Apply: SWAP

2018 Deadline TBA

The 2017 SWAP application is available for download here (click me).

The 2017 SWAP application instructions are available for download here (click me).

The SPACES World Artists Program (SWAP) is a 6- to 8-week residency for international, U.S. and local artists, founded in 2002 to foster cultural exchange between audiences in Northeast Ohio and artists from around the world. SWAP residencies are intensive opportunities for experimental artists to produce and present new work in one of the longest running alternative art Venues in the US and leverage the unique assets of Northeast Ohio.

SPACES helps facilitate the artist’s vision by connecting them to resources, tools, and communities. Specifically, SPACES provides each SWAP resident: travel to/from Cleveland, shipping budget, assistance with travel around the city, housing and studio accommodations with wifi, honoraria, a public presentation of new work created, video documentation of the project with critical commentary, and support from SPACES staff in finding materials, developing institutional partnerships, and other residency-related activities.

Ward Shelley: the Last Library, Photo by Jerry Mann


International and U.S. Artists: Artists who reside outside of Northeast Ohio are only invited to apply to SWAP if nominated by one of our partners throughout the world. Artists who have not been specifically invited to apply are ineligible.

Artists From Northeast Ohio: Artists from Northeast Ohio* can apply to SWAP by filling out the application, or may be invited to apply after being nominated by a SWAP partner. Northeast Ohio artists cannot be enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs at the time of a SWAP residency.

* Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne counties.

Application Details

Applications must be sent by email. Incomplete or inaccurately assembled applications will not be considered. Notification of the selection process will be sent via email.

Each application must include:

  • Completed SWAP application: PDF Fillable Application
  • 150-word artist statement: Fillable Application
  • 150-word SWAP statement: Fillable Application
  • work sample list: Fillable Application
  • one-page C.V. in PDF format
  • work samples-properly labeled, sent to

How to Submit an Application

The SWAP Application Form & Guidelines tells you everything you need to know about the SWAP application process. To find out more information on SWAP please download the SWAP Brief and read the FAQ below. Please send all materials to

Application Evaluation

Applications are evaluated by a selections committee comprised of artists, curators, community members, SPACES board members and staff. Applicants will be notified via email as soon as possible after selections have been made in early April 2017. Please do not call or email to follow up.

FAQs (or the questions we assume you'll ask)

Q: What does a SWAP Residency do for me?
A: A SWAP residency offers you time, space and resources to dig into making new, experimental work. Have an idea you've wanted time to develop? SWAP helps make it happen. We offer SWAP residents honoraria, studio space, a materials budget, and dedicated time and support to produce and show new work. We also help you build relationships that can help you further your career. And then, you get a unique opportunity to interact with artists from around the world who you probably haven't met before. Sounds good, right?

Q: How long are SWAP residencies?
A: Residencies range in length from 6 to 8 weeks. The length varies, depending on the scope of work a resident would like to complete during a residency. We negotiate this after an artist is accepted to SWAP. Honoraria amounts also vary depending on the scope of the work and length of the residency.

Q: I am a traditional landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor/performer. Should I apply to SWAP?
A: SWAP supports artists who explore and experiment. If your work doesn't have strong conceptual grounding and isn't striving to test boundaries, we may not be a good fit. It's not you, it's us.

Q: I am a landscape/figurative/still life painter/photographer/sculptor/performer, but I make my work as an examination of these histories and methods, and my work is firmly based in contemporary theory. Should I apply to exhibit at SPACES?
A: Bring it on.

Q: What media can a SWAP artist work in?
A: Artists can work in any media, but no matter what you use, SWAP looks to support artists who are innovating and whose work has a strong conceptual center.

Q: In my artist statements, I really like to use phrases like, "My pieces function as the nexus of post-modern theories of consumerism and environment through the use of ephemeral materials that hint at the sublime." Is that an appropriate way to talk about my work?
A: We have no problem with work that deals with complex issues, but please keep fancy art-speak to a minimum.

Q: It sounds like you're not interested in older artists. Is that true?

A: Untrue. We are interested in all artists, 21 and over, who are doing thoughtful experimental work, and we welcome artists at any stage of their careers.

For International and U.S. Artists Outside of Northeast Ohio

Q: How do I apply to SWAP?
A: International and U.S. artists can only apply if they have been nominated by one of our partners.

Q: OK, I have been nominated. How do I apply?
A: If you have been nominated for SWAP, you will receive an invitation from SPACES to apply. The invitation will spell out your next steps.

Q: I have not been nominated. Can I still apply?
A: If you haven't been nominated and you live outside of NE Ohio, we cannot accept an application from you.

For Artists in Northeast Ohio

Q: I am an artist from Ohio. How do I apply for SWAP?
A: If you are a Northeast Ohio artist living in one of the following counties (Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne), you may apply for SWAP without being nominated for the program. Simply follow the instructions for filling out the application and send all needed materials.

Ohio artists who live outside these 17 counties must be nominated for SWAP by one of our partners, in order to apply for the program.

Q: You don't accept students from Northeast Ohio for SWAP?
A: Sorry. We can't. Our funding doesn't allow it. If you will be finishing a degree prior to the residency season you're applying for, you can apply. If you will be an undergraduate or graduate student during the season, your application can't be considered. However, students can apply to the R&D program.

Q: I live in Ohio. Do I need to be nominated?
A: No, there is an open call if you live in one of the following Ohio counties: Ashland, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Cuyahoga, Erie, Geauga, Holmes, Huron, Lake, Lorain, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Wayne. See website link for the special Northeast Ohio artists' form.

Q: But wait, I live in Ohio but not in one of listed counties. Can I apply via the open call?
A: Artists living outside those 17 counties must be nominated for the program in order to apply. See "How do I apply? "under For International and U.S. Artists Outside of Northeast Ohio for details.

Q: What happened to SPACELab?
A: SPACELab has been folded into SWAP, which is great news for you. Due to generous support from the Ohio Arts Council, Northeast Ohio artists can now participate in a residency program that offers far more resources than we were able to offer through SPACELab.

Q: Can I drop off my application at SPACES in person?
A: No. We are only accepting SWAP applications via email, sent to

Q: I exhibited at SPACES in _____. Can I apply again?
A: Give it at least a two year rest before you apply again.

Application Questions

Q: You just want a 1-page C.V.?
A: Yes. Please edit your C.V. down to the highlights, so that our selections committee can make it through all the applications.

Q: I don't know how to format images/video/sound digitally for submission. What should I do?
A: Rely on the kindness of friends... and Google.*

Q: What is a work sample list?
A: This is a list that the selection committee uses as a point of reference while viewing your work samples. A good work sample list includes the following information: artist's name (usually listed at the top), filename, title, year, media, dimensions/duration and a brief explanatory note for each piece (as needed). This is also where you would list URLs for video and audio works hosted online or web-based artworks. A good work sample list is legible and easy to read. Keep in mind that each image is up for only a short period of time. Lengthy explanations of each piece will not be completely read before the image disappears from the screen.

Q: Should I send postcards/catalogs/reviews of my work along with my application?
A: Please send only what we ask for.

Q: When will I be notified of acceptance/rejection?
A: Reviews of work for 2016 will occur in March 2015. We then have some clerical/boring things to do after that. We will contact all applicants after selections have been made.

See Also:

How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 1
How to Submit Applications for Exhibitions: Part 2

Image above: Ward Shelley: The Last Library, Photo by Jerry Mann

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