Cultural Manager in Residence Jim Baker

Reflects on his time at The Studios of Key West

Since the mid-80s I’ve been immersed in the work of residency communities, including working at one (Anderson Ranch Arts Center in Colorado), serving on the board of an organization that connects various artist-in-residence programs nationally (the Alliance of Artists Communities) and visiting a roster of artist communities. But until I was invited to The Studios of Key West I had never actually been a resident.

TSKW is unique in offering the Cultural Manager Residency, and for me this program accomplished a number of important goals. First and foremost it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my work in support of artists. Specifically, I was able to have time away from the hub-bub of my office to consider the needs of new leadership for our academic programs at Maine College of Art. As a result of having time to reflect about and work on our institutional goals (without distraction), I came away clear headed about our choice for a new Dean (who is working out extremely well, thank you very much!). Secondly, the residency allowed me to enjoy Key West, a special place creatively fueled by its propitious locale at the intersection and overlap of the North American, Caribbean and Central American cultures.

Finally, I relished the opportunity to learn more about an exciting, vibrant and growing artist community with The Studios of Key West at its fulcrum. One of the great pleasures of my visit was meeting with the TSKW staff and board to share a meal and most importantly to share our commitment to artists and their need for the precious time and space that residencies provide.

James Baker, President of Maine College of Art

The Studios of Key West