Traditionally, this period of late summer would be a very busy time for SPACE’s residency program - as the leaves turned, the season would be in full swing, with new residents arriving practically every week. We would be deep in preparations for our signature event, The Roving Dinner, and we’d be gearing up to launch applications for the following year’s residencies. But, as I am sure I don’t need to tell you, this is no typical year at SPACE or anywhere in the world.
In response to COVID-19, SPACE carefully considered how we could responsibly operate our annual residency programs. We built plans and studied guidelines, and even announced a truncated season of residents this past May who would come to the farm in the late summer and fall of 2020. Additionally, we awarded many applicants who would have received a 2020 residency with a deferred 2021 residency. However, after further consideration and research, including the continued assessment of a rapidly changing landscape, in August the SPACE team made the very difficult decision to cancel our residency programs in 2020. Those that had been awarded 2020 residencies had these opportunities deferred to 2021. While we believe that this decision is the responsible civic choice during this crisis, SPACE is deeply saddened that we cannot provide time and space to creators on Ryder Farm this year as we have every year since our founding in 2011.
As we look forward to the 2021 season, it is our sincerest hope that we will be able to reopen our residencies and welcome residents to Ryder Farm again, in some form or another. However, since the majority of 2021 residents have already been selected through deferred residencies, and the SPACE team has learned to not plan too rashly in the face of the pandemic, SPACE has made the decision not to open applications for the 2021 residency season. Providing artists and innovators with time and space includes respecting the time and space folks might employ to fill out an application for SPACE. It would be irresponsible for SPACE to ask hundreds of applicants to dedicate time to an application process when everything about the future, including how many available slots SPACE will have available, is so uncertain.