be final numbers. If selected, budget will be discussed and potentially amended with Recess staff)
  3. Work Samples: Documentation should show work created within the past two years and/or renderings of proposed project. Media files should be titled with your first initial, last name, and number: ex.: jsmith1.jpg, jsmith2.jpg. Video and audio submissions must be Mac compatible. Each clip will be viewed for no longer than 3 minutes. Please submit work samples according to one of the following options:
    • 10 Jpeg images (12 images if applying as a group), at 72 DPI resolution minimum, no dimension exceeding 1,000 pixels
    OR up to 2 video or audio samples sent as links to online work (preferred) or as quicktime files no larger than 3 MB (each clip will be viewed for no longer than 3 minutes) AND up to 8 Jpeg images (10 images if applying as a group)
  4. Work Descriptions/Image List/Video List: A numbered list of images, audio, or videos with title, year, size, and medium of work. Include a brief (2-3 sentences) description of work if necessary
  5. Resume or CV

If you have any technical problems or questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us at or 646.863.3765.

Q: When will Sessions take place?
A. Sessions in Brooklyn will occur some time between September 2018 & July 2019.

Q. Are Sessions open to non-US citizens?
A. Yes. We love receiving international applications. However, materials stipends and honoraria will be reported to the IRS for tax purposes. Thus, we do ask that non-US citizens have either US residency status (with a valid Social Security number) or a valid work visa that runs through at least the end of the residency period.

Q. Should members applying as a group each provide a resume and examples of past work?
A. Each person in your group should submit a resume. Groups can send up to 12 images, divided amongst members as you see fit. If you have worked together in the past, please submit examples of past collaborations. If this is your first time working as a group, individual work is fine.

Q. Can I submit more than one application if the proposals are totally different?
A. No. Please submit only one application each round; you can always reapply with new ideas in the following year. Please select the idea you think is most in line with Recess’s mission.

Q. Can I build costs of travel and accommodation into my budget?
A. No. Artists receive a stipend that should be used towards purchasing project materials and, in select cases, hiring specialized support essential to realizing their proposed project. At this time, we cannot offer financial support for living, travel, or accommodations. The $1,500 honorarium, however, can be spent however you see fit.

Q. How much should my budget propose?
A. You should propose a budget as close to your projected materials costs as possible. If granted a Session, artists will revise and finalize their budget with Recess staff. Generally, materials stipends range from $2,000-5,000 with occasional exceptions on both ends of that spectrum. NOTE: We cannot cover living expenses.

Q. Can I include images or special formatting in my proposal?
A. Proposals can include up to 4 images/renderings of proposed project (optional) embedded in the document, but should be less than 1000 words and should not exceed two pages of 12-point, single-spaced type. Please save your proposal as a .doc or .pdf file.

Q. Can the project stipend include an artist fee for me or honorariums for other artists or performers?
A. The majority of the materials stipend should go towards physical materials, but it can include some performers fees or technical support fees if they are essential to your proposal. Recess provides a separate unrestricted honorarium of $1,500, which is intended to be a gesture of thanks for the participating artist, so we ask that no further funds for the Session artist be taken out of the materials stipend.

Q. What do you mean by “proposed means of public engagement?”
A. We never ask artists to propose participation for participation’s sake. Instead, we’re interested in projects that create an active space that changes and evolves over the course of a Session. Artwork can engage its audience through visual, intellectual, or aural means, or more explicitly through direct participation. We ask that artists take advantage of Recess’s built-in audience, and we ask that each proposal define public engagement in terms of the specific needs of the project.

Q. What kind of tools and AV equipment does Recess have?
A. We have a few drills and basic tools (hammer, saw, nails, etc). For AV equipment, we have a few flatscreen monitors, 2 PA systems, a microphone, hand-held recorders, 2 projectors, a projector screen, 2 media players, and some lights. We are also members of Materials for the Arts, where all Session artists are welcome to visit to procure various materials for free.

Q. Do renderings of the proposal count towards my work samples quota?
A. If the renderings are embedded in your proposal they don’t count toward the 10. If they are uploaded separately, they do count.