Four Austin Artists Receive Rauschenberg Residencies

Robert Rauschenberg in front of the Fish House, Captiva, Florida, 1979. Photo: Terry Van Brunt

This year, a trio of Austin-based artists are headed to Capitva Island, Florida, each a recipient of a prestigious Rauschenberg Residency.

Choreographer Gesel Mason, composer and bandleader Graham Reynolds, visual artists Deborah Roberts and Elizabeth Schwaiger, have each been awarded month-long residencies.

The residency is located on Rauschenberg’s former Florida Gulf Coast property where the Port Arthur, Texas-born-and-raised artist lived and worked for nearly four decades. Operated by the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, the residency program launched in 2013 and now takes about 70 artists per year. Application is by invitation or nomination only.

Although the intent of the residencies is to create an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment — inspired by Rauschenberg’s early years at Black Mountain College where artistic cross-pollination reigned  — the quartet of Austinites will each be in residence at different times.

Mason joined the University of Texas Theater and Dance department this fall, bringing her in-process archiving project of African American modern dance.

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Reynolds plans to use his residency to  work on Water Music, a concert version of pieces he wrote for Forklift Danceworks’ “My City, My Pool” series.

Both Roberts and Schwaiger have prolific studio practices. In the last few years, Roberts has catapulted into the spotlight, netting numerous accolades, grants and exhibitions.

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