Above: Delora Bertsch demonstrates ceramics techniques to Terrylene Sacchetti and Lilah Katcher in the Anderson Center's residency studio. 2018 Deaf Artist Residency Program. Image courtesy of Anderson Center.

National Endowment for the Arts awarded a $12,000 Art Works grant to the Deaf Artist Residency Program at the Anderson Center in Red Wing.

The program will offer a two or four-week residency opportunity for five artists who are native speakers of American Sign Language (ASL) to build community and discuss the challenges of being a deaf artist in a hearing-centric culture. Applications for the program are due Feb. 15; artists can apply via website here and will be notified by early April for the June program.

"The program validates deaf artists while exposing the broader community to our work through outreach at the end of each residency," said the program's coordinator, Cynthia Weitzel, who is one of 15 year-round artists at the center. "The result is new understanding and acceptance of deaf peoples, language, and culture."

Previously, the Anderson Center has hosted three deaf artist residencies, in June of 2018, 2016 and 2014, each time with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. The residency program launched in 2014 thanks to an Art Works grant from the NEA. The program prefers four-week residents, but will also accept two-week residents.

"Cynthia is an inspiring artist and organizer," said Anderson Center's executive and artistic director, Stephanie L. Rogers. "When she first came to the Anderson Center with the idea to form a unique Deaf Artist Residency program, the support was immediate and enthusiastic."

Located on a historic estate just outside the Mississippi River city of Red Wing, the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies was established in 1995. It offers artist retreats for two to four weeks from May through October every year. Over the course of 20 years, more than 700 creatives from the United States and abroad have stayed there to practice their crafts.