ACRE (Artists’ Cooperative Residency and Exhibitions) is a volunteer-run non-profit based in Chicago devoted to employing various systems of support for emerging artists and to creating a generative community of cultural producers. ACRE investigates and institutes models designed to help artists develop, present, and discuss their practices by providing forums for idea exchange, interdisciplinary collaboration, and experimental projects.
ACRE was founded in 2010 in effort to provide the arts community with an affordable, cooperative, and dialogue-oriented residency program. ACRE’s residency takes place every Summer in rural Southwest Wisconsin. The property, set on 1000 acres of wetland, hills, and farmland, is home to such wildlife as deer, bald eagle, heron, hawk, and rainbow trout, and is strewn with a vast network of rivers and springs. The residency facilities include numerous buildings which provide for expansive communal work spaces, a screen-printing studio, an outdoor wood shop, an art and tech facility, and access to both digital and analog recording equipment. Accommodations are all recently built from salvaged timbers and furnished with individual bathrooms, kitchenettes, and decks. All meals are provided, and are prepared daily using ingredients grown in the surrounding area, which is renowned for its organic and sustainable agriculture and dairy farms.
Residents have the opportunity to expand upon their individual practices and take part in optional programming within a collaborative community. Additionally, visiting artists are invited to conduct studio visits and present lectures, discussions, and workshops. Residents can apply for a 12-day residency or are free to determine the length of their stay for a reasonable day rate. The residency supports 25-30 residents at a given time.
Over the subsequent year, ACRE endeavors to provide opportunities and exposure to its alumni. Each resident is given access to an online “flat file”, where they can develop customizable pages to present their work and are offered an exhibition opportunity at ACRE’s 400 square foot gallery space in Chicago or one of a number “partner galleries.” After each year’s residency, exhibition openings occur nearly weekly throughout the year. These efforts complement other activities and programming designed to create the conditions for a thriving and enduring arts network.