Dear ACRE Community,
ACRE is an organization built on community and collaboration and we’d like to extend thanks for all of the support and encouragement we’ve received as we navigate the uncertain circumstances of COVID-19. It goes without saying that this summer will not be typical for our organization and we’d like to take a moment to share our plans.
Each summer we gather together in Steuben, Wisconsin with a new cohort of residents from across the US and around the world. The residency is staffed by alumni and volunteers who are invited to return each year to collaborate, cook, commune with and care for incoming residents. The mission of ACRE is to connect and support as we experiment and learn from one another, building the communities needed to sustain our practices and create our futures together.
There is no question at this point that our world has changed, COVID-19 has cost us all and forced major changes in all of our lives. For ACRE, these changes mean the postponement of our 2020 Summer Residency Program. While we are excited to welcome a new group of talented artists to work with, we do not feel confident that we can offer our 2020 residents the ACRE Residency experience that they applied for and deserve.
Several factors contributed to this decision, among them: the rural location of the residency at a significant distance from a major hospital system, the increased median age and virus risk for the population of the surrounding town, the safety of our partners at the Mother Earth Green Center, and the incurred risk for up to 250 individuals who attend and staff the residency, traveling from all across the country. We have also heard from our community—artists who commonly work freelance or contractor positions—that the possibility of attending the residency or serving as a volunteer may become less tenable as long periods of unemployment cause financial instability.
To honor the work of our applicants and our admissions panelists, we are offering accepted 2020 residents the opportunity to defer attendance to the summer of 2021. This deferment will also allow us to offer longer-term payment plans of residency fees preceding the 2021 residency. We feel that this is the most equitable solution and one that will also aid us in the recovery process, giving time and space to strategically plan and develop new programming as we head into the next year.
We are working with our staff, board, and volunteers to strategize ways that we will continue to serve our artist community and fulfill our mission of supporting emerging and under-represented artists. Visit acreresidency.org and follow @acreresidency to stay up-to-date on upcoming programs and virtual offerings.
During these challenging times, ACRE believes continued support for artists is critical to forging a path forward. We hope you will continue to participate in our programs and initiatives by and for the visionary artists whose work will enliven and inspire the brighter days ahead. We look forward to the time when we are able to reconnect with our community back at the farm and hope all remain safe until then.
The ACRE Staff