18th Street Art Center

Fund: $45,000

18th Street Art Center—Los Angeles’ longest running artist residency program, which showcases artists who push the boundaries of artistic convention and provokes public dialogue through exhibitions and public programs—will present Commons Lab: Place and Public Life, a series of five new artist commissions anchored by live events that will examine the ways institutional architecture and cultural policy determine the social life and civic engagement of American communities. Using the Center’s rapidly changing Pico neighborhood in Santa Monica as a test case, the participating artists—Cognate Collective (Amy Sanchez and Misael Gio Diaz), Sara Daleiden, Guillermo Galindo with Postcommodity (Cristóbal Martínez/Kade L. Twist), and Jimena Sarno—will engage art audiences and local communities in a dialogue about the role art should play in the public sphere. The project is informed by Postcommodity’s “2043” initiative, an ongoing investigation into the U.S.’s postcolonial future in which non-white populations will become the majority nationwide. For Commons Lab, artists will envision new models of cultural institutions that are capable of destabilizing traditional hierarchies between the more informed, “core” audiences of contemporary art and the larger public—breaking down barriers to broaden participation. The artists’ findings will be presented in exhibitions of drawings, sculpture, installation, social practices, sound art, and digital media, as well as through public programs such as dinners, workshops, and panel discussions with local partners, including the Santa Monica Public Library and Santa Monica High student groups.