Artist Studios at The Contemporary Jewish Museum (The CJM) is a new program designed to support Bay Area–based emerging artists in need of studio space during the COVID-19 pandemic. The CJM is thrilled to announce the selection of artists Jose Arias and Leah King as the inaugural participants in Artist Studios at The CJM. During their residency in the spring and summer of 2021, Arias and King will have access to private studio space, as well as the Helen Diller Institute, where they will be able to draw upon The CJM’s research and educational resources. Learn more about the program and the artists below.
Artist Studios at The CJM was created in response to COVID-19 and its overwhelming impact on the local arts community. The pandemic has intensified the Bay Area’s ongoing wealth disparity and untenable living costs, and over the last year, arts practitioners from across the industry—including artists, contractors, administrators, schools, exhibition and performance spaces, and museums—have faced immense and unprecedented challenges. Foregrounding health and safety while adapting to a new culture of social distancing and virtual programming, The CJM created a unique opportunity to provide tangible support for local artists by offering the use of two physical spaces at The Museum that would otherwise have remained vacant during the pandemic recovery. Recognizing that many local artists are currently without safe, secure studio space or the present means to acquire such, The CJM drew on our commitment to share what resources we have and to strive for equity and justice, or tzedek. Artist Studios at The CJM is part of our ongoing effort to cultivate community and adapt to its changing needs, as we continue to offer programs that educate, challenge, and inspire.
Jose Arias is a first-generation Mexican-American, Queer, Veteran, artist living in San Francisco. He is currently producing a body of work that broadens the conversation around what it means to be an American. Through a series of family portraits, Arias is developing a photographic vernacular that explores our relationship to the land that we inhabit, inherit, and occupy.
Leah King is a curator, artist, musician, and educator born and raised in the Bay Area. Her work is deeply rooted in afrofuturist aesthetics, joyful noises, and unabashed reclamations. She is a curatorial resident at Root Division Gallery, a member of female:pressure international DJ network, and the co-founder of GLTTR Collective.