Campus News

Coalesce receives NEA grant to enhance artist residency program

Student holds what appears to be a large bubble at a workshop by artist Zbigniew Oksiuta held at the Coalesce: Center for Biological Arts.

Students participate in a workshop by artist Zbigniew Oksiuta held at the Coalesce: Center for Biological Arts. Photo: Douglas Levere

By MARCENE ROBINSON

Published May 30, 2019

“Organizations such as Coalesce are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create and be inspired.”
Mary Anne Carter, acting chairman
National Endowment for the Arts

UB’s Coalesce: Center for Biological Art has received an Art Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to enhance the center’s BioArt in the Public Sphere program.

The $20,000 award will fund residencies for artists who use the tools and techniques of the life sciences to form unique materials and manipulate and create multimedia bio-artwork.

The program, now entering its fourth year, is a collaboration between the Genome, Environment and Microbiome (GEM) Community of Excellence and the Department of Art. Artists-in-residence work closely with UB science faculty to explore areas that range from DNA to gut microbiota and fermentation.

“Today is a great day for deeply interdisciplinary and socially engaged creative research at UB, says Paul Vanouse, director of Coalesce and professor of art in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“I’m very pleased to receive this support from the NEA, which will allow us to build upon our residency program at Coalesce by facilitating longer stays by resident artists, more ambitious projects, fairer compensation and deeper integration into the community.”

Bio-art connects the arts with science and technology in novel ways to explore complex social and ethical questions vital to public health, humanity and the environment.

Through BioArt in the Public Sphere, renowned and emerging bio-artists, juried from an international call, will develop projects and stage free public events in the Western New York community in collaboration with Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center.

New funding will support residencies, public lectures, workshops in Buffalo schools, a video archive and planning for a culminating exhibition.

The grant is one of more than $80 million in grants that were awarded during the second major funding round of 2019 for Art Works, the NEA’s principal grant-making program.

“These awards, reaching every corner of the United States, are a testament to the artistic richness and diversity in our country,” says Mary Anne Carter, NEA acting chairman. “Organizations such as Coalesce are giving people in their community the opportunity to learn, create and be inspired.”

Coalesce: Center for Biological Art aims to expand public understanding of and participation in the life sciences, and help artists and scientists learn and examine the cultural meanings of their work.

For more information about the program, visit Coalesce’s website. For more information about the grant, visit the NEA’s website.