The Museum of Art & History at the McPherson Center

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Participatory Performing Artist-in-Residence Program

Many organizations throughout the visual and performing arts world are striving to create more participatory, active audience experiences to help people make more meaningful connections with art. The MAH is well-known for our hands-on approach to audience engagement, and our goal with this project is to create partnerships with performing artists in which they can develop their own participatory skills while bringing extraordinary new work to our community. At the events listed below, audience members will actively contribute to, co-create or directly engage in a performance piece designed by the artists. The artist’s piece will not be a typical performance product for MAH audiences; instead, the artist will develop a participatory experience with MAH audiences.

The Participatory Performing Artist-in-Residence program is a three-year project funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation that awards $2,000 per artist to collaborate with us to produce a participatory performance at a MAH event.

Applications for 2014 residencies are now closed. 2015 applications will be open in November 2014.

  • QarlyQ

    Hi MAH!

    I am very excited about this residency and am looking forward to submitting my application in the near future.

    Two questions I have are 1) how many people and of 2) what ages would the performance optimally be tuned for? All ages? Younger folks? Kids and Parents? Young adults? 10 people, 50 people, 150 people?

    Another question is about the length of the performance, an hour, an afternoon?

    Thanks for reading my questions and I hope ya’ll had a great information session!

    • Hi Qarly – Good questions.

      It really depends on what you want to develop. We have events for specific audiences (like families), but most events are for a diverse multi-generational audience. 3rd Fridays bring in 300-500 people, 1st Fridays more like 1500 – and then we can do things at other times as well. We would want to work with you to co-develop a project that builds on your skills, fits in with our programming, and accomplishes something exciting and participatory.

      Probably the best thing to do is to talk with Stacey Garcia about what you are considering and how you might craft your application. Stacey is running the program and would be happy to discuss it with you. She’s at or 831-429-1964 x7018, and she works Tuesday-Saturday.

  • I am a bike-based performer, activist, inventor doing Pedal Powered activities and music in San Francisco and Berkeley. Although we do rent trucks to get to some events, I don’t think I can drive to Santa Cruz once a week without compromising my values. Is it possible to fulfill the requirements of the program with a faculty member who is based in SF for most of the 8 weeks, then travel to Santa Cruz for the performance and prep? Thanks, sounds like a great program!

    • stacey

      Great question. We do require 8 meetings but we can skype for some of the meetings. You must be in at least 2 in person meetings throughout your term if selected. Thanks!

  • Liz Lemon


    This residence program sounds amazing. I just found out about this opportunity and feel like its a little late for me to apply. Will you be offering this residency again in the future?

    • stacey

      Yes we will be offering more residencies in the late fall of 2013. We will post them here.

  • Hi Nina,

    I’m artistic director of an Australian company that creates interactive works for museums and galleries, and site-specific work. Do you ever employ artists/teams outside of the residency to work with you?

    Penelope Bartlau
    Artistic Director/CEO
    Barking Spider Visual Theatre
    6 Creek Parade
    Northcote, 3070
    Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
    T: +61 3 9481 8849
    M: +61 419 590 630

  • Lindsey G.

    Hi! Looking forward to applying for the 2015 residency, do you know when the application will be available?

    • Elise Granata

      Hey Lindsey– we are discontinuing PPAIR in 2015. We will be directing the focus more on incorporating performing artists in all of our programming in 2015, particularly with the new Abbott Square performing arts events happening this summer. Check back for updates here:

  • Hi!

    This sounds like an amazing program. Will applications be available for 2016?