Steven Vasquez Lopez
Written on the Wall, 2018. Facebook Menlo Park, San Francisco.
Last summer I was invited to be an Artist-in-Residence at Facebook Chicago. I was already familiar with the program because I'd noticed a few OPP artists posting on Instagram about it. Then I started to see OPP Featured Artists all over the Facebook AIR Instagram. Today, I'd like to highlight some of those artists and the mission of Facebook AIR. I reached out to Jessica Shaefer, Head of Public Programming & Partnerships at Facebook, to ask about the program.
OtherPeoplesPixels: What is the curatorial mission of the Facebook Air program? Is it different from location to location?
Pascal's Bridges, 2018. Crocheted fiberglass with polyester resin, nylon spacers. 96" x 747" x 2"
OPP: Are the invited artists always local?
JS: The core of our mission is to support artists who are based in neighboring communities of Facebook offices around the world. We have curators based on four continents who focus on sourcing and commissioning artists in each region where Facebook opens an office. An exception is a Frank Gehry-designed building at headquarters in Menlo Park, California, which features projects by an international roster of artists.
Rainbowedbend, 2018. Site specific machine sewn textile collage.
2018. Facebook Seattle
OPP: How do you go about finding artists?
JS: The FB AIR curatorial team regularly goes to art exhibitions, conducts studio visits, does online research, and considers recommendations from the Facebook community and past FB AIRs, among other methods. Instagram is a great digital tool for discovering new artists!
A City Connected, 2018.
Facebook Menlo Park
OPP: I agree. And there are so many strategies for finding them. Do you have any strategies for discovering artists on Instagram?
JS: Besides our FB AIR program official account, our global team of curators each have individual Instagram accounts where we often search for and follow artists that interest us, particularly in our respective regions. Sometimes we find new artists through the accounts of artists that we’ve worked with in the past; sometimes we learn about artists through nonprofit organizations, galleries, and other cultural institutions that we follow; sometimes we learn about artists and projects through the various publications we follow; and of course we are all part of a large global network of cultural producers who often post information and images that can lead us to all kinds of new discoveries.
Shapeshifters, 2018. 22'w x 12'h.
Stacia Yeapanis (me!)
This isn’t a problem to be solved; it’s an experience to be had. 2018. Dog waste bags, Sharpie ultra-fine pens on photocopies, hand-spun wool, cardstock. 40 feet long.