VITAA responds to the need for artist residencies in the city of St. Petersburg. The main target group of this project was cultural practitioners who are explicitly aware of the social function of art, and who seek international co-operation - at a time when a political communication crisis has been building up. The project supported local cultural institutions of very high relevance which, however, needs material support since, because of the Covid-19 crisis, has substantially lost revenue. It designed and tested a format beyond the global pandemic. Those formats will stay and contribute an added value to existing offline formats in international cultural exchange.
The project consisted of two parts:
The virtual residency published in February 2021 and open-call and selected 12 artists from 6 countries in March 2021, followed by the residency period 17 May to 9 July including weekly work-flow-meetings, 4 presentations by EUNIC Cluster, 10 live walk-shows, 3 online panels with external experts and finishing with the evaluation in August 2021.
The virtual exhibition THE CITY opened in September 2021 in a hybrid format. The offline-presentation in the Gallery 2.04 took place in the Museum for nonconformist Art in St. Petersburg). Following this the online public program took place from September to November 2021.
VirtualSPAR (the international virtual residency platform) expanded the projects networking. In order to reduce distance, a new online-format (“walk-shows”) was introduced (artists guiding the online-audience, giving a touch of intimacy). Two artists were able to digitize for the first time their artwork thanks to our technical support. Artists learned about the collaborations offer by EUNIC Cluster in St.Petersburg. Furthermore, the involvement of local initiatives (Waterfront, Creative Association of Curators) opened the projects frame for more followers. The offline-presentation brought the project to a broader public.
Challenges and learnings
The open call produced many excellent applications. Therefore, the jury decided to expand the amount of participants from 10 to 12 artists / artists´ groups. Thanks to the collaboration with #VirtualSPAR, the experienced partner in terms of virtual residency organisation, the project could reschedule as more time was required for the preparing of the virtual exhibition, and the opening needed to be postponed to the beginning of September.
I think, it was a very important oportunity to be able to get this priveleged time to work even if you stay home – in your studio and in the same city, where you live. You still are able to enter the structure with other artists, meet other artists. It was very communicativ residency. I had another expirience with another residency, but i must say, this one was very well organized and the people was very well dedicated, and the weekly meetings were feeding a lot. author Marie-Eve Levasseur,residency artist from Germany/Canada