Apply for Session

APPLY : Recess will accept applications via our application portal through 11:59pm on March 14, 2015.  Please submit any questions or concerns by March 12 at noon. You may read about the application and application process below.

ABOUT RECESS: Recess is an artists’ workspace that is open to the public. Recess facilitates every-day 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 and 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.
Session artists receive an honorarium 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 twenty hours per week. Session artists will also receive individualized support from Recess staff as well as visits from members of Recess’s Advisory Board of leading gallerists, 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, auditory, and 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 by the site-specific work in process.

THE SPACE: Recess’s is located at 41 Grand Street in Soho, one of New York City’s first artist communities. The 1,200 square-foot space features high ceilings and natural light from the glass storefront that links artists to the street, the neighborhood, and the public. In addition, this space offers wifi, a kitchenette, tools, AV equipment, and storage for project materials and tools. To see photos and a floor plan of the space visit our Flickr page. Public hours in Soho are Tuesday – Saturday 12-6pm; Thursday 2-8pm.

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

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

SELECTION PROCESS: In an effort to decentralize visual authority while maintaining a level of critical coherency a panel consisting of former Session artists, leaders from the contemporary arts community, curators and arts practitioners with programming experience will review Recess’s applications. Visit the Artist Review Panel page for specific panelist information.
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, they then review all other supplemental material. A small portion of successful applicants will be selected for interviews to discuss their proposal in detail.

NOTE: Applicants must submit the Application Form (link below) in addition to materials (items 2-7) through the submittable website. Please save items 2-7 as individual files with your first initial, last name and description. Ex: jsmith_Resume, jsmith_budget, etc. ONLY items 2-7 are submitted through the submittable website.

  1. Application Form: Click to fill out and submit application form.
  2. Artist Statement
  3. Resume or CV
  4. Proposed Budget: Estimated total and annotated list of possible expenditures (these need not be final numbers. If selected, budget will be discussed with Recess staff).
  5. 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:
    • 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.
  6. Work Samples (Choose 1 of the following representations). Documentation should show past work created within the past two years and/or renderings of proposed project. We prefer to receive works uploaded as individual files.
    • 10 Jpeg images (12 images if applying as a group), at 72 DPI resolution minimum, no dimension to exceed 1,000 pixels
    OR up to two video or audio samples sent as links to online work (preferred) or quicktime files no larger than 3 MB (no longer than 3 minutes each) and up to 8 Jpeg images (10 images if applying as a group).
    • 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 viewed will be no longer than three minutes.
  7. Work Description/Image List/Video Script: 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.
    Please submit items 2-7 through the Submittable Website. You will need to create an account after clicking submit on the bottom of the landing page. 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 Soho will occur some time between October 2015 & August 2016.

Q. Are Sessions open to non-US citizens?
A. Yes. We love receiving international applications. However, material 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 the least the end of the residency period.

Q. Should members applying as a group each provide a resume, artist statement, and examples of past work?
A. Each person in your group should submit a resume and artist statement. 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. Please select the idea you think is most in line with Recess’ mission. You can always reapply with new ideas, but please only one application each round.

Q. Can I build costs of travel and accommodation into my budget?
A. Artists receive a stipend that should be used towards purchasing the 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 and accommodations. The 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 budget with Recess staff. Generally, materials stipends range from $1,000-4,000 with occasional exceptions on both ends of that spectrum. NOTE: We can’t cover living expenses.

Q. Can I include images or special formatting in my proposal?
A. Proposals can include up to 3 images/renderings of proposed project (optional), 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 can include some performers fees or technical support fees if they are essential to your proposal. Recess intends the honorarium to act a gesture of thanks for the participating artist, so we ask that no further funds for 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 creating an active space that changes and evolves over the course of a project. Artwork can engage its audience through visual, intellectual or auditory 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, projector screen and some lights. We are also members of Materials for the Arts, where all Session artists are welcome to visit to procure various materials.

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’re uploaded separately, they count.

Q. What would you like in the “cover letter” section on the submittible website?
A. The cover letter can be really short and general – it can summarize your bio and or proposal.  Feel free to copy and paste language directly from those things if you like.

Image from Chris Domenick: You are Apple / Pear.