Categorized | IN OUR COMMUNITY

MakeRoom Artist Residency launching in Longfellow in 2018

Posted on 21 November 2017 by calvin

Article and photos by MARGIE O’LOUGHLIN
Longfellow resident Thomas Wegner has created an opportunity he calls the MakeRoom Artist Residency, and he is ready to start taking applications for 2018. The residency will offer one artist (or two collaborating artists) the time and space to focus on their art for ten days—free of charge.

The MakeRoom Artist Residency will provide use of the common spaces of Wegner’s home, a cozy private bedroom with two twin beds, a work desk, design books, and high-speed internet. The artist residency will not provide tools, materials, additional studio space, or specialized equipment. Children and pets are not allowed.

Thomas Wegner (photo left) is a self-described maker. His pleasant home is full of functional things he has designed and built by hand. Wegner said, “I often make something when I need it. For instance, if I need a stool to put my feet up, I don’t go out to a big box store and buy it. I make it myself. I’ve been making things for as long for as I can remember.”

Wegner’s natural eye for design drew him to design school after a first career spent working in social services on the west coast. A 2010 graduate with an interior design degree, he said, “I’ve always had lots of ideas, but when I went to design school, I really learned how to move my ideas off paper and into reality. Design combines problem-solving, use of materials, and the skills necessary to put something together.”

Wegner has put something very special together with the MakeRoom Artist Residency, literally making room in his own home for others to nurture their creative talents. Individuals or collaborating pairs who are writers, illustrators, painters, photographers, designers, filmmakers, or performance artists living outside of the Twin Cities are welcome to apply for this free, 10-day residency. Applicants do not need to be making their livelihood from their art, and they may be emerging or established artists/makers.

Photo right: Thomas Wegner is a self-described maker.

Ideally, the residency will take place in February or March, but Wegner said he could be flexible with the timing. While he thinks that winter is the perfect time to come to Minnesota to hunker down, focus, and be creative, he recognizes that some visitors may prefer to come in warmer months.

The MakeRoom Artist Residency will offer free lodging, a welcome dinner, a light breakfast each day, and the opportunity for an artist or pair of collaborators to focus on their work, gain inspiration, and take in the rich cultural life of the Twin Cities. If a person’s medium is very big or messy, the 10-day residency could also be used as a networking opportunity to connect with artists or administrators in the creative community.

The person(s) selected for the MakeRoom Artist Residency agree to attend a welcome dinner, add to the project archive, and present their work at a casual in-home reception before a small group of friends. There is no cost to apply, and the application can be found at www.make–

Wegner is known as a gracious, well-seasoned host, having welcomed many guests into his home through Airbnb. “I have found complete joy in being a host these last few years,” he said. “As an interior designer, my artwork is all three dimensional. It needs to be sat in, lived in, viewed, and experienced.”

Photo left: One of the many creative projects that fill Wegner’s home.

“A huge benefit that‘s come out of hosting is that the world seems like a friendlier place,” Wegner said. Since the emergence of Airbnb, millions of people around the world have become hosts and guests and, in those moments, have experienced the simple gift of hospitality. In many cases, strangers have become friends. This platform, being a host, it has been incredibly enriching for me.”

Wegner concluded, “The idea for the MakeRoom Artist Residency came from these two elements in my life—being both a maker and a host. Over time, it became clear that creating an artistic residency program was the perfect combination of the two. Coming to my home in Longfellow as a resident artist is different than going to an established institution. I’m not asking the participant(s) to follow my agenda; it’s very much for them to get what they need out of the experience.”