About the CounterPulse Artist Residency & Commissioning Program

The CounterPulse Artist Residency & Commissioning Program offers emerging local performing artists space, administrative and technical support to create new work, while supporting experimentation and risk-taking by lifting many of the responsibilities associated with self-production. This is a more supportive program than our co-production presentation program.

We offer four residency tracks:

  • Edge, is an incubation residency and commissioning program for contemporary choreographers whose work is deeply curious about the intersection of art practice and social change. Through progressing showings, discourse events, and culminating live performances this program is a platform for investigating relevancy and creating new knowledge. By eliminating boundaries between disciplines, between artists and audience, and between communities, Edge produces innovative performance works with transformational potential.
  • Switch, is CounterPulse’s cultural exchange program that catalyzes collaborations between artists, initiatives, and communities outside of the Bay Area. We pose exchange as an integral part of the creative process. We strategize generative diversity across cultural lines and creative practices as a tactic to exponentially shift the field of discourse. Switch is creating a platform for sophisticating collaboration across differences.
  • Performing Diaspora: The work of Performing Diaspora artists is not easily categorizable, and the ways in which their work draws on or is rooted in tradition may take many forms. In this current moment we are interested in supporting artists that are drawing on tradition as a radical way to be responsive, inclusive, and support equity. We find ourselves with questions around how tradition can be a tool of anti-capitalism, anti-border control, anti-police violence, anti-homogenization, or anti-erasure. However, we are also interested in exploring beyond the polemic set by the frame of ‘anti.’ Therefore, we are also curious about how tradition is a tool of evolution? How is tradition alive? How does tradition move across space, time, boundaries and border? This residency supports artists whose work carries the story of a previous life and lands it in this time and space. In a time when record numbers of refugees seek asylum and the erasure of people of color’s experiences and lives is more visible than ever, the stories we carry in our minds and bodies are all the more important. What is your story of change?
  • Combustible, is a lab for intersecting art practices from dance and technology. Artists are given real, raw Space and Time, to collaborate on the creation of innovative live performance projects with use state-of-the-art lighting and sound tools. Throughout a residency period artists share their research through designed public experiences and events. Combustible carves a place to be deeply inquisitive and experiment on the edge of what is known.

The support you get

Studio Space Artists receive a total of 100 hours of studio space.
Work-in-Progress Showings Artists participate in three work-in-progress showings where they receive and offer feedback on each other’s work using the Critical Response Process developed by Liz Lerman. The second and third showings are open to the public.
Marketing & Communication Artists will have the opportunity to share their developmental process in a flourishing interactive online community through a dedicated page on the CounterPulse website. Artists will create regular blog entries, participate in online interviews, and have their Work-in-Progress showings posted online.
Performances The work developed during the residency is presented during two weekends of shared performances. We cover production costs and artists receive payment for their work. These performances frequently receive press coverage.
Long-Term Support CounterPulse supports artists and their work long after the residency period has ended. We work to create connections with other presenters that will enable the work to tour, and we frequently present or co-present full-length works developed by former Artists in Residence.
Additional Opportunities Artists may have the opportunity to work with paid mentors, and may also have the opportunity to teach master classes as part of ARC.

Who we chose

Read our curatorial guidelines. We are open to many different proposals from a wide variety of artists, and there are no hard and fast rules about who we will select. However, we tend to choose applicants who:

  • Blend more than one performance genre or discipline. Collaboration with other artists is strongly encouraged.
  • Are community-based and socially aware. We are interested in work that addresses current social, political or environmental issues.
  • Have a distinct and compelling vision for how they would like to take advantage of CounterPulses’s physical space and organizational resources.
  • We particularly encourage queer artists, artists of color, and artists with disabilities to apply.

This program is made possible by support from the Ken Hempel Fund for the Arts,Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the Zellerbach Family Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts

Photo from Zoë Klein’s 2016 artist residency performance, Born, Never Asked. Photo by Robbie Sweeny