The University of California Institute for Research in the Arts supports embedded arts research through critical exchange

Artist Call – Lead Artist, Community Story Lab

For Southern CA artists

Venice Arts requests qualifications from photographers, filmmakers, and/or multimedia artists for a unique, 18-month participatory-art project, the Community Story Lab. This project will engage low-income adults in collaborative storytelling using photography, video, and/or audio, and will result in a final film, image series, and/or multimedia piece. Funded by a grant from the James Irvine Foundation, the project offers an opportunity to build off of Venice Arts’ long history with participant-media projects and media-based arts education, and to explore new and dynamic ideas about community arts engagement and participant–artist collaboration.

Activities and Timeframe

Venice Arts will select 1­–2 Lead Artists to develop and implement the project over an 18-month period (January 2014–June 2015). The proposed project must reflect sequenced learning and be based in visual storytelling, but may be structured in a variety of ways. For example, a series of structured workshops might take place over a period of weeks or months, or as shorter intensives. Some participants might be engaged throughout the project, while others might contribute through special activities, workshops, or community-story events.

In addition to working with Venice Arts’ creative staff to conceive and develop the project, Lead Artist(s) will be asked to participate in “creative seeding” groups with community members to develop and refine ideas, structure, and content (January–February 2014); teach and lead the project (March 2014–March 2015); and assure the project’s completion and preparation for a major exhibition/screening (March/April 2015).


The fee will be $15,000–$30,000, depending on whether one or two artists are selected. In addition, a bank of hours for an assistant will be available to help with such things as workshop set-up and media management.


The ideal candidate is a photographer, filmmaker, or multimedia artist with experience conceiving and implementing collaborative, participatory arts engagement projects; media-based arts education experience strongly preferred. Applicants should have a strong exhibition and/or screening history and proven record of successfully completed projects. Those whose practice focuses on social engagement are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply

Submit electronically to Elysa Voshell, Associate Director, at by December 13, 2013. (Applications will be reviewed as they are received; early submission is encouraged). Include a cover letter, résumé, visual examples of past projects, and a document answering the questions, below. Limit your response to 500 words.

-What is your project idea? How would you structure it? What are some challenges you foresee in implementing your idea and how would you a­ddress them? Are you amenable to working in collaboration with another artist to develop and implement the project?
-What is your experience in participatory and/or community arts engagement projects? Describe your approach to working as a facilitating artist or educator in community-based settings. Have you worked with adult participants and, if so, those with a diverse range of technical, artistic, and life experiences?
-Have you led or otherwise worked on participatory and/or collaborative projects where artists and non-artists work together? Describe the project(s) you have worked on and how they inform what you are proposing for the Community Story Lab.

Venice Arts’ mission is to ignite youths’ imagination, mentor their creativity, and expand their sense of possibility through high quality, accessible media-based arts education programs. Venice Arts also serves as a catalyst for people of all ages, living in low-income or underrepresented communities, to create and share personal and community stories through photography, film, and multimedia.

Deadline: 12-13-2013
Venice Arts
Venice, CA

Contact: Elysa Voshell
Phone: 310.392.0846

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