We had the opportunity to email back and forth with Nancy Blair, Executive Artistic Director and Curator, for the brand new YZ Creative Art Center in Yunzhu Lake area in Yushu county. Nancy spoke to us about the new residency opportunity YZ Creative Art Center is offering.

China Residencies: How and when did the residency start?

Nancy Blair: The residency begins July 1, 2018. Each year the residencies will be open April 1 to December 1.

CR: What is your role in the residency?

NB: I am the Executive Artistic Director and Curator. I organize the residency program, invite artists from all over the world and work with them individually to create a positive and dynamic experience at YZ.

CR: How did you get involved in the project?

NB: I met the director and founder of the program, David Yan, during the Dream Community residency in Taiwan and was excited to join YZ to help develop their program.

CR: Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

NB: I have a MFA degree from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts and a BFA from Alfred University. I’ve been an instructor at Pilchuck Glass School several times teaching hot-casting glass. I’ve had extensive art business related experiences operating my own sculpture company for over thirteen years. I’ve taught university art courses for over two decades and find a true sense of purpose in helping others realize their creative ideas. My interest is in large scale installation and site-specific work. I’ll be doing several projects for YZ using glass and mixed materials.  

CR: How did you decide on the location of the residency? 

NB: The location was determined by our founder who is passionate about the arts. We are building a large community on a lake in Shanxi Province. The location and geology are deeply inspiring. It is our hope that this will inform artists while residents. YZ Creative Art Center is part of Yun Zhu Lake Sports Resort. Yun Zhu Lake Sports Resort is located at Yushe country, Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province, China. 

Map of Yunzhu lake

CR: How many people are on staff? 

NB: We are a staff of over one hundred including technicians, assistants, directors, project managers, translators and even our dining staff is available as support team. 

CR: What is each person responsible for?

NB: Our staff is available to answer any questions and to help each artist have a meaningful and successful residency.

CR: What kinds of artists does your residency host?

NB: We are looking for passionate artists with at least three years’ experience in their chosen field. Residencies are awarded in the following areas: hot glass, warm glass (fusing), ceramics, mural design, mosaic arts, metal, wood, stone, mixed-media sculpture, site-specific sculpture, installation art, puppetry, music and the performing arts.

CR: For what lengths?

NB: Our minimum residency is two months with a maximum stay of six months. Residency requests for less than two months will be reviewed for special consideration.

CR: How many artists in residence have you hosted so far?

NB: We are just getting started. Our first residency begins in July with ceramic artists, glass blowers, mixed media and fusing (warm glass) artists all scheduled.

CR: Can you tell us a bit more about the opportunities you provide for residents to meet people in the local creative scene?   

NB: The experience of living and creating at Yun Zhu is shaped in many ways by its rural location, its unique mountainous and lakeside geography. A successful residency is determined in part by expectations consistent with the goals of YZ Creative Art Center. We provide opportunities for tours to local sightseeing places including Pingyao Ancient City, The Great Wall, the Yungang Grottoes, local temple sites, Hukou Waterfall and many other tourist attractions. The art scene in Shanghai and Beijing can be visited before the residency begins for an immersion in Chinese contemporary art.

Aerial view of Yunzhu

CR: How do you promote your residency to attract local and international artist applications?

NB: We are promoting our residency program on all social media, developing our website and by contacting individual artists.

CR: Is there anything else you'd like to add about the program, your mission, or the opportunities you provide for artists?

NB: We offer a very generous residency program. The following compensation is provided by our organization:

--Fully paid round trip airfare and visa processing fees.

--Housing within the community with breakfast, lunch and dinner provided daily.

--Private studio space with basic tools and materials. Residents are encouraged to bring special tools and materials.

--A weekly stipend (determined by length of stay).

--Support from our YZ design team.

Interview was conducted via email by Josue Chavez in February 2018 for China Residencies.