Green-Wood Cemetery seeks first of its kind artist-in-residence

Green-Wood Gatehouse credit Shannon Taggart
The chosen artist will have a studio space in the historic Fort Hamilton gatehouse.
Shannon Taggart/Green-Wood Cemetery

Brooklyn’s biggest burial ground is seeking applications for its new artist-in-residence program — the first of its kind at a New York City cemetery.

Green-Wood Cemetery is looking for a local mid-career artist for its new nine-month residency program, which will take place between January and September of 2021.

“I’ve always thought it’s such a great place to have an artist come in and create a project,” said Harry Weil, director of public programs at Green-Wood, who will oversee the residence. “A lot of institutions throughout the country have an artist-in-residency and I think as Green-Wood is emerging as a cultural destination in Brooklyn that having an artist-in-residence is the next part of our growth.” 

The artist will have a studio space in the cemetery’s landmarked Fort Hamilton Gatehouse and will have access to Green-Wood’s vast archives, which date back to its 1838 incorporation.

The collection includes archival material such as administrative paperwork and correspondence between the cemetery and the families of its permanent residents, and a historic assemblage of objects related to those buried in the cemetery, including personal clothing, books, and paintings belonging to 19th and 20th artists — 400 of whom are buried at Green-Wood, including Jean-Michel Basquiat, George Catlin, and Asher B. Durand. 

The program is open to artists of any medium within the visual or performing arts, and the sprawling 478-acre greenspace has the potential to inspire any number of creative urges, which Weil says he looks forward to looking over as the applications start rolling in.

“Whether it’s the art, the monuments and the architecture, the beautiful landscape, or the history of the residents that are buried here and the history of Green-Wood itself, I’m excited to see what they’re going to focus on,” he said, adding that he expects artists working in different mediums to be inspired by different aspects of the historic greenspace.

“I’d be curious to see how a painter could be inspired by this space versus someone who does a participatory project, or someone who does dance,” he said. 

The chosen artist will receive a $7,500 stipend and will work with cemetery staff to put together a final work, which, depending on the medium of the creator, may be an art installation or performance on Green-Wood’s grounds. The artist will also present at least one lecture and host at least one open studio in connection to the work.

The cemetery has become a haven for Brooklynites during the coronavirus crisis, offering a green solace during the worst days of the pandemic, and has inspired Brooklyn artists for generations, noted the cemetery’s president Richard J. Moylan.

“I believe Green-Wood will be a great source of inspiration to our new artist-in-residence,” said Moylan. “I look forward to watching the creative process unfold and seeing great art come to life.” 

Applications are being accepted until September 2.  Artists can apply here.