The En Foco Professional Development Initiative (PDI) is designed to provide photographers with the necessary insight to preserve and expand their body of work with the assistance of working artists and art professionals as their guide.
Twelve participants are selected from the Fellowship applicant pool and given the opportunity to take part in a six-week series of workshops.
Mock Panel Session: Participants developed an understanding as to how grant panels operate, what they look for, and how decisions are made. The session featured three long-time artists and art professionals serving as “panelists” tasked to select awardees from a grouping of anonymous “submissions.” These “applicants” showed a wide range of artist types: some excellent, some too “professional;” and some with the usual submission issues: too-dark images, uninteresting subjects, or incomplete applications. This opportunity to view a grant panel opened up the usually secretive selection process and was met with enthusiasm and new understanding by the participants. Panelists: Stephanie Lindquist (visual artist & curator), Danny Peralta (photographer & arts administrator), and Joanna Castro (executive administrator).
Artist Statement and Bio Writing Session: Led by Christine Licata, Executive Director of No Longer Empty, this session gave each artist one-on-one assistance on how to construct a compelling and informational artist statement reflective of each artist’s current practice. Participants were given handouts and guidelines to expand upon these necessary statements and encouraged to update them when new projects arise.
Aesthetics Roundtable Discussion: Led by two previous En Foco Fellowship winners, Yu-Chen Chiu (2018) and Mark Aghatise (2018), the roundtable discussion focused on identifying and honing participant’s aesthetic evaluations when selecting subject material and how to make sure the artist’s voice is present in their work. Participants were asked to openly discuss their aesthetics choices and how the images fit into their work narrative.
Networking | Open Field Session: The Open Field session gave participants an opportunity to test new concepts and work alongside their fellow PDI participants. On Friday, May 24, the participants traveled to Fort Tryon Park in Manhattan, in the early evening, for the open photography session in the park. Attendance was optional but encouraged, with most of the participants meeting up for the session.
Identified as pivotal to artistic growth and career success, En Foco’s PDI sessions assist artists with the standards of portfolio development, place an emphasis on the participants becoming their own network of colleagues/fellow artists, and create a level of self sustainability that is crucial among artists who tend to be marginalized within the larger spheres of the art market.
For the Final Review session, participants were asked to either revise their previous 2019 Photography Fellowship submission or prepare a concept for a new body of work for review done by two active curator/arts professionals. An honorarium of $250 was given to each of the 12 participants for successfully completing the PDI Series.
En Foco, Inc. is supported in part by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Joy of Giving Something, Inc., BronxCare Health System, The Andrew Freedman Home, and private contributions. Member of the Urban Arts Cooperative.