Joanna Tam on Woodstock A-I-R

Artists asking Artists

Katrina Neumann talks with Joanna Tam

About The Center for Photography at Woodstock

Katrina Neumann, April 2014

Digital LabPhotograph (c) 2014 Joanna Tam

Katrina Neumann (KN): The Center for Photography at Woodstock comes across as a pretty luxurious residency. There is a stipend for food and travel, free accommodations, honorarium, and this beautiful digital kitchen (as they refer to it) and library. Can you talk a little bit about your stipend and honorarium, how much did you receive? Can you also describe your living quarters, studio, and the facilities at The Center for Photography at Woodstock (Woodstock A-I-R)?

Joanna Tam (JT): I would not refer the Center for Photography at Woodstock as luxurious. Instead I think CPW is a residency that respects creative labor. The stipend and honorarium that I received is comparable to many other funded residencies I know of in the U.S. I lived about 15 minutes walk from the Woodstock town center, where CPW was located. I shared a house with another resident artist. We both had our own room and we shared the kitchen, living room and the bathroom.  My room was very big and I used it as a live/work space.

There was a digital lab (digital kitchen) with a large format inkjet printer, couple of flatbed scanners and a daylight balanced viewing station. They offered a discounted printing rate to their resident artists. They also have high-end digital cameras and lenses as well as some lighting equipments for the resident artists to use.

KN: What were the other artists like at the time of your residency? Do you still remain in contact with any of them? Are there future plans or projects in the works with these artists?

JT: I met 2 artists during my 4-week residency there. For the first 2 weeks, I shared the house with a writer/artist who was doing a critical writing residency at CPW. After she left, another artist who was doing a studio residency came. Yes we are still in touch. As of now we do not have plans to work on projects together.

KN: The website mentions that there is ‘exhibition and related opportunities.’ Outside of the given space, time, facilities, and networking that Woodstock A-I-R provides, were there any exhibition or other related opportunities available?

JT: There will be a group exhibition that features the work of the resident artists. In terms of networking, I actually did not spend much time doing so outside the center as I was very busy working.

KN: And finally, if artists were to ask you about The Center for Photography at Woodside, what would you tell them? What are the pros and cons to the program?

JT: I would definitely encourage other artists to apply. It was a very good deal with the stipend, honorarium and the facilities that they offer. The staff there was very helpful and responsive to my requests. Since there are only 2 artists/writers at a given time the staff there were able to focus on our needs. I never had to fight for equipments and facilities. It was also one of the cheapest places to make digital prints.

Summer could be very hot and humid in Woodstock. So if this is a concern to you this may not be the best residency.

KN: I noticed that you are an educator, visiting lecturer, and Co-Founder and Co-Operator of a contemporary art space, Howard Art Projects, in Dorchester, Massachusetts. What do you think is the role of an emerging artist today? Or, what do you think the future trends are that you are noticing?

JT: Emerging artists often wear more than one hat nowadays and hence they play multiple roles and participate in various aspect of culture production. A lot of us do not want to be passive and wait for opportunities to come. Instead we take initiative and make things happen.

Kingston - another town close to WoodstockPhotograph (c) 2014 by Joanna Tam
My Live Work SpacePhotograph (c) 2014 by Joanna Tam

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JOANNA TAM was born in Hong Kong, China. Tam received her Master of Fine Arts degree from Tufts University and School of the Museum of Fine Arts, her Master of Science degree from University of Pittsburgh, and her Bachelor of Science degree from Boston College. Tam has participated in the residencies at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, The Center for Photography at Woodstock, and Mildred’s Lane. Her work had been written about by Big Red and Shiny and The Boston Globe. She is the Co-Founder and Co-Operator of Howard Art Project in Dorchester, MA.  Joanna Tam exhibits worldwide and currently lives and works in Boston, MA.

Recent Projects

Perma F(r)ail: Personae Documents, Paragraph Gallery, Kansas City, MO

MUJERES: Iron Maidens, Villa Victoria Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

Oh Say Can You Act, Solo Exhibition at Counterpath, Denver, CO

Exuberant Politics, Legion Arts, Cedar Rapids, IA