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What is Session?

̌Session provides artists a 1200sf workspace in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn and 6-10 weeks to develop a new inquiry-based project meant to push the boundaries of their practice. They will receive an artist honorarium, planning meeting fees, project expenses, technical support, and mentorship collectively valued at approximately $22,500-$25,000. Throughout the session, we will facilitate public interactions with the Recess community, as well as connections among intentional communities as identified by each artist. Our hope is that these engagements provide an opportunity for mutually beneficial exchanges that not only refine the artists’ thinking, but that challenge dominant social narratives and activate new forms of artmaking.

Based on our learnings from our current experimental Session cycle, we are moving towards a biannual open call. In addition to the 6 Session artists selected for the 2024-25 season, we will also maintain relationships with a small cohort of applicants to further develop their proposals toward the 2025-26 season. We will also leave flexibility in the 2025-26 season for re-engaging Session alumni and for hosting projects with collaborating organizations advancing racial and economic justice.

All Session artists are expected to engage with Recess’s other main program Assembly. Founded in 2016, Assembly offers system-impacted young people aged 18-26 an inroad to art and connections to working artists, while serving as an alternative to incarceration and its intersecting systems of oppression. The curriculum empowers young people to take charge of their own life story and envision a future through art. See the section below for how these interactions may take place.

During our current Session cycle, we recruited two Session artists that have the interest, life experience, facilitation skills, and artistic practices that match Assembly youth's interests and aspirations. They spent 1-2 months as teaching artists building relationships with Assembly fellows and then collaboratively built out a Session installation and related programming. This year, Session applicants to the Open Call will have the opportunity to apply for this collaborative Session x Assembly format by checking the box to indicate your interest and by answering three additional questions that will allow us to better understand the applicants’ intention and preparation to work with Assembly youth.

Please note that you can only apply for a traditional Session OR the Session X Assembly collaborative format, not both. We understand that these proposals will need to be more flexible and emergent than traditional Sessions to allow the collaboration with young folks to evolve. However, we expect artists to provide enough structure and parameters to create clear expectations for what Assembly youth might learn and how they can participate actively in the project given the additional time that this format requires artists to invest prior to Session as a teaching artist, there is an additional $1000 honorarium for individuals and $1500 for multiple artists/collectives allotted beyond a traditional Session artist honorarium.Click here to see Marcela Torres’s project with Assembly as an example.

Open Call Application Workshop Recording

How Does Recess Center Care & Accountability with Session Artists?

̌We see artists as more than just producers of cultural experiences during their time in Session. Rather, Session is an invitation to join and be immersed into the Recess community. All selected artists will start their experience with a facilitated welcoming gathering that invites artists to reflect on Recess’s Care & Accountability Towards Abolition Framework, so that we may collectively pursue courageous and values-aligned work. As such, we have increased artist honoraria to adjust for increased cost of living in NYC to $3500 for individuals and $5000 for multiple artists/collectives.

Recess also earmarks up to $2500 for individuals and $4000 for multiple artists/collaboratives for artists to be compensated for required pre-Session planning meetings and a post-Session debrief so that project intentions are understood, honored, and supported by the Recess community. Furthermore, $2500 for individuals and $4000 for multiple artists/collaboratives are designated for a Care & Capacity Fund to use prior to, during, and/or after the Session. These funds are a reflection of Recess’s commitment to provide flexible and personalized forms of care and resource allocation, so that artists can show up with as much capacity as possible in their personal and professional lives.

How do Session and Assembly Programs Intersect at Recess?

We ask all Session artists to share a bibliography of readings and media clips that are relevant to the Session project so that our Assembly educators can incorporate these into their curricula. Furthermore, we ask Session artists to either do an artist talk and project presentation in advance of their Session OR a walkthrough of the project with Assembly youth in the first weeks of the project being installed. These interactions help provide context for deeper appreciation of project themes and opportunities for further engagement. There is also a possibility for artists to collaborate with Assembly youth and educators in the Recess Printshop to create project ephemera, signage, or installation elements, given advance planning time.

Is Session a Good Fit For You?

Session is not a traditional residency program in which artists are provided “time away” to produce work.

Structured engagement with staff, youth, peer supporters, and invited communities should benefit your project rather than burden it.

Session is not an exhibition opportunity to present fully realized art works to a general public. Artists should be able to identify key audience(s) that would help build upon and fulfill the project’s premise and purpose, as well as strategies to reach out to them.

We expect the physical manifestation of the project to change and grow throughout the Session. Artists should be able to describe how their project would look and feel at the start, and how its trajectory might evolve over the two months.

Recess partners with artists to build a more just and equitable creative community and society. Does your project demonstrate radical thinking towards imagining and shaping networks of resilience and safety?

Please read all application guidelines and FAQ (below) before submitting any materials for consideration. Recess will only consider complete proposals submitted in the correct format.

You must fill out all of the required questions below when prompted in the Submittable platform. Limit your answers to each to 200 words or less:

⋅ What questions, concepts, and/or methodologies are you hoping to further explore through Session?

⋅ How does the proposed Session respond to a need for systems change and/or narrative shift?

⋅ What will be installed in the gallery at the outset, and how will it evolve over time?

⋅ What communities or demographics are you particularly hoping to reach, and why are they integral to your project? How will you invite them?

⋅ What modes of engagement and public programming do you imagine?

⋅ What is the desired length of your Session (Generally, Sessions are 6-8 weeks long. If you require a different length, please explain)

Additional Question for those who want to be considered for Session X Assembly collaborative Session will also need to answer the following questions:

⋅ What past life and professional experiences have you had that would prepare you to work with systems-impacted youth? Why would working with these youth be important to your own artistic and personal development?

⋅ How would you potentially use the 1-2 months of workshop time with Assembly youth to introduce them to your key concepts and materials?

⋅ How would their intellectual and creative gifts be identified and developed throughout the course of the collaboration?

⋅ How are youth engagement and contributions central to the process and project outcomes?

You must include the following items in the “File Upload” section:

⋅ Project Budget

⋅ Work Samples (total of 10 images, videos, and/or audio samples)

⋅ Image, Video and/or Audio List / Work Descriptions

⋅ Resume or CV

The application requires the following items saved as individual files named with your first initial, last name, and description. Ex: jsmithexpenses, jsmithCV

1.Project Budget

Please download this budget template to make an itemized list of possible project expenditures. It is available as a fillable .xlsx form that opens in either excel or googlesheets, or you can use it as a guide to craft your own. Additional expenses category rows can be added as needed. Project Expenses cannot exceed $10,000, unless you’ve listed other funding sources that will cover the overage in your budget notes. There is no expectation that outside funding needs to be raised for a successful Session project.

Please note that your own Artist Honoraria should not be a part of this budget, as it is fixed at $3500 for individuals and $5000 for multiple artists/collectives, and will be supplied on top of the max $10k Project Expenses allocation. Recess has already contracted with consultants to support 4 days of installation work and 2 sessions for photo and short video clip documentation of your Session Project. Please only include additional installation or documentation expenses that you believe to be beyond this scope in your budget.

If selected, the budget will be discussed and potentially amended with Recess staff. These need not be final numbers, so do not add an automatic contingency amount, as overages will be approved by staff as needed.

2. Work Samples

Documentation should show work created within the past two years and/or renderings of the proposed project. Renderings are strongly encouraged, but not required. Media files should be titled with your first initial, last name, and number (e.g. jsmith1.jpg, jsmith2.mp4). Video and audio submissions must be Mac compatible. Each clip will be viewed for no longer than 2 minutes. Please submit work samples according to one of the following options:

⋅ 10 .jpeg images (12 images if applying as a group), at 72 DPI resolution minimum, no dimension exceeding 1,000 pixels

⋅ OR––up to 2 video or audio samples sent as links to online work (preferred) or as .MP4, .MOV Quicktime, or .AVI files no larger than 3 MB (each clip will be viewed for no longer than 2 minutes) and up to 8 .jpeg images (10 images if applying as a group)

3. Work Descriptions/Image List/Video List

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

4. Resume or CV

CVs should be no longer than 5 pages.

If you have any questions about project fit, application questions or need technical or access support to complete your submission, please don’t hesitate to contact us at We will not be able to answer inquiries after 4pm ET on Monday, April 1,2024, so we encourage you to submit your application early in order to have the opportunity to address technical issues.


How much are artists paid for participating?

Artists receive a fixed honorarium of $3500 for individuals and $5000 for multiple artists/collaboratives to be paid upon successful deinstallation of the Session project. Session X Assembly artists receive an additional $1000 for individuals and $1500 for multiple artists/collaboratives for the additional time spent being a teaching artist prior to the start of their Session.

Artists also receive up to $2500 for individuals and $4000 for multiple artists/collaboratives for required pre-Session planning meetings and a post-Session debrief. These are in addition to the project expenses budget of up to $10k. Furthermore, $2500 for individuals and $4000 for multiple artists/collaboratives are designated for a Care & Capacity Fund to use prior to, during, and/or after the Session.

When will Sessions take place?

Sessions will occur some time between September 2024 and August 2025 for this cohort, though we will identify several additional applicants for further proposal development towards the following season.

Are Sessions open to non-US citizens?

Yes. 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 least the end of the residency period.

Should members applying as a group each provide a resume, artist statement, and examples of past work?

If your collective has a combined resume and bio, you may submit that. If not, each person in your group should submit a resume and artist statement. Groups can send up to 10 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.

Can I submit more than one application if the proposals are totally different?

Please select the idea you think is most in line with Recess’ mission. You can always reapply with new ideas next year, but please only one application each round. Furthermore, you can only apply for either the traditional Session or Session X Assembly collaborative format.

Can I build costs of travel and accommodation into my budget?

Artists receive a project expenses stipend that should be used towards purchasing the materials and hiring specialized support essential to realizing their proposed project. At this time, these funds cannot be used for accommodations. Your personal honorarium and planning meeting fees, however, can be spent however you see fit. Care and Capacity Funds are also more flexible, and can sometimes be used for these costs as long as they are approved by staff prior to expenditure, particularly in the cases for access needs, to attend meetings or retreats, and for professional development.

How much should my budget propose?

You should propose a budget as close to your projected materials costs as possible. If granted a Session, artists will revise and finalize the budget with Recess staff. Generally, materials stipends can go up to $10k, with occasional exceptions. Note Recess does not provide room, meals, travel, relocation, or living expenses, though artists can use their own honoraria, planning fees, and with prior approval, Care & Capacity funds for these expenses.

What do you mean by “modes of engagement and public programming” in the application form?

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. Given the varying limitations on in-person gathering based on access or safety, we welcome ideas for digital and hybrid forms of engagement, as well as more intimate or small group in-person interactions. Artwork and programs can engage audiences through visual, intellectual or auditory means, or more explicitly through direct participation. We ask that each proposal define public engagement in terms of the specific needs of the project.

Will the gallery be open to the public during my Session?

Recess normally has open hours Thursday - Saturday 12-5pm. Recess staff will be onsite to guide visitors through the project, and artists are not expected to be on site for all those hours. Depending on project-specific needs and community safety considerations, Sessions projects may be open by appointment only.

What kind of tools and AV equipment does Recess have?

We have a rudimentary wood shop equipped with basic saws, drills, and tools. AV equipment includes we have flatscreen monitors, a PA system, a microphone, audio recorders, projectors, and some lights. We are also members of Materials for the Arts, where all Session artists are welcome to visit to procure various materials.

Do renderings of the proposal count towards my work samples quota?

Yes. It’s usually very helpful to include renderings of the project among your work samples, as it helps selection panelists understand the Session you’re proposing in the context of your existing body of work. The renderings don’t need to be technically polished–hand-drawn images are welcome!