Artist and MFA in Visual Studies alum Jane Schiffhauer created the Rainmaker Residency to support recent graduates of Portland MFA programs
On the first floor of an expansive brick building on Portland’s Eastside, the smell of drywall and paint has yet to fade although the seven artists who have been awarded the inaugural Rainmaker Artist Residencies have been in their new studios, with their oversized west-facing windows, for a few months now.
Artist Jane Schiffhauer created the Rainmaker Residency to support recent graduates of MFA programs in Portland with subsidized studio space as well as professional development education. Five to eight residents are accepted each July for a 12-month residency. The first group of artists in the residency comprises: Leif Anderson (PSU), Danger Punch (PNCA: Andrew Lorish, Kiel Fletcher, Tim Janchar), Erin Dengerink (PNCA), Jodie Cavalier (PNCA), and John Knight (PNCA).
At a recent invite-only open studios, Cavalier showed work stemming from her engagement with the land at a residency at the Center for Land Use Interpretation in Wendover, Utah. Knight talked about making work related to both an exhibition by conceptual artist John Knight and his own grandmother’s remarkable flower arranging. Degenerink is working with pressed flowers, Anderson showed a video of the construction of a temporary exhibition space and sculpture beside a train track, and Danger Punch showed their collaborative collage works.
Schiffhauer is herself a recent (2010) graduate from PNCA’s MFA in Visual Studies program. “The idea for Rainmaker Artist Residency came from my experience as a MFA grad in Portland and the residencies I participated in as well as the difficulty faced by fellow grads in finding affordable studio space after graduation,” Schiffhauer says. “And I saw a need for ongoing professional development education and support.”
“Community is a key aspect of Rainmaker,” Schiffhauer says. “Having residents from multiple MFA programs and disciplines encourages a wider conversation and network in the Portland arts community and beyond.”
Daniel J. Glendening (MFA ’09) is working with Schiffhauer as Educational Program Manager, organizing studio visits and workshops for the artists. “He surveys the residents as to their professional development needs,” Schiffhauer says, “and then he and I work together to set up a program every six weeks or so.” Amy Adams of Adams and Ollman has met with the artists. And Glendening has organized a taxes for artists workshop, as well as building a calendar of grant and residency deadlines. Cavalier has also turned to Glendening for advice on writing project descriptions and for grant writing tips.
Soon Schiffhauer says a key local curator will come in to do studio visits with resident artists. And she says that future topics of workshops for residents will include marketing for artists, grant writing and funding sources, contracts, networking, showing nationally and internationally.