The Bumpkin Island Art Encampment will continue again this summer for its fourth year from Thursday July 29th through Monday August 2nd. We'll be sending out the call for proposals soon, in March.
Bumpkin Island Art Encampment
Request for Proposals
Submission Deadline: May 4, 2009
Island Alliance and Studio Soto, in partnership with the Berwick Research Institute, invites proposals for the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment, a five-day art experience in the Boston Harbor Islands National Park Area. Starting Thursday, July 30, 2009 and continuing though Monday, August 3, 2009, eight artists/artist groups will each be awarded one plot of prime, arable land. As “homesteaders” for five days, they will:
• Build some kind of “home” on the land,
• Live on the land for five days, and
• “Improve” the land via a site-specific, temporary project or installation.
This is a unique opportunity to live and work in a temporary artist community in Boston’s largest national park area. Artists will:
• Develop projects that respond to the environment, as defined in the broadest sense. Projects may reflect the island’s natural resources and human history (see background below), the cultural context of homesteading, the theme of artistic community, or other themes.
• Use the resources/elements they find on the island for their projects. Rocks on the shore, fallen branches, shells, seaweed, and washed up debris are all fair game. As a starting point, artists may only bring the basic tools and supplies they can personally physically carry on to the island, including everything needed to sleep and survive for five days. Everything found and used on the island must stay on the island at the end of the project. Installations that are not within the tent sites and which are made exclusively from found materials may remain intact on the island.
• Spend two days developing projects, two days meeting the public, and one day moving off the island. Artists are encouraged to interact with day visitors, other campers, boaters, etc while creating projects.
Artists will receive:
• A five day “land grant” with full campsite access and ferry transportation
• A $100 stipend to cover basic expenses, and a supply of shared drinking water
• Support and critical feedback from project curators
Mon, April 6: Call to Artists released
Mon, May 4: Proposal deadline
Mon, June 8: Artists notified
Sun, June 28: Mandatory Information Session in Boston
Thurs, July 30: Artist boat departs from Hingham to Bumpkin Island
Fri, July 31: Works-In-Progress Day (open to the public)
Sat, Aug 1- Sun, Aug 2: Public Visitation Days
Mon, Aug 3: Breakdown, Artist boat departs to Hingham
In one page or less, please provide:
• Names and contact information for every person in your group
• How you would "improve" your land, and why
• And a description of your artistic process.
Up to two images of past work or sketches are encouraged but not required.
Email proposals on or before May 4, 2009 to: email@example.com
About Bumpkin Island :
Bumpkin was used by Native Americans as a fish camp prior to European contact. During the colonial period, the island was leased to tenant farmers. The island hosted a fish-drying operation in the early 19th century and a fish smelting operation in the early 20th century. In 1900, a Boston philanthropist named Clarence Burrage founded a hospital for children with physical disabilities. During World War I the island was taken over for use as a United States Naval training camp, which was dismantled after the war. The hospital reopened briefly in about 1940 for polio patients but closed during World War II and burned in 1945. Today, plants have reclaimed the physical landscape of the island - about half are non-native species, including various fruits and berries, shrubs, vines, field plants and trees. Wildflowers grow along the trails that lead visitors to the ruins of the children's hospital and a stone farmhouse. The island is 35-acres with slate and shell beaches and open fields.
In 1862, the United States recruited civilians to aid in its movement west. The Homestead Act offered any U.S. citizen or head of household, including people of color and women, free or low-cost 160-acre plots of land. In return, "homesteaders" promised to build a 12' x 14' house, cultivate and "improve" the land and live on the plot for five years. The project resulted in the creation of over 372,000 farms west of the Mississippi, continuing as late as 1976-- when the Homestead Act was officially dissolved.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How many artists can work on each project?
“Land grants” accommodate up to five artists per campsite. Think about how you might incorporate the island’s “human resources”—curators, other artists, and day visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need to stay on the island all five days? Can I leave?
All artists must live on the land for 5 days and 4 nights to keep their claims.
I don’t want to apply, but I would like to volunteer during the Encampment. Where do I sign up?
Look for a volunteer application on the Berwick Research Institute and Studio Soto websites in May.
Where can I find general information on visiting the Boston Harbor Islands?
More information is at www.bostonharborislands.org.
Will work created during the Art Encampment be available for people to see after the event?
Bumpkin Island Art Encampment artists, curators and respondents will publicly exhibit their findings during Fort Point Open Studios in October 2009.
Can I get to the island early to start my piece?
Project installation will start no earlier than July 30, 2009. Visiting the island beforehand is not required.
I have more questions. Who can I contact?
Megan Dickerson, Carolyn Lewenberg and Jed Speare curate the Bumpkin Island Art Encampment. Send them an email with your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We want to thank you for your patience and support over the past year. It has been a long odyssey for us. Many sails were set forth to find a new space in Fort Point, and opportunities emerged, pursued, and submerged, as mirages on the horizon. Your response to our petition was successful in volume and intent. However, the City and Archion, the developer, have slowly crafted a relocation plan that still has a ways to go before it works, while we have been priced out in the meantime.
Alongside however, some friends in the neighborhood have helped us return. Thompson Design Group, the architectural firm located at 35 Channel Center Street has offered us a residency. You may recall we hosted three exhibitions there during Fort Point Open Studios last October. Now we will begin programming in a compact, project-room space as well as a large, 3,500 sq ft space, at times when it is available.
We’re grateful to Thompson Design Group for this opportunity and to you for staying attuned to our activities.
Today we finally moved to a new website powered by Google Sites. In the Archives section you will find our old Wiki site with information through Dec 08. We still need to do some cleanup, but we are now up and running.
A public meeting was held last night by the BRA with the developers and the community. There was strong community opposition to the two development projects of Lincoln Properties and Archon. This was due to the fact that the projects had hardly changed from their first presentations last March, as well as in the fact that there was a sentiment expressed that there is so little the developers are offering the community. The City asked the developers to bind together to create the relocations of artists, offering two-year leases, and the developers provided the space and the build-out costs. In exchange, their projects most likely will go forward, with variances granted allowing them to add additional rooftop stories, infill lots, and reap substantial profit.
Studio Soto has made its case to the City and developers to be included in the relocation plans. Thanks to you and to the overwhelming response to the petition, we will be part of the relocation to 319 A Street rear, as long as there is space for us that does not supersede or supplant the relocating artists. There were 227 signatures on the petition and we want to thank all of you for your support. We know that you made a difference for us.
There are still two meetings of approval for the project at the BRA Board meeting this Thursday at 3pm, and at a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting yet to be scheduled later this month. To put this project in proper context would take at least the retracing of the past four years since Archon bought 17 buildings in the neighborhood. In the broader scheme the artists community has lost 300 hundred artists in the past ten years of the thirty that artists have been here. So Studio Soto remains waiting, along with 40 other artists willing to relocate their studios for two years. Decisions will be coming soon. Let's hope that if were we get a space we will be active and visible again, and continue working with those in the City, community and with developers who do have our long-term interests in mind. For a reporter's view of last night's meeting, here's an article from today's Boston Herald.
Last week we learned that the redevelopment projects of Archon on Melcher Street and Lincoln Properties on Summer St. will go before the BRA board on December 4th. Leading up to that, they have been given credit for offering relocation spaces currently in negotiation for the approximately 75 artists Archon proposes to displace, from three buildings to one. Lincoln Properties, for their part, is offering over half a million dollars in build-out costs, as their give-back to the community. So for these efforts the City is willing to hear their projects again, and more then likely grant them the variances they have sought to make their redevelopments very profitable, once again at the cost of the plan for the neighborhood and the preservation of the artists community. There is public meeting about these two projects on Monday, December first, 6:30 pm at 44 Thompson Place, in the first floor conference room.
It seems to Studio Soto that if Archon and Lincoln Properties are so involved in relocating all the artists now, then it should be time to include us as well. We are a part of the community, and are artist-run. We have also tried to negotiate with both developers over the past year.
Studio Soto is appealing to our community and subscriber's list to support our inclusion in the relocation negotiations. We have drawn up a petition that we are distributing electronically to our subscribers and by hand in the neighborhood. It is simple and reads as follows:
Petition for the Inclusion of Studio Soto in Relocation Negotiations
I am signing this to support Studio Soto’s inclusion in the current relocation negotiations taking place between the City, Archon/Goldman, and Lincoln Properties. Studio Soto (artist-run) has been without a space for one year, and has attempted to negotiate with both of these developers. As an artist-relocation instance in its own right, the matter of Studio Soto’s relocation should be included in and settled with these developers before their projects are approved.
If you would like to e-sign this petition, please copy the text, paste it into an email and send it to email@example.com
by Sunday, November 30th. Thank you !
After May, later in July, we were informed that the Lincoln project was "dead in the water," and after over four months of negotiations we were left barren. As fall and Open Studios arrived in October, we had this to say in the Fort Point Open Studios brochure:
What happened to Studio Soto, the independent, artist-run, alternative space on the corner of Melcher and A Street,? Its name remains on the picture window glass of a building now empty of tenants. Last November, along with 50 artists and 20 creative businesses, it was forced to leave its home on Melcher St. The building’s owners, Archon/Goldman Properties, declined to offer lease extensions and evacuated those buildings, and they remain empty still today. In the meantime, developers like Archon/Goldman play ring-around-the-rosy with those buildings once occupied, their unfulfilled plans, the City government, and displaced artists.
As part of a larger and longer trend, the population of artists has declined over the past ten years in Fort Point, and the last leased floors of artists rental studios in two more Archon/Goldman buildings will be gone after this November. The numbers cited total over 300 artists that have been displaced during that time. For several years Studio Soto had appeared to buck that with its presence and programming on Melcher Street. Our desire to remain in Fort Point now has been challenged by diminishing options and higher rents.
Since its departure, Studio Soto has been actively seeking a new home in Fort Point, and it has not been easy. Working with the City, local developers, and new owners on building or finding an affordable, long-term space is not a straightforward process. Over the past several months we have had a number of scenarios in play that have not come to fruition.
As we approach a new year, we are seeing the potential for programming in different sites in the neighborhood. We are also nurturing lasting partnerships in the community that could lead to bigger undertakings. Becoming a non-profit, 501 ( c ) 3 soon will help us develop new projects and extend our funding base of support. You can stay abreast of Studio Soto’s developments by visiting our website, www.studiosoto.com . There you can also join our mailing list for notices on all of our updates and activities. We look forward to being a part of the community again here with all of you and our audiences.
Studio Soto has received and is reviewing a Letter of Intent from Lincoln Property with regard to the proposed space that has been negotiated.
Update: Studio Soto has been actively involved in seeking an appropriate relocation space in Fort Point since we, along with all the tenants of 49, 51, and 63 Melcher Street were no longer offered leases there by Archon-Goldman. The Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) visited us in October offering their support, and we have met with them since. So when the BRA recently positioned us in their initial negotiations with Lincoln Property, the owners of 316-322 Summer St., asking them to create a new home for Studio Soto, we answered them readily. The BRA invited us to meet with them and view a space Lincoln Property was offering, which has led to a process of negotiations that have taken place. Since then, we have successfully negotiated and are close to an agreement upon a space we can afford, that is triple the size of our former space on Melcher St. Of course, we will need support from many sources to build and sustain this in the coming months and years to come. Our lease terms will at the minimum be five years initially with two five-year renewals. This will be extremely good news for Studio Soto, its audiences and supporters, and the Fort Point community, and we are excited to share it with you. We will keep you posted and hope to have an announcement soon.