Art Omi is a non-profit organization located in Ghent, New York that works to create a space for the artistic community. This organization is focused on providing architects a space to experiment and come into contact with other perspectives. Art Omi was born from the absence of residency programs for architects in the United States; a space designed by architects for architects.
The Art Omi architecture program is structured on four pillars: an architectural field of sixty acres where participants can deploy and experience pavilions and facilities designed by architects; the second is a curated series of indoor exhibitions at the Benenson Center; the third is an annual event outside the campus, in Manhattan, that seeks to link theory and practice; and finally, the most recent addition which is the residency program.
Each year architects from eight different countries apply to participate in this program, the proposals are evaluated by a jury that qualifies under the following criteria: sustained excellence in their respective areas of practice, geographic and international diversity and finally, the potential to evolve in their work after the residency. Read on to learn about the proposals from Latin American architects who have had the opportunity to participate in the Art Omi program.
Doel Fresse, 2018, Puerto Rico
My time at Omi Arts was a period of focusing on my work and bonding with other talented architects. I congratulate Warren, Ruth and the other amazing individuals who keep the program going for their enthusiasm, presence, warmth, and generosity. All staff members and guest critics were approachable and super nice. The residency was the perfect balance of casual and professional. The quality of work produced there is inspiring and I recommend the residency to anyone looking to get away to a charming countryside center surrounded by art and nature.
Éric Omar Camarena, 2017, Mexico
As probably most of the Architecture Omi fellows do, I practice my discipline around academia; my days swirl about design studios and history and theory seminars. This condition sets the ground for temperate consideration on the minutiae of how our world is inhabited. Alternately, I’m often marveled by my very occupancy of it. The activities involved in and surrounding my Omi experience signify the construction of a practical bridge between both parts of my life, between servicing and witnessing. To cross this bridge back and forth, a patient work-in-progress, feels like what it entails: like floating over water by discrete acts of volition.
Jesús Lopez, 2018, Mexico
Architecture takes time and architects need to look at their work with a fresh point of view every once in a while, take time off from the routine, and create some breathing space away from the profession.
Being a part of Art Omi: Architecture 2018 gave me the opportunity to work on that specific project, that one with no client, that one that I hadn’t found the chance to develop or even start. Art OMI through the program Architecture OMI supported me to work in an amazing campus with a great atmosphere. It brought together an incredible group of people who treated me in exactly the way that I needed to be creative and allow myself to work on my project. There is no better way to describe the experience, being a part of the program is an amazing treat for your career. Architects need more of these residencies in order to push forward the profession in different and unexpected ways.
Mitsue Kido, 2018, Chile / Japan
When I saw the call for an architecture residency at Art Omi, I did not hesitate to apply, those kind of programs are unusual for architects. Architecture has always been a varied discipline that can take different nuances. The artistic approach of the architect at least in my country (Chile) does not have a field of development so it is located in between art and design where many times we are left out. Being part of the residence of Art Omi and being able to develop an architecture project with a focus and in an artistic environment has undoubtedly been a very rewarding experience.
Both for North Americans and even more for foreigners, taking us out of our common context to live in the Art Omi facilities creates a state of observation and creation. Coexisting with top-level professionals from all over the world at the same time complements the program, that allows us to compare professional situations between our respective countries and generate a bond both professional and friendly. Another instance of coexistence and exchange is the one that we could establish with the guests in a quiet and intimate context. It takes place in a house between dinners and allows for a deeper exchange.
The result of the proposal is in each resident, it is a free assignment where each one can develop it according to their own interests. The projects were varied which makes it very genuine. The judges gave us very assertive comments that allowed us to reflect, and at the same time an intention to continue developing it. Sharing with the local community and exhibiting in the gallery was a nice way to close the experience.
Bárbara Barreda, 2018, Chile
The contact with nature and the high cultural stimulus presented by the Art Omi residence allowed me to expand my creativity and boost my way of doing architecture towards the search for new formal and spatial results.
Art Omi encourages experimentation by offering spaces of inspiration, dialogue, exposition of ideas and open criticism. On the other hand, Art Omi stands out from the architecture with a practical and utilitarian purpose, focusing on an unprejudiced spatial and formal search.
To experience Art Omi was a great cultural stimulus that undoubtedly nurtured my creative process. Its location (2.5 hours from New York City), allowed me to leave my usual context of Chilean creation to generate work from a direct relationship with nature. The unchecking of daily obligations, routine and city, allowed me to face work from another emotional state. On the other hand, the link with the works of the campus undoubtedly was a source of fresh and stimulating inspiration.
The multicultural and diverse context of Art Omi allowed me to give a broader and more global perspective to my work, offering new reflections and questions. On the other hand, presenting and discussing my work in front of curators, cultural agents and international architecture critics of excellence, incorporated new concepts and challenges to my work. Also, Art Omi gave me the possibility of expanding the architectural and artistic world in which I am currently inserted, generating new international and professional links.