Two Bay Area artists have been selected as the first recipients of a residency at the Contemporary Jewish Museum that offers private studio space and program opportunities at the CJM.
Jose Arias, a photographer, and Leah King, an artist and educator who works in several mediums, will have access to creative space at the museum through the summer of 2021, the museum announced Feb. 17.
Created as a response to the overwhelming impact of Covid-19 on the local arts community, the new program is designed to support emerging Bay Area-based artists during the pandemic. Arias and King will have access to the museum’s research resources and the use of two physical spaces at the museum that would otherwise remain vacant during the pandemic recovery. The CJM has been closed to the public since March 2020.
“The CJM is proud to provide a tangible means of support for local artists,” the museum said in its announcement. “During a period of untenable living costs and great wealth disparity, many artists cannot secure safe, affordable studio space.”
Jose Arias is a first-generation Mexican-American veteran who identifies as queer. He is currently producing a series of family portraits that aims to “broaden the conversation around what it means to be an American,” exploring our relationship to “the land that we inhabit, inherit, and occupy,” according to the announcement.
Leah King is a curator, artist, musician and educator born and raised in the Bay Area. She describes her work as “deeply rooted in afrofuturist aesthetics, joyful noises, and unabashed reclamations.” She is a curatorial resident at Root Division Gallery, a member of the female:pressure international DJ network, and the co-founder of GLTTR Collective.
Explaining its support for local artists, Jewish and non-Jewish, the museum said, “The CJM is committed to the Jewish principle of tzedek — to share what we have and to strive for equity and justice. Artist Studios at The CJM is part of our ongoing effort to cultivate community and adapt to changing needs as we offer programs that educate, challenge, and inspire.”