MFA Drawing Alum Named Harvard Ceramics Program’s 2015-2016 Artist-in-Residence
Salvador Jiménez (’14, MFA Drawing) is pretty familiar with moving to unfamiliar places. Born in Mexico, Jiménez moved with his family to Chicago at the age of 15, earning a high school diploma and a Graphic Design/Digital Media degree from Robert Morris University before moving to Grand Rapids to pursue his MFA at Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD).
His next stop: Boston, MA, where he’ll begin a yearlong artist residency in Harvard University’s Ceramics Program this September. Like most artist-in-residence programs, this one blends the personal pursuit of artistic growth with collaborative engagement with the local community, and that’s nothing new for Jiménez.
Everywhere he’s gone, he’s embedded himself in the local creative community as an artist and a community advocate. In Chicago, he taught art to young people through the Yollocalli Arts Reach initiative, and here in West Michigan he’s worked alongside organizations like the Ox-Bow School of Arts, Heartside Art Studio and Gallery, and the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, to name a few.
Jiménez helping conduct a printmaking workshop at KCAD
“It is easy to settle for conformity; it gives us a sense of control. It isn’t until one's circumstances become unstable and uncertain that we find reality and feel alive,” said Jiménez. “There are three words that I apply to my art making process and to my life: curiosity, mystery, and uncomfortable. Curiosity keeps me humble and only confirms that I know nothing. Mystery makes everything worth trying and failing. And uncomfortable allows me to grow."
Kathy King, assistant to the acting director of the Harvard Ceramics program, first met Jiménez at Ox-Bow School of Art, where he attended a workshop she was teaching. King says she was immediately impressed with both Jimenez’ work and his work ethic, and encouraged him to apply for the Harvard residency. He would eventually come out on top of the intensely competitive application process.
Jiménez preparing the kiln for firing during one of his many stints at Ox-Bow
“What drew the committee to choose Salvador as our 2015-2016 Artist in Residence was his use of mixed media - including ceramics - within his work,” said King. “We felt he would inspire our students to see how ceramics can be intermingled with a wide variety of sculptural media. Also, we were very drawn to his commitment and interest in working with the community here at Harvard and the greater Boston area.”
At Harvard, Jiménez will be required to spend at least 20 hours a week on his own work while dedicating at least five hours a week to work within the program, including conducting a public workshop, giving presentations to classes, and participating in events and special projects with the Harvard community.
Within the Ceramics program’s state-of-the-art urban studio environment, Jiménez will be provided personal studio space, as well as free access to materials and equipment for both producing and documenting his work. He’ll also be able to take classes and firing workshops, pursue paid teaching opportunities, attend visiting artist workshops and symposiums, and sell and show work in the Ceramics program’s annual exhibition and sales events.
“I look forward to embedding myself in the Boston community. I know it will be hard at the beginning but I know I will make the best out of this opportunity,” said Jiménez. "I’m ready to work harder than ever and focus on my studio practice and research during this residency. I have lived 15 years in México and 15 more in the Midwest and I'm looking forward to expanding my networks to the East Coast. The city and its people will impact my artwork and I'm eagerly anticipating this transformation."
As a capstone to his residency, Jiménez will have a solo exhibition of work completed during his time in the program in Harvard’s Gallery 224. He’ll also donate one work to the University’s permanent collection.