Proyecto 'ACE

Proyecto 'ace: 'ACE NITE by Nicole M

As promised, photos from 'ACE NITE, the final exhibit/open studio we held during our final week at Proyecto 'ace to share the work produced by all four resident artists during our three week residencies. 

Here's a panorama of "The Tower" studio I worked in all month, cleaned up with work on view!
And more work done during my stay: 
The four resident artists: me, Amanda Millet-Sorsa (USA), Marcia de Moraes (Brazil), & Eduardo Eloy (Brazil) in front of Marcia's beautiful drawing.
A few prints by Eduardo Eloy:
A mixed media mural intervention by Amanda Millet-Sorsa:
The three amigos, Santi, Felipe, & German. Hah!
Me with the wonderful Marcia!
 Me with my roommate of 3 weeks Amanda!

More photos can also be found on our 'ace profile pages. 
And that's it! I am really grateful for the experience, all the connections & friends made, as well as my friends & supporters from Kickstarter who made it possible for me to do this! Now that I'm back in the states my next focus will be organizing & shipping all the postcards, souvenirs, & artwork to all who contributed!

Proyecto 'ace: Travel Update #2 by Nicole M

I'm not sure if I can call this a travel update since I just got back to Baltimore over the weekend, but at least there are plenty of photos to share now from my last two 1/2 weeks in Buenos Aires! Since my last update I've gone on a bike tour of the city, been to a milonga (tango night), worked a lot in the studio, finished the residency with an open studio called 'ACE NITE, visited art museums including MALBA & PROA, and stayed in a beautiful apartment in San Telmo through Airbnb. I'll save the photos from the studio for another post, but here's a glimpse of recent sightseeing adventures!

One thing I was really looking forward to doing was going on a bike tour so I could get acquainted with more of the city and still have time to go back to any neighborhoods I wanted while in BA. So the next weekend I took one with Biking Buenos Aires, and ended up being the only person to show up. Unexpected private tour! Also it was a beautiful day.   
We went through La Boca, a neighborhood known for being filled with graffiti/murals & street art. 
In La Boca, we stopped to have mate tea and see Caminito, the more famous street known for its colorful facades. The brightly painted buildings were part of a neighborhood revitalization project by Benito Quinquela Martin, a famous Argentine painter from La Boca. They reminded me of Baltimore's "painted ladies."
On the weekends it's also a popular area for local artisans & vendors, + outdoor tango shows, similar to San Telmo's Feria. 
After La Boca, we biked down to the Ecological Reserve that sits next to the Rio de la Plata and saw Buenos Aires from a distance.
In riding through Puerto Madero, we stopped at the Catedral Primada de Buenos Aires, where Pope Francis was formerly Archbishop!
The next week was our final one at Proyecto 'ace, and after finishing the residency, with four days left in Buenos Aires, I moved to a new apartment in the San Telmo neighborhood I found through Airbnb. It was awesome!
Over the next few nights we went to several milongas or tango nights, but the best was Confiteria Ideal. It was in a beautiful ballroom and mostly older couples who knew how to tango so you weren't required to dance at all and could just sit back & watch while listening to classical tango music. So romantic! ;)
The next day I visited MALBA, Buenos Aires' museum of Latin American art. They had a huge show up of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's work which was awesome!  
This is how crowded the museum was...on a Monday afternoon. On the weekends you might not even get in because the line stretched out around the block. Too much art appreciation I can't stand it!
One of my favorite installations...
After visiting MALBA I walked one neighborhood over to Recoleta to see the famous cemetery and final resting place of Eva Peron a.k.a. Evita! The cemetery is also beautiful all on its own.
Only two days left in Argentina! So much to do so little time! This is a little cafe I had breakfast at twice near the place I was staying at in San Telmo called Hierbabuena and it might be one of the things I miss most about Buenos Aires! No but really they have amazing breakfast.
 Here's a collaboration I did with Santiago Ocampo from 'ace!
I had to go back to La Boca to visit the Fundacion PROA another art museum and pick up the last of my souvenirs! PROA also has a rooftop terrace with a cafe that is cheaper than all the other cafes around and is a lovely place to have lunch.
This photo's a little blurry, but I got all my postcards from an artist in La Boca and this is me holding up a postcard to the original painting behind it! Keep an eye out in your mailboxes, Kickstarter backers! ;)

This concludes our photo tour of my last two weeks in Buenos Aires but like I said I'll be sharing all the studio photos in another post next. Thanks for looking!

Proyecto 'ace: Travel Update by Nicole M

For almost two weeks now I've been living in Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of the long-awaited residency with Proyecto 'ace! Thanks to all the amazing friends & family from Kickstarter who helped me get here! Your gifts are all in progress! 

It's been kind of a whirlwind adventure and going by so quickly, but I wanted to share some of what it's been like so far, while I'm still here! There was definitely an adjustment period for me upon first getting here (not speaking the language, knowing anybody here, or being familiar with the city), but once the residency got going it has been really amazing. If I have any regrets it would only be deciding to pack all of my art supplies & clothes into one suitcase that weighed 85 lbs. and thinking it would be a good idea.
I'll have much more to share at the end, but here's a quick photo tour of my trip so far!
The first day after I arrived was a holiday, San Martin's Day, so our orientation at 'ace wasn't until Tuesday the 20th. Instead a few of the resident artists met up and went to Puerto Madero, a more touristy waterfront neighborhood: 

A beautiful sunset!
Nearby we saw La Casa Rosada, the presidential building of Argentina. 
And at night:

The next morning at 'ace we got to tour the studios below (which are beautiful!), meet the 'ace staff (all amazingly friendly & helpful) and the other artists—there are three other residents here at the same time as me: Marcia de Moraes & Eduardo Eloy from Brazil, and Amanda Millet-Sorsa from France.

The best thing about being here so far is definitely the connections with other artists. Between the four residents & 'ace staff (all artists as well), there are people here from Argentina, several from Colombia, Venezuela, and of course Brazil & the U.S. With such varied backgrounds & experience, I'm learning so much about the art scene in Buenos Aires & throughout South America. Don't be surprised if I start looking for an excuse to travel to Sao Paulo in the future. ;)

Below Eduardo Eloy showing us some of his prints:
Here are the printmaking studios where a few of the artists work. Really nice!:
Another view into the printmaking studio:
And through a back terrace, up a spiral staircase, is the studio I'm working in!! a.k.a. "The Tower"
Entryway into "The Tower" studio:
 Inside my studio home for three weeks!
 Getting started on the first day, cutting paper & stretching canvas:
 Day two, beginning to work on some paintings:
 More progress:
 Some paintings on paper:

After the first week at 'ace, we did some more exploring of Buenos Aires. After shopping for sweaters & socks, because it's winter here and nobody expected it to actually be cold, the 'ace team took us to a few art openings & local restaurants/bars. We ate empanadas and drank Quilmes (beer) & Fernet y coke (interesting herbal drink) to feel like real portenos. ;)

On Sunday we did another touristy thing of going to the weekly street fair & market in San Telmo. I'll definitely be going back as it's a great place to find souvenirs & postcards for my Kickstarter gifts...

The beginning of week 2, more progress being made in the studio:

So here we are! What's next: 
– The weather's finally starting to warm up here, so this weekend I'd really love to take a bike tour of the city with "Biking Buenos Aires."
– Although we've gone to a few smaller art openings already I've yet to visit any of the larger contemporary art museums but am planning to soon! 
– Our residency will be wrapping up next week when the other artists will host an "Open Studio." I should be done with all of the pieces in the above photos, and hopefully more. =)  
– I'll be staying in BA for several days after the residency finishes, and just booked a place in San Telmo with Airbnb.

Stay tuned! =) 

Kickstarter Funded!! by Nicole M

Now that my Kickstarter campaign has ended with 131% or $2,623 raised (YEA!), and I've had some time to reflect, I wanted to write an extended thank-you to everyone who contributed by making a pledge, or spreading the word, or wishing me "good luck"! You have filled this trip with purpose and I am grateful for your support! This project has taught me so much already, and this month-long roller-coaster with Kickstarter has shown me some unexpected things.

Before starting the project, I was nervous and uncomfortable asking people for money, and could have come up with a handful of people in my head who I would expect might contribute. I also happened to watch this TED talk by Amanda Palmer on "the art of asking" around the same time I was starting to work on my video, and it really stuck with me. That video, along with some conversations with friends, helped shift my perspective from viewing the act of asking for help as an imbalanced act of charity or debt, to an equal exchange where an opportunity is offered to be a part of something.

This encouraged me to launch my project and taught me to accept and receive the help that's been given, in the way we are to accept and receive help from God: humbly, openly, gratefully. To reach out for the hands that are extended to us, and to extend our hands to others. I got to see contributions large & small come in from far & wide. And I've been inspired by how many people, from close family to acquaintances to strangers, have stepped up to become a part of this. Please know that you are as much a part of this project now as I am!

Kickstarter really is an amazing platform, that created a collaboration between unlikely sources and people I would have never known to reach out to. But thanks to the bridge that Kickstarter's created, it extended my network beyond where I would have searched on my own. As soon as I asked for help outside of what I could provide for myself, the focus of the trip shifted away from being centered around me. With so many people involved, how can it be? So what do you do with that? It's an exciting place to be for sure.

I pray that this would give this trip a purpose beyond my original intentions. To view this all as a relational opportunity. Opportunities to connect with a community in Buenos Aires, and to connect deeply & spiritually with artists I don't know yet. To share our true selves with each other, and to make art that's reflective of an honest struggle. To have our conversations be even more meaningful than the art we produce.

Opening this project up to you all has given me so much encouragement. Besides the tangible exchange of art & rewards I can give back to you, I hope this can be the start of a growing relationship. We are part of each other's journeys—you are certainly a part of mine, and I hope to continue sharing with you. It's important that we share our stories with each other. And it is a huge blessing to step into someone else's. And a reminder that we are all part of the same one!

"My story is important not because it is mine, God knows, but because if I tell it anything like right, the chances are you will recognize that in many ways it is also yours. Maybe nothing is more important than that we keep track, you and I, of these stories of who we are and where we have come from and the people we have met along the way, because it is precisely through these stories in all their particularity...that God makes Himself known to us most powerfully and personally. If this is true, it means that to lose track of our stories is to be profoundly impoverished not only humanly but also spiritually."
–Frederick Buechner, Telling Secrets (pg. 30)

Help me Kickstart a Residency in Argentina! by Nicole M

I've been holding off on this announcement until I got my Kickstarter page up & running, but here it finally is! I have been offered an opportunity to participate in another artist residency coming up this fall at Proyecto 'ace, in Buenos Aires, Argentina!! I can't tell you how excited I am to be able to travel abroad with my work for the first time. Proyecto 'ace is an international arts non-profit that invites accepted artists from all over the world into their residency program to create new work, learn from each other, and become immersed in the city of Buenos Aires. I'll be there for 3 weeks from August to September.

This is a great opportunity for growth, especially at such an early point in my career. But I need your support! In order to accept this invitation from Proyecto 'ace, I will need to raise around $5,000 in travel & program costs. And that's why I've created this Kickstarter campaign! In exchange for making a pledge, I'll be giving rewards like original paintings, collages, & postcards from Argentina!

The catch with Kickstarter is that unless I reach my goal (which I've set at $2,000) by my deadline (which is 27 days from now), I won't retain ANY of the funds! Which means I've got until April 18th, 2013 to raise $2,000 or more! With your contributions and help in spreading the word, I know this is possible. We are 3 days into the campaign and already 25% of the way there!!

By clicking here ^ you can also read my project proposal I used to apply to Proyecto 'ace with, and see examples of the paintings & prints I'll be offering as rewards! 

Thanks for being a part of this adventure with me!!