Applications for Fall 2019-Summer 2020 Session projects will be open Wednesday, January 23rd until Monday, April 15th at 11:59pm EST. 

ABOUT RECESS: Recess partners with artists to build a more just and inclusive creative community. By envisioning our public as participants, we challenge common distinctions between process and product, maker and consumer. Recess is a generative meeting place for reimagining the social possibilities of art.

ABOUT SESSION: Artists are given flexible space and resources to realize ambitious projects, while  Recess remains 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.

Projects that align with our mission to create a more just and inclusive arts community are given priority.

Session artists receive an unrestricted honorarium of $1,500 as well as a project stipend ranging from $3,000-8,000 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 traces of site-specific work in process.

THE SPACE: Recess’s Session program is located at 46 Washington Avenue in Brooklyn. The Session gallery is approximately 1,000  square-feet and features high ceilings and a glass storefront window that opens to our Assembly gallery and storefront, the neighborhood, and the public. In addition, this space offers wifi, a kitchenette, tools, AV equipment, basic woodshop equipment, basic silk screening facilities, storage for project materials, and access to Assembly artist apprentices. Photos and a floor plan of the space can be found here. Public hours 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, their project’s alignment with our mission, and the artist’s potential to work productively within the unique program environment. Successful applicants will articulate a particular need to expand beyond traditional studio methods and gallery exhibition formats and engage an inclusive public or specific community group.

Proposals will be evaluated with the following criteria in mind:

    1. Quality of the proposed project – assessed based on submitted project proposal
    1. Need to work in Recess’s non-traditional studio/exhibition/community space – assessed based on project proposal and samples of past work
    1. Project alignment with our mission to build a more just and inclusive creative community
    1. Project feasibility – assessed based on project proposal and proposed budget
  1. 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 or community engagement
    1. 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)
    1. 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:
    1. • 10 Jpeg images (12 images if applying as a group), at 72 DPI resolution minimum, no dimension exceeding 1,000 pixels
    1. 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)
    1. 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
  1. Resume or CV

Please read through FAQs below.  If you still encounter problems or questions, \contact us at or 646.863.3765.

Q: When will Sessions take place?
A. Sessions in Brooklyn will occur some time between September 2019 & July 2020.

Q. Are Sessions open to non-US citizens?
A. Yes. 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. If your group has a track record working together, you may submit a single group cv.  If the collective is new, 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 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 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 $3,000-8,000 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 project stipend can include performer/presenter fees, specialized labor, or technical support fees if they are essential to your proposal. Recess provides a separate unrestricted honorarium of $1,500, which is intended for the Session artist artist, so we ask that no further funds for the Session artist be included in 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 or reach out to specific communities and invite them into the space. Finally, 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 drills and basic tools (hammer, saw, nails, etc) and a band saw, table saw, and circular saw. For AV equipment, we have a few flatscreen monitors, a PA system, a microphone, hand-held recorders, 2 projectors, 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 but do count toward the 2-page proposal limit. If they are uploaded separately, they do count toward the 10-image limit.