On June 15, Y.ES, a program of the Robert S. Wennett and Mario Cader-Frech Foundation, announced the four recipients who will be heading to El Salvador for the 2016 Y.ES Art Trip. From September 4-11, 2016, curators Max Weintraub, Jaime Cerón, Luisa Fuentes Guaza and artist Óscar Diaz will travel from Indiana, Bogota, Madrid and New York respectively to join the Y.ES team for an immersive introduction to the contemporary art and cultural community of the country. Y.ES Art Trips aim to connect art professionals with Salvadoran art and in turn bring professional development opportunities to artists living and working in El Salvador. To further this mission, Y.ES also announced its first Y.ES Grant program to support these artist’s ambitious projects and travel opportunities, often missed out on due to lack of governmental and institutional support. Through these programs, Y.ES continues Robert Wennett and Mario Cader-Frech’s 15-year long personal investment to artists of El Salvador, which has been integral to many lives and careers.
Out of more than 25 applications from art professionals around the globe, 4 art professionals were selected for the 2016 Y.ES Art Trip for their interest and expertise in art from Central America. These include curator Max Weintraub who, after teaching and running the progressive exhibition program at Hunter College in New York, has taken the position of Director of the Art Galleries at the Herron School of Art and Design in Indianapolis; curator and writer Luisa Fuentes Guaza based in Madrid, Spain who authored the Contemporary Languages from Central America, among other critical publications; artist Óscar Díaz who was born in El Salvador and moved to New York with his parents seeking asylum. Recently, after 18 years, he received his green card affording him the possibility to return to El Salvador for the first time; and Jaime Cerón a critic and curator of the MISOL Foundation in Bogota, Colombia who has worked on numerous Latin America-focused exhibitions internationally.
In 2015 renowned artist Mark Dion and his collaborator and wife Dana Sherwood along with the team from The Contemporary in Baltimore—Director Deana Haggag and colleagues Lu Zhang and Ginerva Shay—travelled to El Salvador to visit artist studios and art spaces, and conduct a 3-day workshop with artists. Mark Dion describes his art trip experience:
We had a truly remarkable trip to El Salvador spending time with visual artists of extremely high caliber and clarity of vision. It was valuable to understand the constraints and issues faced by artists in such a different context. The artists we shared time with are deeply committed, insightful and diligent and produce work of extraordinary social and artistic value in the face of significant economic and cultural obstacles. Both Dana and I were impressed with El Salvador's vital artist community.
Y.ES was developed in 2015 by philanthropists Robert Wennett and Mario Cader-Frech with long time collaborator Claire Breukel, now Y.ES Director, as a means to direct support to artists meaningfully and nimbly. In its first year Y.ES debuted in Miami with the exhibition “Transgressions,” hosted an (annual) Art Trip and Artist Academy in El Salvador, and has now developed the Y.ES Grant program in response to the overwhelming need for artists to receive exhibition, project and travel support.
Y.ES Founder and Chair Mario Cader-Frech describes the goals for Y.ES grant program:
We identified that to be most effective with our support we needed to give artists the basic financial means to develop important project and participate in the art community globally. Salvadoran artists are receiving more and more opportunities to travel and exhibit, but institutional and grant support is almost non-existent. We hope to give artists the means to create and take advantage of opportunities to further establish their careers.
Grant submissions will be selected by Y.ES’s advisory council this coming August for projects and opportunities completed before August 31, 2017.