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For aspiring artists, rare chance to work at sea

In this file photo, a cargo ship waits to be unloaded at The Port of Los Angeles.
In this file photo, a cargo ship waits to be unloaded at The Port of Los Angeles.
Mae Ryan/KPCC

A unique residency for artists will give two lucky winners the opportunity to spend 23 days at sea aboard a cargo ship later this year to work on an art project.

Access Gallery, a gallery for new and experimental art based in Vancouver, Canada, is accepting applications from artists around the world through Feb. 3. 

The gallery is calling for applicants interested in sea travel. Winners will sail from Vancouver to Shanghai on separate voyages departing in August and September. 

"It allows for artists to get outside of the everyday world," said Kimberly Phillips, the gallery's director and curator. "And focus solely on their practice for a certain amount of time."

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Proposals from professional artists in the early stages of their career are encouraged. More than 120 applicants have applied so far — the response has been so strong that Phillips said they're planning to conduct additional fundraising to send more artists on the residency. 

Instructions for those interested include the following:

Applicants are encouraged to propose projects that consider issues resonant with sea travel and with the ubiquitous but, for most of us, largely invisible world of the global shipping industry. These may include, but are by no means limited to, matters of trans-Pacific connectivity, traffic and trade; maritime histories and culture; and, significantly, notions of time and space, since crossing a great expanse of water is experienced far differently on an ocean vessel than by more conventional air travel. The voyage may challenge and uproot artists’ ideas of their own practice, its comforts and its parameters, and will offer an invaluable space of quiet for focused research, imagination and creation in the unconventional studio space of the cargo ship cabin.

Winners will be selected and announced in early March. The residency will include meals, a single cabin, four days of accommodations in China and airfare back to Vancouver. 

Full details on how to apply are available online