Apply: SWAP

2020 Programming Deadline: December 3rd 2018

The 2018 SWAP Application Will Be Live on October 17th, 2018.

The SPACES World Artists Program (SWAP) is a 6- to 8-week residency for international, U.S. and local artists, founded in 2002 to foster cultural exchange between audiences in Northeast Ohio and artists from around the world. SWAP residencies are intensive opportunities for experimental artists to produce and present new work in one of the longest running alternative art venues in the USA and leverage the unique assets of Northeast Ohio.

SPACES helps facilitate the artist’s vision by connecting them to resources, tools, and communities. Specifically, SPACES provides each SWAP resident: travel to/from Cleveland, shipping budget, assistance with travel around the city, housing and studio accommodations with wifi, an artist commission, a public presentation of new work created, video documentation of the project with critical commentary, and support from SPACES staff in finding materials, developing institutional partnerships, and other residency-related activities.

Ward Shelley: the Last Library, Photo by Jerry Mann


We accept applications from all artists, 21 and older. Artists can work in any medium, but we look for work with a strong conceptual core. We welcome artists at any stage of their career, who require time and resources to take their work in new directions. Artists cannot be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the time of a SWAP residency.

Application Details

Applications must be sent by email. Incomplete or inaccurately assembled applications will not be considered. Notification of the selection process will be sent via email.

Each application must include:

  • Completed SWAP application: PDF Fillable Application
  • 150-word artist statement: Fillable Application
  • 150-word SWAP statement: Fillable Application
  • work sample list: Fillable Application
  • one-page C.V. in PDF format
  • work samples-properly labeled, sent to

Application Evaluation

Applications are evaluated by a selections committee comprised of artists, curators, community members, SPACES board members and staff. Applicants will be notified via email as soon as possible after selections have been made in the winter 2019. Please do not call or email to follow up. Artist who submit strong proposals, but are ultimately not selected for 2020 exhibitions may be considered for future programming.

FAQs (or the questions we assume you'll ask)

Q: What does a SWAP Residency do for me?
A: A SWAP residency offers you time, space and resources to dig into making new, experimental work. Have an idea you've wanted time to develop? SWAP helps make it happen. We offer SWAP residents honoraria, studio space, a materials budget, and dedicated time and support to produce and show new work. We also help you build relationships that can help you further your career. And then, you get a unique opportunity to interact with artists from around the world who you probably haven't met before. Sounds good, right?

Q: How long are SWAP residencies?
A: Residencies range in length from 6 to 8 weeks. The length varies, depending on the scope of work a resident would like to complete during a residency. We negotiate this after an artist is accepted to SWAP. Honoraria amounts also vary depending on the scope of the work and length of the residency.

Q: I am a traditional landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: You can, but I wouldn't if I were you. Our mission statement asserts our dedication to artists who explore and experiment. If your work doesn't have strong conceptual grounding and isn't striving to test boundaries, we may not be a good fit. It's not you, it's us.

Q: I am a traditional landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor but I make my work blindfolded/hanging upside down/some other schtick. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: See previous answer.

Q: I am a landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor/performer, but I make my work as an examination of these histories and methods, and my work is firmly based in contemporary theory. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: Bring it on.

Q: In my artist statements, I really like to use phrases like, "My pieces function as the nexus of post-modern theories of consumerism and environment through the use of ephemeral materials that hint at the sublime." Is that an appropriate way to talk about my work?
A: We have no problem with work that deals with complex issues, but please keep fancy art-speak to a minimum.

Q: It sounds like you're not interested in older artists. Is that true?
A: Untrue. We are interested in all artists, 21 and over, who are doing thoughtful experimental work, and we welcome artists at any stage of their careers.

Q: You don't accept students for SWAP?
A: Sorry. We can't. Our funding doesn't allow it. If you will be finishing a degree prior to the residency season you're applying for, you can apply. If you will be an undergraduate or graduate student during the season, your application can't be considered. However, students can apply to the R&D program.

For International and U.S. Artists Outside of Northeast Ohio

Q: OK, I have been recommended. How do I apply?
A: If you have been recommended for SWAP, you will receive an invitation from SPACES to apply. The invitation will spell out your next steps.

Q: I have not been nominated. Can I still apply?
A: Yes. Please prepare a competitive application including references attesting to your past artistic work and/or residency experiences.

For Artists in Northeast Ohio

Q: What happened to SPACELab?
A: SPACELab has been folded into SWAP, which is great news for you. Due to generous support from the Ohio Arts Council, Northeast Ohio artists can now participate in a residency program that offers far more resources than we were able to offer through SPACELab.

Q: Can I drop off my application at SPACES in person?
A: No. We are only accepting SWAP applications via email, sent to

Q: I exhibited at SPACES in _____. Can I apply again?
A: Give it at least a two year rest before you apply again.

Application Questions

Q: You just want a 1-page C.V.?
A: Yes. Please edit your C.V. down to the highlights, so that our selections committee can make it through all the applications.

Q: I don't know how to format images/video/sound digitally for submission. What should I do?
A: Rely on the kindness of friends... and Google.*

Q: What is a work sample list?
A: This is a list that the selection committee uses as a point of reference while viewing your work samples. A good work sample list includes the following information: artist's name (usually listed at the top), filename, title, year, media, dimensions/duration and a brief explanatory note for each piece (as needed). This is also where you would list URLs for video and audio works hosted online or web-based artworks. A good work sample list is legible and easy to read. Keep in mind that each image is up for only a short period of time. Lengthy explanations of each piece will not be completely read before the image disappears from the screen.

Q: Should I send postcards/catalogs/reviews of my work along with my application?
A: Please send only what we ask for.

Q: When will I be notified of acceptance/rejection?
A: Reviews of work for 2020 will occur in Winter 2018/19. We then have some clerical/boring things to do after that. We will contact all applicants after selections have been made.

See Also:

How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 1
How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 2

Image above: Ward Shelley: The Last Library, Photo by Jerry Mann

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